Small business owners take note: you are your brand!

When you make the decision to become a small business owner, you make a huge commitment. Once the sigh of relief has passed your lips that you finally ‘bit the bullet’ you now have the arduous task of coming up with your brand.  This includes your business name, logo, tagline, and the beginnings of a marketing strategy.

You might not think it but every time you speak, type, or even just drive down the street your actions are being associated with your brand.  This is important to keep in mind as a new business owner creating your brand. So when you sit down to come up with that logo, catchphrase or company name remember that you will eat, breathe and live what you come up with for the entire time that business is alive.

So why not make it about you? So many people think they need to separate their brand from their personal identity. Maybe this is an attempt to separate work from home, but as any small business owner will tell you: there is no separation. Your company is on your mind 24×7, so why not put your heart and soul into defining your business and how it will be represented?

As you start the brainstorming process, consider the following:

1. What is important to me, personally? And don’t just say “money” because if that’s the only reason you’re doing it then you need to make alternate plans. A lot of businesses don’t make money the first year and some are lucky to turn a very small profit by their second year. So think long and hard about what it is that you find most important in life.  Are you community-conscious and love to give back? Is your goal to tread lightly and make the smallest footprint? Do you get your high from helping others achieve their goals?  Make that integral to your brand.

2. What are you inspired by? What are your desires? Your passions? Do you love technology? Are you inspired by beautiful artwork? Is nature where you get most of your creative energy? Just because you are a bakery and you love anything retro, doesn’t mean you can’t integrate the two.

3. What do I hope to help others with? What is your business objective? As a stylist you might hope to help others project their inner beauty in an outward manner. Keep that in mind as you put pen to paper.

4. Don’t stop with just one idea. You might think you’ve hit the jackpot with your idea but before you rush out and purchase those business cards do some research. Make sure you are truly happy with the decisions you’ve come to.  Much like a tattoo you will be stuck with this for a very long time.  Don’t rush into it just because you feel like you’ve come to a conclusion that you are happy with.

In the end you want to be sure what you come up with is something that not only reflects your business but you as a person. In this digital age it’s very easy for those who interact with you to see whether you really walk the walk. If you force yourself into something you can’t keep up, it won’t be long before you are either called out by others or just become to exhausted to keep it up any longer.