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4 Things to Avoid As Your Business Evolves

challenges growing businesses faces

4 THINGS TO AVOID AS YOUR BUSINESS EVOLVES

So you’ve started your business. You have a fantastic team to work with, a great vision for your product or service, and you possess the talent and intelligence to get your company off its feet. Sound about right?

Business leaders often excel when their company is in the start-up phase. However, many of the skills required to start a business don’t translate well to the future of the company. In this article, we’ll go over the four big mistakes that businesses make that prevent them from “scaling” their company, as well as advice for how to avoid these mistakes.

Loyalty

The first problem that often holds a company back is that their leaders are often too loyal to their team. Obviously, you and your team need to have a strong bond. However, business leaders are often blinded by their loyalty that they refuse to recognize when a team member is not performing strong enough. Strong business leaders are objective about their team members, and are able to compartmentalize their personal relationships as separate from what is necessary for their business.

As your business grows, set aside time every few weeks to consider the strengths and contributions of each team member, and be honest when a member’s performance needs to improve.

Task prioritization

The second problem involves the tasks that your company prioritizes. Start-up companies set out with a short set of tasks: putting together a team, designing the product, starting an advertising campaign, etc. As the business grows, so does the task list, and many entrepreneurs fail to accommodate. Businesses with poor task prioritization either believe that they have to invest the same amount of energy into each individual task, or they focus on the same tasks that they started out with and fail to adapt to changing needs.

Your business should set time aside to evaluate its priorities. Successful businesses will often use the quarterly system to their advantage, meeting every 90 days to evaluate their priorities and focus on achieving a few measurable goals rather than a lot of specific tasks. Taking the time to evaluate your priorities will keep your business competitive and at the edge of your industry.

Tunnel vision

Similar to task prioritization, business leaders become inadvertently inflexible when they operate with tunnel vision. Start-up companies often have one goal in mind: successfully building and selling their product. However, the unsuccessful company will be so focused on one specific product that they won’t adapt to changes in the industry or listen to feedback from investors and partners.

Your vision for your product is what helped you create your business, but don’t be held back by it. To avoid this, you should do two things: 1) take note of feedback from your investors and team members. Whether scheduling this feedback into business meetings or reaching out 1-on-1, this feedback is essential to fostering a successful product and a productive company. 2) keep ahead of market trends. A business that is hyper-focused on its product may fail to realize that the market’s interests have shifted, or they may fail to create an effective advertising campaign as marketing strategies evolve. Use teamwork and collaboration to your advantage as you and your company evolve with the ever-changing marketplace.

Isolation

The last problem that start-up companies face as they move forward is isolation. At the beginning, isolation is crucial: long, fervent hours spent designing and developing a product with a select group of people often produces the most influential work. Many visionaries and brilliant entrepreneurs themselves have been introverted, preferring quiet thought and planning to the social demands of leadership.

But those social demands do arise, and the worst thing a business can do is stay holed up – including the CEO. Successful businesses thrive both in isolation and in the spotlight, and an effective company evolves with the demands of social media, advertising strategies, and public campaigns.

Keep these tips in mind as your business blooms from bud to bouquet. As your business evolves from isolation to the spotlight, keep us in mind for branding and visual design services. Contact us at Cast Design Team for a free assessment and we will get you started on the next step to branding your business.

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How Networking Helps Your Business

HOW NETWORKING HELPS YOUR BUSINESS

No man is an island, and no business is either. As your company goes from idea to full-fledged product and brand, networking is essential to keep your business in the public view. We’ve broken down the different relationships any business ought to foster in order to reach its full potential.

Relationships

Of course, the most important networking you can do is with the clients you already have. Your clients are the reason your company stays afloat – you wouldn’t have a business if they weren’t invested in your product or service. Maintaining these relationships are essential. 

Clients will be more likely to remain faithful to your company if you continue to offer them incentives. Offering deals for future products, maintaining a friendly social media presence, upholding your brand and the story behind it, and putting out an informative blog or newsletter are all ways to keep your clientele engaged and interested. This engagement can lead to a broader web presence as well as company referrals from your clients, both of which can increase traffic to your business. Ensuring your clients stay with your business and recommend your product to new members is the foundation of your company’s relationships.

Referral partners

A referral partner is a person or organization that is committed to directing relevant traffic to your website or business. Referral partnerships are a two-way street: they provide you with potential clients, and you provide them with a need of their own, whether that’s resources, ideas, funding, etc. 

Referral partners are great sources of business. Since they are not associated with the company itself, potential clients are more likely to trust them and their opinion of your product or service. Moreover, referral partners are usually associated with your industry, so they are marketing your business to the right people. Fostering these relationships through social media campaigns and networking events are a great way to boost public interest in your business through a 1-on-1 basis.

  1. Organizations 

As a company moves from idea to full-fledged product, the company often makes the mistake of staying in isolation from other organizations, both within the industry and outside it. 

Networking with other businesses opens up new avenues for marketing, relationships, and business ideas. Businesses with similar goals can: host cross-promotional events; publish joint marketing material; partner up for volunteer events, etc. Joining a small business organization or attending meet and greets with other businesses can also help spark relationships and provide useful advice. Finally, taking these ideas to meet businesses outside of your industry can also introduce clients you wouldn’t normally encounter to what you and your company do!

The Media 

The importance of the media cannot be understated. And, with more and more media options available today than ever before – the internet, TV, print, local advertising, small business flyers, etc. – you have the option to fine tune your marketing strategy to the right medium. But first you need that relationship.

First, make sure you are marketing yourself to the right media – different demographics rely on different news sources. When it comes to actually fostering relationships, you want to make sure that you have isolated reporters who are interested in what you do, keep your media lists up to date, and keep in regular contact with journalists. This way, the media will not only push out your brand to the right audience, but they’ll say exactly what you want them to.

Lasting advice

What’s the most important aspect of maintaining these relationships? Keep in contact! We cannot stress this enough – the key to networking is to always follow up. Keep offering services and reaching out to your clients, maintain a regular two-way relationship with your referral partners, schedule regular meetings and events with organizations, and always keep the press updated on what you and your business are doing. As a business, you are in the public eye of the consumer, and while the work to maintain these relationships may be exhausting, the payout can be tremendous.

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Setting Your Business Apart From the Crowd

setting your business apart from the crowd using branding

SETTING YOUR BUSINESS APART FROM THE CROWD

Your business is a lot like your child. Your child makes you feel immensely proud, and your child motivates you to help them be the best versions of themselves. 

Your passion and expertise as a business owner will certainly aid your business in the long run, but business owners often become so hyper-focused on their goals that they neglect to properly brand their company. As your business moves forward, consider the following questions:

Why should someone work with you vs. your competitor?

It’s an obvious question, and something you’ve already considered when it comes to creating your product or service. But has your brand answered that question for your clients?

Businesses often offer products that are very similar to each other. The difference is how they brand themselves. 

Consider bubblegum companies, like Trident versus Orbit. Ostensibly, they offer the same product, right? Both offer chewing gum with a refreshing taste, and if you’re someone who doesn’t chew gum, then they probably look like the exact same product in the grocery store checkout line.

But say you’re in the market for the right bubble gum. This is where branding takes you to the next step. Trident’s branding and visual design is clean and focused, like a doctor’s office or a bright seaside day. This probably appeals more to older Millennials and Gen X’ers. Orbit, by contrast, has a younger, more modern design. Their marketing appeals more directly to teens and young adults, and its visual design is more sparkly and ostentatious. 

This type of branding creates a visual story for the audience. Even if we don’t consciously register how these companies are appealing to us, we may be more inclined to buy one over the other, even on a spark-of-the-moment decision. Two products can tell vastly different stories, and your product needs to do the same in regards to your company’s competition and ideal audience.

What do you want to be known for? 

The other branding strategy to keep in mind is the impact your company has on your consumer. Obviously, every business wants to be known for a useful or beneficial product. But businesses also have personalities. Humans have an innate need to categorize everything and see human-like qualities in things that aren’t human, and a business is no different.

Consider the tech companies Apple and Microsoft. What are they known for? Apple is regarded as sleek and cutting edge. They’ve branded themselves with a consistent, minimalistic design, and their products are regarded as higher-status devices with high ergonomic value. Microsoft, by contrast, is known for a user interface that is more customizable and better adaptable to different types of software. Where Apple is user friendly, Microsoft tends to be more flexible technology, giving them the ability to brand themselves as personalizable.

Each company’s brand emphasizes certain values and key traits. While one is not objectively better than the other, each company plays its strengths to its key demographics. Moreover, these traits are recognizable by everyone, regardless of their demographic background or which company they actually use. These brands have highlighted key personality traits, and their image is virtually inseparable from these traits.

So, why should someone choose your business? What is your business known for? If you’re unsure, CAST Design is here to help. We specialize in branding and visual storytelling, creating company identities that stand out against the crowd. Contact us at Cast Design Team for a free assessment and we will get you started on the next step to branding your business.

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Why Branding Matters

why branding is important

WHY BRANDING MATTERS

A business and a brand go hand in hand. Your brand is how you control your company’s image and its message to consumers. That’s why businesses that don’t work on their branding still have a brand – it’s just not a very good one.

From standing out among the competition to retaining your clients, let’s go over all the benefits to having a brand.

Good brands catch the consumer’s attention

A good brand has a great visual design, a clear message, and tells a story about the company itself. Why? Because that’s what grabs your attention! These elements of a brand are what attract consumers to your company, as people are drawn to stories and ideas they can relate to. Targeting the right demographic and convincing people to invest in your product or service are the key payouts of a good brand, as well as the satisfaction in running a business that represents you!

Brand loyalty

In addition to attracting new customers, brands help retain those customers by inspiring brand loyalty. Think about it: people who have an iPhone usually stick with iPhones, and the same goes for Samsung and Google phones. This is because consumers identify with their brand! People are drawn to the stories these companies tell and find those stories reflected in their phones’ respective interface and design. Brands aren’t just about finding new customers, they’re about retaining them.

People pay more for good branding

Smart companies know this: consumers want to purchase products that they identify with and that reflect their personal values and beliefs. That’s why companies with strong brands are able to charge more for their products. Whether you incorporate being socially and environmentally conscious into your story, or whether you emphasize a commitment to style and originality, your brand attracts the people who are looking for you – and willing to pay big bucks for it!

Branding implies quality

Last, a strong brand implies a strong product. Companies with strong brands inspire trust in the product. Since the company has taken the time to deliver something professional and personalized, consumers are more likely to think they have also make the product of higher quality than competitors have. As a result, your brand garners more interest, retains more customers, and allows you to charge a higher price for a product well made!

 

From branding to visual design and storytelling, We specialize in creating company identities that stand out against the crowd. Contact us at Cast Design Team for a free assessment and we will get you started on the next step to branding your business.