After years of running my branding and web design studio, I’ve gotten on calls with countless small business owners—across so many industries and at multiple stages of their journeys.
I’ve talked to people who are at the beginning stage of their journey and only have an inkling of what they want their offer/product to be.
I’ve talked to people who have launched in some way shape or form, but are still working out all the kinks of running a business and are feeling like they desperately need professional help in areas that are outside of their zone of genius, but need to be really intentional about how and where they invest.
I’ve talked to seasoned business owners who have been at it for some time, seen the growth they want, and are ready to take it to the next level.
And consistently when I speak to these business owners (whether on a sales call, a Free Website Audit, Slack, or in my IG DMs), I see three obstacles emerge—regardless of where they are in their journey.
Read on to learn more about the obstacles and grab my free resource for helping you get a head start on avoiding (or overcoming) these issues ASAP… so that you can be confident you’re building a brand that resonates with your audience, builds credibility, and ultimately helps you grow with ease.
I’m not going to beat around the bush: branding your business is an investment. And there is a wide variety of quality to choose from out there: from high-end agencies employing multiple people that will charge in the tens of thousands (or more)… to low quality, usually pre-made options on sites like Etsy or Fiver that you can get for close to nothing. Hint: Crafted by Carly falls in between these 2 extremes.
My guess is that, as a self-funded small business owner, you’re not considering a large agency, who typically work with big companies with big budgets. But you may be weighing the options between investing in a branding service like the one I provide, versus throwing a hundred bucks at a pre-made option on Etsy and calling it a day.
So what is the harm of going the Etsy route? And what’s the true ROI (return on investment) of having beatiful, strategic branding?
When it comes to your branding, it’s about so much more than “just the logo” or just the visuals, for that matter. Building a brand means building a business that people talk about—something that resonates with them on a deeper level than just the thing you’re selling.
Simply put, buying just a logo (especially one that’s pre-made) and/or ignoring the strategy part of the process can’t set you up for building a successful, intentional brand that taps into your audience’s deeper emotions, obstacles, and dreams.
But when you choose to do your branding in a way that is both strategic and looks at the whole picture, every part of the process will help you to grow your brand in a way that aligns with your goals and audience, and that clarity is necessary and invaluable for helping you market and sell the true value of what you offer.
The part of the brand strategy & branding process that I’m referring to includes:
As you can see, there are a wide variety of benefits of building a brand that goes beyond just the logo. And when you build this brand strategically and intentionally, your ROI will be huge.
I’ve been in the industry long enough, and have talked to enough business owners, to know exactly why this happens. Hey, I even get why you’d want to do this! The branding process is an investment in not just money but time—at Crafted by Carly, we slot 6 weeks for the entire process. Your website feels more tangible, so it’s tempting to jump ahead.
The problem with this approach is that you don’t actually have any guidelines—visually or strategically—to guide the web design process. And at the end, you end up 2 major issues:
I’m telling you: if you’re considering what to start with now, the answer is ALWAYS branding. Starting with your website and then realizing you need branding means you’ll end up spending more time and money to go back and fix your website after the fact.
Myself and a lot of the small business owners I work and talk to have this in common: we value a beautiful brand. Not because we’re shallow and like pretty things—but because it makes us feel something.
And because that’s something we value, we can’t deny that we’re more likely to trust and spend money at companies whose branding resonates with us. (Remember… when I say “branding,” I don’t just mean the logo or visuals. I mean the WHOLE picture and experience they create… from the way they market their services, the tone of voice on their website, the interior design if they have a brick & mortar presence, etc.)
The obstacle? You don’t even know where to START when it comes to creating a brand like this for your own business.
I think as small business owners who are used to wearing so many hats (suddenly I’m expected to be an expert in copywriting, bookkeeping, sales and marketing, operations, oh my…!), many people I talk to expect that they have to be experts in branding too! While we’re always going to decide which hats we’re willing to wear, I’m here to tell you that you DON’T have to be an expert in everything, and branding is a great example of that.
In other words: you don’t have to DIY it all. For me, what I choose to DIY or invest in professional help in changes throughout the year, but some examples are:
Invest in professional help:
All of that to say, the best way to “know where to start” when it comes to your branding is by 1) learning more about branding and/or 2) potentially outsourcing the task.
It’s called the Ultimate Branding Checklist, and it lays out the 50(!) things you need to think about when building a magnetic brand.
I know this is going to be a gamechanger for so many small business owners when it comes to demystifying the branding process, the ROI of branding, and where to start.
Questions, comments, want to chat? Email me at email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear what you think!