Lots of books and articles have been written about business, some by those who have never started one themselves, but merely picked up where others have left off. So I thought I would offer my wisdom into the mix and give a bit of detail on my most important lessons so far.
In your old firm you would have been given leads due to the marketing your firm did. So you would expect to be able to replicate that wouldn’t you? Not a chance. The budget your old firm had, along with an established brand among many other attributes, allowed them to market effectively, none of which you now possess.
Now I’m not saying don’t spend anything and I’m not saying don’t market yourself. What I’m saying is understand the limitations of your firm and your budget. I’m always getting told off for spending too much on marketing by my accountant, and my wife Dee used to be concerned also, however this is changing as the results are coming through. So what changed?
When you first start out you tend to spend money on things you think are important such as advertising, and websites without understanding anything about marketing. Yes, I’m sure you have read a book or maybe have a degree in marketing. However spending your own money on this is a different kettle of fish in the real world.
The very first job you should do (and I didn’t) is pay good money to a real branding company that has many happy clients. Yes it’s not cheap to do it properly, but it’s the first and most important step in marketing yourself. I daren’t put my old branding on here, especially as the first one was a Vista print special! Oh well why not, it helps make the point. The first horror as you will see (which led to a client asking why I have a telly on my back) was one that I did. The second was done by a graphic designer which is
much better all round, and the final version you will see is from an expert branding firm called Platform Brand run by a very talented man called Simon Glenn. Compared to some he’s inexpensive but he’s also not the cheapest either, so I have no problem recommending his work.
My first homemade logo:
2nd logo designed by a qualified graphic designer:
Branding expert, Simon Glenn’s design:
So as you can see above, wouldn’t it have been more cost effective getting it right the first time by a professional? Now I hear you saying again, but I can’t afford to do that. Yes, but you can afford to spend on various adverts and networking fees. Your brand flows through your website and anything you hand out such as business cards and letter headed paper. Don’t make yourself look cheap, or unprofessional and don’t spent a fortune on marketing without first dealing with a firm that actually understands a lot more than you. I have a marketing plan in place that I use and will continue to use for some years to come from Xpand Marketing, with a brand that looks professional across all media from Platform Brand Ltd. The problem is that it took far too long to understand that this was an area I needed to spend my money on first before anything else.
So I would recommend that you swallow your pride, and accept that maybe your mum and dad or friends were being kind about your branding, and get an expert involved before
you blow loads of money in an ineffective way.
So lesson four is get branded professionally or look like an amateur.