Professional branding is a big financial investment and not one that all small business owners are ready to make straight out of the gate. Although branding is important to the long-term success of your business, it's totally possible to get your business started without it.
Maybe you’ve DIY'ed your branding and it’ s done the job thus far. So how do you know when it’s time to raise the bar and hire a professional? After working one-on-one with many small business owners on their branding, I’ve identified three signs that mean you’re ready to go pro.
You’re Making Big Changes in Your Business
If you’re on the verge of making a big change in your business then it’s very likely the perfect time to invest in professional branding. Whether you’re increasing your prices, changing directions, or taking your side hustle full-time, professional branding can help make the transition smoother and more natural.
Professional branding launched in tandem with increased prices helps communicate the increased value you have to offer. If you’re afraid that a raise in your rates may raise brows, you need to show your audience that the increase is justified. An upgraded, professional appearance is the perfect way to visually communicate the added value you have to offer with your higher rates.
If you’re changing the direction of your business by offering new services or redefining your niche, rebranding is the perfect way to get a fresh start. Professional branding can communicate the new direction you’re heading, and a professional designer will know the right way to visually attract your new audience.
If you’re taking your side project full-time, professional branding is the perfect way to show that you’re getting serious. If you’ve been working full-time at another job it can also be the perfect way to fund your new brand identity.
Your Business Has a Solid Foundation
The second sign that you’re ready for professional branding is when you have a solid understanding of the core of your business. This includes your mission, vision, values, goals, and target market. You know what matters to you, what makes your business unique, what you want to achieve, and who you want to attract. When these things are nailed down, professional branding is always a worthwhile investment because it can visually communicate these fundamental aspects of your business.
When people invest in branding before they have these figured out, the branding process turns into a drawn-out, convoluted process. Visual decisions become based on personal bias, rather than what best represents the business and attracts the right audience. Fear of commitment to a single look often prevails, as worries of changing personal taste take hold.
On the other hand, when I’ve worked with business owners who are very clear about what makes their business tick and who they are talking to, the process has been close to effortless for both parties.
So while branding is a worthwhile investment, it’s best to hold off if you’re still figuring things out. To help you do so I’ve created a Brand Planning Questionnaire that will help you think about the most important aspects of your business and prepare you for working with a designer. Grab yours!
You Can Afford It
The last and most obvious sign that you’re ready to hire a professional brand designer is that you can afford it! If you’re income stream is still unreliable, then it’s best to wait until it gets a little steadier. You don’t want to invest a huge chunk in branding just to find you can barely make next month’s rent.
You also don’t want to find out mid-project that you’re not going to be able to make the final payment on time. Most designers won’t hand over final files until the last payment has been completed. So avoid any awkward conversations by ensuring that you can make all payments on time. Many designers will even offer a discounted rate for full payment upfront.
When searching for a brand designer, it’s best to save up for one whose work you love and you can trust. It’s not a good time to save a buck by hiring the cheapest option. So if you can’t afford your dream designer yet, keep waiting and start saving.
Hopefully these signs have either given you assurance that you’re ready to hire a designer, or if you’re not ready I hope it’s given you permission to DIY it as long as you need to.
Have you invested in professional branding yet? If not, are these signs telling you you’re ready or to keep waiting?