10 business tips for beginners to help you build a healthy brand

February 15, 2021

Business tips for building a healthy brand

Starting a business is exciting. Your mind will be brimming with ideas and feelings of eagerness to get started. Knowing where to start might not seem important, but it can save you a lot of money in the long term, and be pivotal to your brand’s success.

We learned the hard way, having launched Xite just after we left university – we’ve rebranded about three times and made mistakes along the way. The good news is that all our hard work has paid off and we have a growing customer base of fans who genuinely love the product. 

So here is what we wish we knew before we started out, and would have helped us to reach where we are now, a lot quicker.

Treat your brand like it’s a human

It should have its own personality, goals, name, values, voice, opinions and its own network of friends, and even a few enemies (competitors). Crafting this step first will uniform all of your communications to your audience. It will ultimately mean you retain a highly engaged audience as a result.

Any brand with a loyal following, and good engagement has spent time on this. 

At XITE Energy, our values are around fun, excitement, motivation and health. This is something we amplify across our communications channels, social media, and is echoed by every member of our team. The less ‘business sounding’, but more human your brand is, the more engaging you are.

It really helps to bring your brand alive and makes you authentic. People interact with brands because they mirror similar values to their own and embody personalities that they like. If your goals are to get lots of followers, likes and comments on your social media, this is how to do it.

Plan first

It seems obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how often this gets skipped. Planning will save you time, allow you to be more strategic with your marketing, and essentially get you the best ROI.

A good place to start is planning your annual marketing calendar divided up by quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4), and tying this in with sales promotions, key dates in your MACRO environment, and when you intend to launch new products. 

This means, ahead of time, you know what resources you need to plan for, how to tease the best social campaigns. Having this down visually means you can plan your budgets, and yearly spend wisely, and sharing this with the whole team means your internal comms will be a force to be reckoned with.

Change is inevitable

The important element to consider here is being aware of which changes you can control, and those you cannot. 

Changes you can control are your monthly spend, your team recruits, or anything to do with your planning and decision making.

As for changes you can’t control… I think Covid-19 has done a pretty good job of showing the world what that means. 

Being aware of these changes with a PESTLE analysis versus internal forces you can control, will mean you are prepared to be reactive to serious changes in the external environment. You might not be able to control them, but you can be well equipped with a contingency plan and mitigate any worst-case scenarios.

Focus on performance

There are a lot of exciting, big ideas that you may be keen to spend money on. In the beginning, your outgoings will be more than your incoming. So it’s time to manage your own expectations that you probably won’t be making any money anytime soon.

What you can do, is focus on conversions. Plan and do everything with your end-goal in mind, the sale. Base your marketing strategy on performance marketing tactics, for example, SEM and SEO with a measurable goal of driving traffic to your optimised website. Do your due diligence on researching those.

Network and contacts are your currency

As the old saying goes – “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. You might already be privileged to have grown up with a network of great contacts through family or friends. However, for most of us, it’s a case of on-going networking, building a base of strategic contacts – LinkedIn and Enterprise League are huge tools for this. A good network can mean you get in front of the right audiences, and the best part is that it’s free.

(Cliché incoming) Don’t run before you can walk

Again, this sounds obvious, but many have learned this the hard way. By going after too much too soon, you can run out of money, and end up bankrupt before you’ve even made it through your first year as a business owner. It’s the harsh truth, but you’re better off planning, testing, and learning what works for you progressively.

Be logical, be systematic

There are logical steps to brand building. That starts with “why”, your USP, brand name, mission statement, core values, target audience, market data, what your goals are, and how you want to be perceived. When this is nailed, this should then inform every. Decision. You. Make.

Know what you’re trying to achieve. Is it reach? Or engagement? In a campaign are you focusing on brand awareness? Or conversions? You can’t focus on both. Needless to say it defeats the object of having a “focus” altogether.

Knowing your objectives will enable you be able to take logical, and systematic steps to get there.

Make trade-offs essential to your decision making

Weigh everything up. Knowing the value of money will be pivotal to your success. Ask yourself questions every day with whether £1k might be best spent up on influencers, or is it best spent on Google ads. Maybe it’s a 60-40% split, or ratio. Work out the estimated ROI before you make your decision. 

Even more important, is knowing the financial value of your time. “Time is money” couldn’t be more true, especially when your outgoings are team wages, and your own wages. Am I making the best use of my time driving to drop this delivery to a customer myself? Or is it more time and money efficient to just spend £4.99 on postage? A good way to rationalise this is through basing your time on around £10 an hour – if it costs less than £10 to post it, post it. You could be spending that hour on making a huge deal.

When building your brand, start from the “why”

Simon Sinek says “It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of marketing your products based on the core product, its attributes, its features.” In our case, this was talking about the naturally sourced caffeine from green coffee beans, the active nootropics for cognitive health and function, and the health benefits with our specially selected B vitamins, supported by empirical research we spent months on during our NPD.

Start with your brand purpose and its reason to exist. Simon Sinek calls this the “why”. Maybe yours is to reduce climate change, to disrupt the status quo, to connect people together, or in our case; to motivate people to achieve their ambitions, or “do what Xite’s you”.

It’s also worth having a think about what brand archetype you want to fall under and get your tone of voice nailed early on.

What works for other brands won’t necessarily work for you.

By all means, learn from case studies and examples around you. But it’s a rookie error to assume that because a strategy works for another brand, that it will work for you. Don’t try to mirror exactly what another brand does, because it won’t work. Be unique. And if you’re not unique, what value are you bringing with a new business? If you don’t have a USP, you might as well not waste your time and money on asking people to buy into something they’ve seen before a thousand times.

Free drinks for entrepreneurs

Before Covid-19 we used to attend lots of enterprise events, tradeshows, and exhibitions, and hand out a load of free drinks with its nootropic properties to assist entrepreneurs with their innovation projects.

Now we can’t. So here’s a code you can use to claim a free pack we would have liked to have dished out to you at an event instead: NEW2021

Enjoy!

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