Every successful business will reach what I like to call the point of no return – the stage when scaling up is not an option, but a necessity.
Expanding your reach, taking on more clients and growing your team is easier said than done. It often involves relying more heavily on other people by outsourcing business tasks to other suppliers, passing more responsibility to staff, and, crucially, trusting your design or marketing partner to drive more enquiries through an expertly crafted promotional campaign.
It’s a scary time, especially for business owners who, up until now, have juggled every plate themselves. It can be tricky to know where to put your money, and how to prioritise your branding and marketing tasks.
I’ve also grown Design FX Studio successfully and sustainably over the years, and I’ve also helped countless entrepreneurs take their company to the next level. In my experience, getting your ducks in a row by nailing your branding, improving your key marketing resources and deciding on your marketing approach is vital at such an important time for your business.
Here are 5 things you need to do now to make sure you can scale up your business in the future:
1. Make sure your brand identity is totally on point
Repeat after me: everything starts with a brilliant brand.
You need to impress your customers with your brand identity. You need to craft a company image that’s professional, instantly recognisable, and totally in keeping with your values.
You can’t even think about investing your hard-earned cash into a marketing campaign until you have nailed your logo, finalised your brand colours, honed your messaging and created an identity you’re 100% happy with.
This rarely happens overnight. Branding is a complex process that can involve tough decisions and a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing with your designer. But having complete confidence in your brand – and in turn convincing your customers to have complete confidence in you – will pave the way for growth you didn’t even think was possible.
If you’re not happy with your brand visuals now, take steps now to create an identity you can fall in love with.
2. Remember – you are your brand
One sure-fire way to deepen your connection with your customers is to get them to invest in you, not just in your business. After all, people trust people way much than they trust organisations.
Personal branding is a huge part of any marketing campaign. It’s all about leaving a positive, lasting impression on the people who are likely to buy from you. It’s about taking conscious steps to shape the things other people say about you and your business when you’re not in the room. And it’s also about establishing yourself as a credible authority in your field.
Get your personal brand right, and you’ll soon be generating more enquiries and referrals. This article explains why and how building a better personal brand is key to growing your business; it’s well worth a read if you’re ready to make changes but are new to the concept. My key tip is to be cautious about what you share online, and who you share it with. It’s so easy for your customers to research you on the web, so you need to make sure what they see is painting you in a professional light!
3. Bring your website up to date
Your online platform may well be your biggest marketing tool. Not only will it provide your prospects with more information on what you do and how you do it – it will also play a vital role in encouraging them to contact you.
That’s why it’s so important to whip your website into shape before you start ramping up your marketing activities.
There’s nothing more off-putting to potential clients than a site that’s clunky, tired-looking or littered with content errors and broken links. Drive good leads to a website with these kinds of terrible traits, and you’ll be fighting a losing battle straightaway.
Bringing your website up to date doesn’t always need to involve a complete overhaul of your template. Sometimes just updating your images, adding fresh content to your blog and tweaking some of the page copy can have an equally positive effect on the way your company is perceived online. But if the entire design is looking outdated, or isn’t working well on mobile devices, I’d recommend bringing a web designer on board and investing in a new platform that’s going to do your business justice.
4. Start investing in digital marketing
I don’t mean throwing a few pounds at paid ads on Facebook ads, or testing the water with a low-level search engine optimisation campaign. Really start spending money on making your mark. You may not need to splash out thousands of pounds a month on your digital marketing mix, but you will need to invest in your online presence consistently if you want to yield great results.
To avoid wasting time and money on digital marketing channels that simply won’t work for your business, have a chat with a specialist consultant who knows their stuff. I have a great team of professionals around me who are experienced in delivering digital marketing solutions that actually work – and that can be tailored to your requirements and your budget.
5. Strengthen your professional identity with bespoke printed materials
Online advertising is important – but if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m still a great advocate of print. I put together a whole blog on why print definitely isn’t dead – but to sum up the benefits of branded collateral in a nutshell, beautifully considered and professionally printed marketing materials will reinforce your branding and help to establish your company as one that’s confident in what it can deliver.
If your brochure is out of date, create a new one. If your business cards are uninspiring – and you find yourself reluctant to give them out at events (!) – revisit their design and print a new batch. There are so many ways to create print designs with more impact without spending a fortune.