When we start working with a new client, the first step isn’t to give them a sketch of their new logo or a design for their website.
Before we do any of that, we sit down with the client (in person or by phone) and get to know the client’s business inside and out during through our Brand Discovery Method.
That’s because everything we create for clients is built to support their goals. We can’t do that if we’re not super-clear on who they are and where they want to go.
What’s absolutely essential, though, is that you know what distinguishes you from competitors. Maybe it’s your area of specialty, or maybe you have a different approach or a personality that stands out.
If you’re starting a business or looking to take an existing business to the next level, one of the most powerful things you can do right now is getting that kind of clarity yourself. These questions can help.
- Who is your customer? Describe your target customer, client or audience. Get really, really specific on this. After all, everything you put out into the world about your brand needs to speak to these people.
- What makes you different? Your business doesn’t have to be a one-of-a-kind idea to succeed. It’s totally fine if there are others out there providing the same products or services that you do. What’s absolutely essential, though, is that you know what distinguishes you from competitors. Maybe it’s your area of specialty, or maybe you have a different approach or a personality that stands out. Your uniqueness sets the stage for your brand.
- How do others see you? If yours is an existing business, how do people talk about you on social media or review sites? Does it match how you perceive your business? What surprises you? If you’re starting a business, how do people think about the field or the marketing niche you’re entering? How do you fit into this pre-existing image your future customers carry?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? We know: This is a pretty standard question. But we want to push you to dig a little deeper with your answers. It’s easy to overlook the things you’re good at — after all, you’ve probably been awesome at them so long that they’re just normal to you. But they’re the very things that make your business and your brand distinctive. At the same time, be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. It might help if you remember that you’re not stuck with them. At DesignGood, our creative work helps clients solve their business challenges.
- Where do you want to be in five years? Your goals determine the decisions you make. For example, you should be taking different steps if you want to eventually bring on a team than if you want to continue doing the hands-on work yourself.
- What’s your big ‘why’? What really gets you out of bed every morning to do the work that you do? There’s no right answer. Everyone has different reasons for building the businesses they do. Just make sure that yours infuses everything that you do as a business and a brand.
- What do you really want to be doing? Be brutally honest here. How do you want to spend your days? Your business will be a lot more sustainable if it’s built around you doing something you love. In the beginning, you might have to take care of some tasks you’re not crazy about yourself because you don’t have the resources yet to hire a team or outsource. But you can decide now what you want to get off your plate and set some goals on when you want it to happen. It can be really motivating to know, for example, that if you hit your sales goal for the quarter then you can afford to hire an assistant.
- How much do you need and want to make? When it comes to our businesses, it’s easy and fun to talk about passions and ideas. Money? Not so much. But you have to have a grasp of your financial realities. They’ll drive all your business decisions. Know your value. New businesses tend to under-charge and over-deliver. And, to be honest, you have to do this to a degree when you first start out. But you don’t have to do it forever. If that’s the place you’re in right now, start thinking about how you’ll transition to pricing that better reflects what you’re worth. Don’t feel guilty for charging prices that support your life, your dreams and your goals!
If you’re looking for a curious, enthusiastic and supportive partner to help you get clear on your business and build a captivating brand, we invite you to learn more about DesignGood.