Make branding a priority when hatching something new

Hatching a business?Many entrepreneurs say they aren’t ready to spend time and money to brand their new bootstrap business. Not yet anyway.

Instead, they believe in doing “first things first”. To them that is procuring working capital, recruiting key personnel, developing product/service, building a distribution chain and launching the product or service.

Their approach to branding is “we’ll do it once cash is flowing and the important huddles are behind us.”

They never consider that an integrated brand aligned with the company goals and values might help them interest savvy investors, recruit top performing people, produce a product/service based on meeting corporate and consumer expectations, establish first-rate distribution partners and motivated suppliers.

Yet those are some of the benefits of early branding. I’ve seen many private placement memorandums based upon a brand platform sway intelligent investors much more effectively than rather than a handful of pro forma spread sheets. Savvy investors buy the dream and the brand conveys the essence of the dream more effectively than any other method I’m aware of.

But here’s the real clincher.

By not managing your brand and presenting it to your stakeholder groups, you are inviting them and your competitors to define you.

You will be branded almost from the start. People need to form a vision of you and your offering in order to perceive your value to them. If you don’t direct them to the brand identity you would like your organization to own, they will conceive one out of the little real information, including rumors and innuendo contributed by competitors, by hostile action groups and by a skeptical press corps.

Almost all the information required to build a brand will be available to the entrepreneur who must write a business plan to secure financing. Then some time is required to turn that information into a brand platform from which all concerned with brand building, those inside and resources outside the company, will need to do their part intelligently and creatively.

Yes, there’s some expense. But if it helps gets you the financing a month earlier, if it helps you snare a stronger distribution system, if it  attracts a more motivated team of professionals, and finally, if it helps you get to market and into a positive cash flow sooner, it may be worth including branding in your initial planning budget.

Brand smart from the start. Then you’ll be doing the branding, not everyone else.

Martin Jelsema

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