Two of the most essential factors in the success of your business are having a solid business plan to guide you through and strategies to build your brand. Here we provide vital information to get your business plan together and construct your branding strategy.
The Business Plan
Questioning the importance of a solid business plan for your company? Wondering if it’s necessary? Well, it certainly is necessary! Why? We’ve listed all the reasons, as well as discussed what a business plan is in this article!
A solid business plan is of the utmost importance when building your company’s foundation. Without a business plan, you won’t have a direction for your company; your business plan is basically the blueprint for your company, and it’s crucial to have your plan mapped out in a written format. A business plan doesn’t have to be long and formal, as many assume.
So long as it’s a roadmap that guides you on the right path and gives clear directions as to where your company is headed. This article will discuss everything you need to know about a business plan, including what it is and why you need it.
What Is A Business Plan?
First, let’s start by ensuring that we’re all on the same page by covering the basics. Maybe a few of you are unsure of exactly what a business plan or you have some knowledge that needs a refresh. Either way, we’re here to tell you what a business plan is before we dive into why you need it.
The best way to think of your business plan is that it’s your roadmap or a documented strategy that lists out all goals for the business and how it will achieve them. It’ll guide you on your journey to achieving your business goals and show you the big picture. A good business plan guides you through every company stage and advises how to run it.
Your business plan will outline your plan to bring your product or service to market, financial projections, market research, business purpose, and brand mission. A business plan is crucial if you plan to bring on business partners and investors.
The Purpose of the Business Plan
The business plan serves several purposes, including:
Securing Financing & Investors
When it comes to getting investors and loans, they want to know that you’re serious with your company and that you have a plan for where you’re headed. This isn’t to say that you must be prepared with a lengthy document, but you must have a professional record showing details about your company. Your business plan will tell potential investors how your business will succeed and profit.
Here you will show how investor capital will be used to help the business thrive. Your business plan must make it easy for investors and others to understand your company, what you do, and the history of your company. If you’re able to present data through charts, it will not only impress your investors but also give them more knowledge of your company. The more you can give them, the better!
Defining Business Goals & Strategies
Every company needs to have achievable goals that they follow to be able to reach its vision. You want to ensure a solid business plan that includes goals and milestones. These goals and milestones should be what your employees can see to know where the company is going.
Use your mission to help set your goals. Explain your business goals in the business plan and how you plan to reach them. Having your goals written out helps lead you in the right direction and keeps you on track while running your business.
The more goals you have broken down into actions, the easier it will be to reach your primary goal by completing small ones. This will help ensure that the whole team is aligned with the same vision and the same goals for the company. Once you have these goals, you can guide your sales and marketing in the right direction to achieve them.
Determining Your Spending
One of the most complex decisions with running a company is when you have to spend a large chunk of money on a considerable investment. You second guess yourself, debate if it’s truly necessary, and begin to overthink it. It can be challenging to decide with complete confidence.
A good business plan, however, fully outlines everything you need to know when making purchases. Having an outline that tells you what’s coming next can be helpful. As you enter a new phase in your company where it may be necessary to hire new employees, you can reference your business plan to ensure that the extra help is necessary.
Planning Your Business and Its Operations
Although this one may be the most obvious, it’s still equally important to ensure that you know when thinking of the benefits of your business plan. Your business plan will, ultimately, ensure that you’re on schedule. It ensures that your entire team is on the same page, without confusion about your goals and strategy.
You’ll be able to tell them and show them how you’re attempting to meet goals and your plan to reach them. It’s a way of telling them your strategy for getting from this point to the next. This shows the whole team the big picture and encourages them to go forward.
When you have employees, regardless of the company’s size, you want them to feel like their part matters. This will encourage them to put the effort in and do their best if they know that participating in helping the company reach a larger goal. Having a clear goal for them to see and a way that you track the company’s progress is crucial to having a good work environment.
The Brand Strategy
Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of any company; it’ll help you stand out from the competition, give your company its signature brand, and define what it is and does. Branding also helps your company internally. Your brand values, story, and messaging help you create campaigns that will stick to your company’s goals and deliver the same messages.
But unfortunately, branding is also one of the most challenging aspects of any company. Creating a branding strategy with all the necessary components while also doing your company justice is often difficult. A successful brand strategy will fill a need for your target market, differentiate your brand in your industry, and truly reflect your brand’s values and mission.
What is a Branding Strategy?
Your branding strategy is the long-term plan that will lay out how you will identify your business in the market, define how it is unique, state how you will distribute your message and your mission, and direct brand awareness.
Brand Strategy Tips
Although we can’t wave a magic wand and give you the perfect branding strategy, we can provide you with the next best thing; our top tips for creating your brand strategy. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Define and Share Your Purpose
Every company has a promise they make to its customers, usually included in its mission statement. However, with branding, you must have something more that motivates you and your employees to get up and head to work every day.
A good (although rather cliche) purpose for a business would be to do good in the world. Or perhaps make the world a better place. While it’s essential to have goals that will help your company function, such as ‘make money,’ it’s also critical to have a purpose that speaks for the greater good.
If you’re having trouble understanding what your company’s goal is, then we suggest seeking out some inspiration from top brands. Look at their vision statements and see if anything speaks to you.
We live in a rapidly changing world, and your business must stay relevant to the current business world. This means being willing to adjust to less-than-ideal situations and adapting your existing brand to new trends. If necessary, be ready to uproot your entire branding to adjust to the current situation.
For instance, if your brand is aimed toward an older age group, and you see an opportunity to reach out to a younger crowd, be willing to make drastic changes to your current brand. This could include creating new advertisements, packaging, website, and even revising your mission statement.
Don’t be nervous about changing your branding if something isn’t working or isn’t up to date. You must be willing to change and be flexible as the times do; you’d be surprised at the benefits that can come from it.
Reward Loyal Customers
If you have loyal customers who have been with your company for a long time, you shouldn’t just leave them sitting. They’ve spent time buying from your company, telling people about your products, and they’ve stood by your side through thick and thin. Don’t you think this loyalty deserves something?
It doesn’t have to be much; even a simple thank you can let your customers know they’re appreciated. Or maybe you want to make a grander gesture and decide to send some new merchandise their way. Or perhaps you give them something signature to your brand, something that only the customers that truly know your brand will understand.
Loyalty is what builds a company; without lifelong customers, your brand wouldn’t exist. Customers are what have helped to keep your company afloat, and you must let them know what it means for you.
Involve Your Entire Team
The attitude of your employees needs to match your brand across your company. Whether via chat, email, or phone call, your employees should display your brand message loud and clear. You can’t have a fun brand only to have a customer get on a call with support and talk to a grumpy employee.
Remember that what message and brand you show across your company will be expected anytime a customer talks with an employee. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, then merely the amount of eye contact that your employees make at the counter can be a statement for your brand.
Consistency is crucial when it comes to brand strategy. Unless something adds to your brand message, don’t do it. Even if it’s something as simple as changing a social media profile picture, it can confuse your audience. Every aspect of branding, from ensuring your social media aligns with the copy on your website company branding needs to be the same across the board.
Constructing Your Brand Strategy
- Write out your WHY! Declare your brand vision and its goals.
- Define your value proposition? What solutions do you offer, and how do they set you apart from the pack?
- What is your brand voice? Set your brand’s personality and how it should be presented to the public. This encompasses your logo, typeface, colors, and more. Choose three words to describe how you want your brand to come across and how you will communicate in all marketing and branding materials.