Throughout human history, crises have been pivotal in developing our societies. Wars fuelled tech innovations and the global financial crisis propelled the advancement of tech companies like Uber and Airbnb. In this uncertain context, it is very difficult to predict the future as things are changing daily and even hourly. We can’t pretend to know with absolute certainty what will happen but we’ve been hearing that the current pandemic will arguably become a catalyst for entrepreneurship, as people question their role and purpose within a business context and look for defining the next chapter in their careers.
If you find yourself in that lot, there are 3 things we would like for you to bear in mind.
Great, you’ve taken that first step to develop a product, service or idea. Perhaps it stemmed from a conversation you observed, or a necessity you identified. Then there are those that simply spotted an opportunity and jumped on it. The big difference between the two? Relevancy. While we’re avid supporters of go-getters, it sadden us to receive briefs from business owners with high expectations that the branding investment will fix their struggling businesses which lack relevancy first and foremost.
We don’t want to be the party-pooper, but it’s imperative founders and entrepreneurs do their homework before diving in head first, Ask yourself “why does my product deserve to exist in my audience’s life”, “how does it fundamentally address a human tension or truth?”, “what feeling does my service elicit in the minds of my customers?” Think of that refreshing ice cream on a hot beach day… now that’s relevancy! Going through this exercise at an early stage is critical. If your product, service or idea has no relevancy, it doesn’t matter how much money you invest in it, it will not succeed.
If your idea comes too early, customers may not be ready for it. If your idea comes too late, you may not be able to squeeze in front of a market crowded with competitors. You can't ignore timing even though there’s no scientific process for determining it. We’re not going to lie, that’s probably the most challenging aspect of any any business but for that, engaging a market or trend researcher could be a smart move as they are equipped to be your eyes and ears on the ground. While many entrepreneurs rely on their own skills to conduct research, resorting to professionals is a smarter move because they know how to ask the right questions.
I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs putting out basic questionnaires in their social media channels that frankly speaking won’t give you much insight on what really matters to your audience. If you’re empowered with that knowledge then you’ll get a much accurate portrayal of the current cultural fabric and determine the time to launch. So, when budgeting for your new business idea, it’s imperative you allocate a realistic amount of investment in this field to get it right, otherwise, you’ll find out that cutting corners will take you back to square one.
This is where we’ve seen many start ups fail. They might have had a perfect idea, extremely relevant to its audience, the timing felt just right…but boom…. it’s struggling. After a quick glance we realise that the execution (meaning the branding and go-to market strategy) were just not on par with their product or service. This often happens because most of the budget is either directed towards building the product itself (whether digitally or physically-led), or simply there isn’t one. So as a way to extend the dollar amount as far as possible, oftentimes entrepreneurs or business owners either do their brand’s image on their own, or hire a freelance designer on 99designs.com to do it.
Nothing against hiring a freelance designer, but when you’re the one briefing, it’s natural that what you have clearly in mind is not necessarily articulated accurately on paper. And a designer might not have the skills to interpret or understand how to best guide you. So don’t be surprised if engaging a freelance designer doesn’t yield the desired results. This is where (clears throat) a strategy-led branding agency comes into play. We’re trained to grasp your market, audience, dreams and ambitions and turn that into a brand identity and go-to market strategy that not only excites you but that will be designed to think down to every little detail.
So all in all, the 3 points outlined above require diligence and money. Without them both, miracles will happen very seldom. So if there’s anything we can leave you with, before venturing out into an entrepreneurial journey, consider budgeting and allocating the right amount of investment to do something right from get-go. Not only will that be the expressway to success, but it will also prevent many of your white hairs. You’re welcome.