3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting Your Business

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Branding Series

In a world with the internet at our fingertips, it’s vital that your emerging brand is fully fleshed out long before your website or Instagram ever go live. Oftentimes “brand” is equated with the look and feel of your service or product. While the visual element is incredibly important, there is a lot of legwork that has to be done before you start thinking about your brand colors or product packaging. 

Because design is a form of visual communication, it’s important for you — as the business owner — to approach your visual branding meeting with a clear vision of the ins and outs of your business. It can be difficult for a designer to develop a visual identity for your brand if there’s no target audience, product/service, or brand mission. 

Luckily, we’re here to help you get the ball rolling so you’re fully prepared to build your best brand possible! Before you begin to visualize your brand aesthetic, ask yourself these 3 questions…

“What is my product or service?”

Literally—what is the product or service that you’re building your brand around? What does it do or provide? And to that note, how is it different from your competition? It’s rare that a product or service is the first of its kind, so it’s important to research other players in the field. Take note of things they do that you do and don’t like, and make certain your product or service can clearly differentiate itself.

Before you start thinking about your logo or visual identity, you absolutely must have a solid business plan.

“What is my brand mission?”

This one sounds intimidating at first, but when you break it down it’s actually pretty simple. When building out a mission, consider your brand’s values. A great way to do this is to create a list of words that you want your brand to be identified with.

Take a couple of minutes and jot down every word you can think of. Don’t be afraid to write down everything that comes to mind. Then take your list and narrow it down to 3 words that you feel best represent how you want your brand to be perceived. From there, you can build out a solid brand mission. 

For instance, a dishware company may value being viewed as hospitable, inviting, and inclusive. If these were their core values, their mission would might be along the lines of “Creating a warm and inviting table where everyone is welcome.”

“Who is my product or service for?”

This question is so important when it comes to building out your brand identity. Who is the target audience for your product or service, and why?

As designers, we want to know all about your target audience. A helpful exercise in defining your ideal customer is creating a “profile” or “persona” of sorts for them. Tell us everything about who they are. How old are they? Where do they live? What is their household like? How do they spend their free time? What kind of music do they listen to? What is important to them and what do they value? What is their occupation?

Defining these characteristics early on will help you create a concrete visual identity and effective marketing strategies later down the road. In knowing your dream client or customer inside and out, you’ll be able to create a brand “voice” that speaks directly to your consumer. 

And there you have it! While these three questions alone aren’t going to reflect everything you envision your brand to be, they’re a great place to start. Once you have answered these questions, your next step—before going any further with brand development—should be creating a full business plan. If you have the budget for it, we highly recommend LivePlan ($15/month), which helps walk you through developing your business plan step-by-step.

Once you have a business plan, as you continue in your endeavor to create a brand, we suggest expanding upon these questions and digging deeper into creating a cohesive brand identity by developing a full brand strategy.

Read other posts in this seriesAre Your Brand Colors Sending The Right Message? >>
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