Well, the short answer to this is no. Yes, you read that right – a brand coach saying “No you don’t need a brand”. But it’s true. You don’t NEED one to run a business.
There are people out there that could make a successful business with not a lot to start from, it’s in their blood and it’s what they do. But you’ll probably discover that they automatically think about their ‘brand’ unconsciously, so although they may not be doing things in a conventional manner, they have a strong idea of the identity of the business and they push it out to there Perfect Clients instinctively. So in effect they do have a brand, they just approach it slightly differently to most of us.
However, the thing to remember is that most of us, myself included, are not one of these people.
We started our business because we are passionate about something and we want more people to have access to it to enhance their lives.
We jumped in with little or no business experience, have had to learn on the job and usually come to realise that there’s a lot more to it than we anticipated. A little doing the things we love and a lot of doing the things we’re not so keen on, like paperwork, marketing etc.
But you see, very often we make it even harder for ourselves because we haven’t really approached it in a way that makes it easy for us. We’ve thought about how wonderful our product or service is, how literally thousands of people would just love it (and need it too!) and how fab it is that we’ll be able to help them.
However we have given so much time and energy to loving what we do and being excited about how we can help, that we haven’t spent the time to really dig deep and work out some of the key aspects of building a powerful brand:
- Our big vision
- Our values
- Our Perfect Client values
- Who our Perfect Client is
- What our ‘message’ is
- Where our Perfect Client is
- What we want our design to look and feel like
- How we want our brand personality to come across in our promotions
- How we’re going to present the image of the business professionally
- What our plan or strategy is
- and lots of other things.
Don’t get me wrong, your business can simmer away without considering these too closely, sometimes for years, but that’s pretty much all you’ll do, simmer. If your business will not come to the boil then you need to consider what is holding it back. Maybe it’s that it just doesn’t understand who it is!?
We think about this stuff a lot:
- Who am I?
- What am I here for?
- What do I really want?
- Am I doing the right thing…?
All those big, deep and meaningful life questions. Well life is a big part of your business sister! We started our business to help others and also to give us the life we want. To be able to work to our own schedule, be in control of our time, work around family, do work that inspires us… The sad thing is that often, being in business doesn’t give us this because we let it consume us.
Our brand takes on a persona that we might not have meant it to, I’ve seen that lots of times, because a business owner has not considered the above things at the beginning, their business has grown of its own accord and sometimes into something they didn’t want. This is because there was no plan, no guidelines, no map to follow. Then their job becomes rescuing their brand instead of creating it.
When we can step back and understand our brand, we can free up a lot of head-space ‘stuff’ because we have a plan that we can follow.
We stop having to ask ourselves if this ‘special offer advert’ is a good thing to do.
We save money and time and energy, because we know where we’re going, we know how to get there and we can then sit back and enjoy the process.
What do you do if you’re in a situation where your brand has become a beast? Well you need to take it back to basics and start from the beginning. You need to forget what you’ve got now for a moment and instead focus on what you want. Then, when you know what you want, you can start making the changes needed to make it happen.
Also because creating and living the life you want is a big part of what I do, to me it’s a big part of creating your brand – if you don’t know where you want to be, how can you create a brand or business that will help you get there?
So, no, you don’t need a brand to have a business, but you do need one to have a GREAT business – plus it sure does make running your business and creating the life you want a whole lot easier.
If you’d like to understand more about your own brand, whether you’ve been in business a while or you’re just starting up, then do take a look at 30 Days to Awesome Branding, it’s a 30 day online course that will set you off on the right course with your brand and give you firm foundations for building your successful business.