Ever hear of a brand style guide? That’s the very first thing you’ll need.

5 Branding Tips If You're an Entrepreneur on a Budget

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Think of branding as you would meeting someone on a blind date. You dress to make a specific impression. You communicate in a way that makes the other person interested in knowing more. And, if things work out, you may nudge your way toward a second date.

This is also the heart of branding, because with branding, you give someone an experience of your company that establishes a clear picture of who you are and ultimately engages that someone — now a “customer” — enough to buy your goods and services.

Many entrepreneurs ignore branding because they consider it too expensive or don’t think they’ll need it until they reach a specific growth point. The truth is, however, that the longer you wait to brand, the more confusion you’ll create in the marketplace. So, instead, start with the basics and use the many free or inexpensive branding tools that won’t break the bank but will have a drive revenue.

Create a brand style guide.

A brand style guide establishes guidelines that define your brand and how it will be shared with the marketplace. Similar to a marketing plan, a style guide assures a consistent company presence across every engagement so that your brand becomes recognizable to current and potential customers.

A brand style guide can be as complex or limited as you choose, and for most small businesses and startups should cover:

  • Mission and vision
  • Competitive analysis
  • Target audience
  • Creative guidelines
  • Voice

Establishing your brand style guide requires time and effort, but no money unless you choose to hire a consultant. There are also several free examples of brand style guides that can provide inspiration.

Design your logo.

Design your logo using your brand style guide. Your logo will appear on everything from business cards to your website, so it needs to visually encapsulate your brand. For assistance, check out the free or inexpensive logo-making websites, like AI logo designer by Designhill,…