From the moment you have the idea for your business, your business needs to be defined.
The first step of defining your business is very literal; you need to compile a business plan. This needs to outline what your business is, what it stands for, what you’re trying to do with it, and where you think you may be headed in the future. This plan is the blueprint for your business success, and compiling it successfully is key to securing a business loan and turning your idea into a reality.
It’s at this stage that many entrepreneurs stop. The definition of what their brand is is down on paper; a bank has agreed to finance the idea; and it’s all systems go. Admittedly, there’s a huge amount to focus on when launching a business, so a woolly term like “defining your brand” falls into the background. When your time is being taken up by accountants, forecasts, and product launches, there’s little leftover to examine what is ultimately an abstract concept.
The idea of defining your brand, however, is an abstract contract that really matters.
Life Without A Solid Definition
Why should you dedicate time to defining what your brand is? Simple: because doing so will make your life easier.
When you have a solid definition in mind, you will find it easier to do all of the following:
- Come up with a name for your company. After all, you’re going to need to choose something that works with the core ethos of what you’re trying to achieve… so it helps to know what that core ethos actually is.
- Choose the companies you’re going to work with and outsource to. You need to find businesses that suit the definition of your business, so you can be confident of a good working relationship. Choosing between firms is tough enough as it is; there’s so many out there, it feels like trying to find the perfect needle in the world’s biggest haystack– but a definition can help you narrow the list. A definition also helps you to ensure you find the right companies for your unique brand, companies like KISS PR who go to all the lengths imaginable to create marketing services that work specifically for your company, or graphic designers who can translate your vision into images. You need the right outsource companies in place, but you’re not going to be able to find them without having a strict definition in mind first.
- Define how your customers see you. A bad first impression will last forever, so you have to be sure your company portrays a good image to the general public from the moment you launch. If your company is rather vague or cookie-cutter, identical to all the other companies in your niche, then you will quickly get lost in the crowd. If you have a solid definition of your company and what makes you different, then this will infuse everything else that you do, meaning that you control the narrative from the beginning of your relationship with potential customers.
- Define how you see yourself. Do you want to be just another entrepreneur, at the helm of just another company, performing just another service? Or do you want to be in charge of something dynamic, something that has the potential to be genuinely revolutionary? Without a solid definition, there’s a chance you’ll never get to be the latter.
As the above show, your definition of your company, your brand, matters. The need for definition is inescapable, so if you’ve not managed to define your company yet, then you need to start.
Don’t worry: help is at hand. Much of the definition should come from you; you already know what you want your brand to be, you just need to try and make that inner sense something you can rely on.
The Three Word Principle
Many companies use three words to help define their brand. These words are very basic, but together they help to create an idea of what a company stands for. For example, if you’re hiring a graphic designer, will you go for…
Or would you find your head turned by…
“AmazingDesignCompany: Efficient. Creative. Ebullient.”?
You’d likely choose the latter; you’d opt for the company who tells you that they’re efficient, they’re creative, and that they’re cheerful to work for– the other, basic, company just can’t compete.
So you need to find your own three words. You don’t necessarily have to use those three words as part of your brand or design, but it helps just to know them. When you know your three words, you can let those words guide you in every decision you make, as outlined above.
What words should you choose? Well, that depends, but here are a few options to consider– and some you should definitely avoid.
Bad Definition Words
- Reliable. Every company claims they are reliable; it’s been done.
- Exciting. Excitement is subjective, and can sound faintly ridiculous. For example, a plumbing company is many things (useful, resourceful, necessary) but it’s never going to be exciting— so using the word “exciting” invites ridicule.
- Innovative. Again, every company on earth claims to be innovative.
Good Definition Words
- Energetic. The word “energetic” conveys feelings of a business that is bustling and thriving.
- Dynamic. You’re not just any business, you’re a business who does things dynamically. Even if customers don’t really know what that means, it sounds like the sort of thing they’d want to be involved in.
- Ebullient. It was included in the example for a reason; a business that is cheerful, able to deal with stress, is always going to be attractive.
When you have your three words in place, then you can let them be your guide. Ask yourself if all the decisions you make about your business apply to your definition. Embody those three words, let them represent your business, and you will have more direction and purpose than you ever have before.