August 3, 2021
Starting a new business is an exciting time. The whole world is ahead of you, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the inquiries are rolling in… or maybe not. Maybe you’re second-guessing every detail, from your offer to that email pitch you just sent to your latest Instagram post or your logo.
And when you think about the longevity of your business, you might be wondering: What do I need to get my business to stand out from the crowd and really last? If you’re here, it’s probably because you’re thinking design and branding can help you with your new business.
You’re not wrong — but there are few things you need to consider before you hire out or invest time in design for a new business.
Before you even think about design, we want to make sure you have a few basic foundations in place. You’ll need to know:
If these things aren’t in place or you don’t know the answers, then you don’t have a business. To put it bluntly. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never get your business off the ground. It just means that you have an idea that you need to sit with longer.
Once you have those things in place, design is what’s going to bring it all together.
Even if you’re not a design professional, it’s important to think through how you want your audience to feel when they interact with you and how you want them to perceive your brand.
Want to look super professional and structured? Get 2 to 3 easy-to-read and traditional fonts defined.
These examples are from our Font Packs.
Want to feel like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy industry? Pick out 4 to 6 brighter colors that you’ll always use.
These examples are from our Color Packs.
It’s alright if you don’t know if these fonts and colors are going to be with you for the long-haul. Just because you want your business to last forever doesn’t mean your design elements do — it’s just like decorating your house. You can’t do it every year but you don’t want that shag carpet from the 60s forever, right?
Instead, commit to these design elements for at least six months to a year. And if you make changes on your own, make them slowly and intentionally. Introduce a new font for a couple months and then a new color after a couple months. Don’t change everything every month because you don’t have your stuff together or because you like a new color this week (we’re all guilty of this).
A lot of businesses need that first year to really shake out who their audience is and how they’ll do business differently. Your brand will likely change, but find something that works for now and then move forward.
There’s another reason we think design is important in the early stages of your business — and it’s not because people pay us for design work. It’s because design = consistency.
Businesses without predetermined rules or branding don’t instill confidence. Clients or customers might watch your design or outward-facing presentation change on a whim… and wonder if your offers or products or quality of customer service do, too. You want them to feel more confident in your abilities and offers and that starts with the outward appearance of your business.
That’s why you need to make these design determinations before you start promoting yourself in earnest or really expect people to buy or book. Looking professional will, inevitably, increase the likelihood that someone will want to work with you.
It will also make every decision or question that comes with starting a business way easier, including:
That’s why we always tell people to define their brand style even if they’re just starting out. You will waste so much time questioning yourself when 75% of your decisions will be easier if you lay the design groundwork first. You know how you want customers to perceive you and what sort of “brand environment” you want to create. Now, you need to match those to fonts and colors. You can graduate to professional branding later, but get the basics in place. It will take you further than you expect!
The Balanced Brand Lab Kit is a do-it-yourself branding workshop where you’ll build a personalized and balanced brand formula to guide your baby business — and all the design decisions that come with it. Make your own style guide and find your brand’s trusty sidekicks: from the right colors, fonts, photography, and more!
See what’s inside the Balanced Brand Lab Kit and start designing your business’s foundation today. (Best part? You can use this kit to update your brand down the road, too.)