7] Being a small business owner – how do you get new clients?
You may be small but you're MIGHTY!
It's a common misconception that branding is only effective and important for the large businesses. It might be that we, as consumers, notice it more in brands like Coka Cola and the other big brands but we have something the big, established brands don't have - flexibility! There's a real freedom in being able to grow and pivot our business and our own personal growth and reflect that in our brand early on.
To better understand how branding can positively effect your business, let's look at what branding is and the purpose behind a well thought out branding strategy.
It starts with you – as a small business owner, you are the face behind your business, you are who people first associate when thinking of using your product or service. As such, your business will organically take on your characteristics and this is represented in your customer service, brand personality and reputation.
A good branding strategy serves and supports how you wish to be perceived, and, most importantly, helps your potential customers remember and find you when they're ready to buy from you.
Even in todays digital environment human interaction is really important! Networking is a great way to start building momentum and relationships – an important part of building a business with integrity is creating trust through relationships and confirming your first impression with consistent branding.
So, if Networking is step 1 in building customer relations then NAVIGATION is the key second step. The most simple way to do this is handing out that business card (yes, they still matter) then allowing your potential client to find you on their preferred platform: website, social media page, etc. That's why it's SO IMPORTANT to have your logo and brand colours consistent on every platform to avoid any confusion that your customer has found you. Attention spans are really short and any confusion in customer navigation could potentially lose you a customer. It's that simple!
You've made first contact – what's the next step? After an initial meeting, most likely at a networking event, make sure to follow up with a message and link up with them on the social media platform where you're most active. Send a message saying how nice it was to chat to them and, it suitable, arrange a one-to-one meet up to talk more intimately to get to know them better. Remember networking is the beginning and the focus is on creating a meaningful relationship and not the hard sale, even if no one in the room is your potential customer, they may know someone who is.
So you may be thinking I've gone off track - what does this have to do with branding? Short answer: EVERYTHING. Remember in the beginning I said that branding is about accentuating what you already have? Well this is what it's supporting – the human element behind the business. Do not underestimate the importance in creating meaning relationships based in trust, it builds longterm, loyal customers who, if you're lucky, are also your friends - and friends will want you to succeed and recommend you whenever the opportunity arrises.
There's so much more to know about your business, feel free to send specific questions for me to help you with or join my Facebook Group East Anglia Small Business Branding where we can all help each other to succeed. I'd also love to hear from you about anything to do with questions and you can find me at 07525 246 734 or firstname.lastname@example.org