Ok, here is part 2 of the article starting at number 6 of the top 10 things not to do when starting a company.
- Don't just pick a name from a hat. Choose your name wisely.
A name will be with your company forever so pick something that you
will be able to live with and that will be able to grow with as your company
grows. For some tips on naming you can read Brand Development - What does your company name say about your company?.
- Don't go cheep on your logo. A logo is the face of the company when the owner or employees are not around. A logo needs to create a strong first impression and establish trust.
With all the software available and ease of outsourcing to
other countries people are going for the cheap logo, more and more these days. This
is a mistake, hire a professional that is not going to use just a font
and piece of clip-art. Hire someone that can either help you trademark
your name and logo or point you to a good attorney they use for this type
of thing. By not doing the formal research up front, you are asking for
trouble down the road. Trademarking a strong name and logo will start
to build value in your company if you decide you want to sell your company and retire. A professional logo may cost several
thousand dollars, but a $300 or less logo will need to be redone as you
grow. How many times do you want to pay to redo a logo? To see samples of professional logos go to the Brandwise logo portfolio.
- Don't start selling without a game plan. Develop a strong 30 second elevator speech
that is so interesting and easy to understand, that people can repeat
it and introduce you with the same message. This must be used every
time by every sales person to reinforce the success of all sales
people. Obviously this may take some time to develop and you will have
to test it before you come up with a winner. Your team will know it
when it works. The right elevator speech will roll right off the tongue and other people will
instantly get what your business does. This is important for everyone in the
company to have in their back pocket for the "What do you do?"
question. This will build confidence and pride in your team and people
will know you are serious about business when an employee spouts it
off quickly without thinking about it.
- Don't neglect
marketing. You can be the best in the world at whatever you do, but if
you are not marketing your company you may just find that you are the
worlds best kept secret. Marketing is as important as a business card,
cell phone, regular phone, electric, internet. You would not start a
business without all these items, so what makes you think marketing is
a random thing you can do when you get around to it. Marketing is an investment in yourself and your company not an expense.
You need to get the word out. So build a marketing budget into your
expenses. Every business is different, but a rough number to think
about is 10% of revenue should go towards marketing.
- Don't over promise and under deliver. The key is under promise and over deliver. A brand is built in your reputation. You need to treat every client, even the small ones like they are king of the world. You can never burn bridges if you want to keep your solid reputation. You want your clients to know that you go above and beyond on nearly every job. If you screw up, or even if someone else does, take full responsibility for the screw up and redo the job or make it right for the client. Fixing a screw up and taking the hit now helps build a loyal life long client. This client will truly respect you and probably recommend you to all the friends and people in need of your service. Also keep in mind, a happy customer may tell 1 or 2 other people, but a frustrated customer will tell 10 or 15.
I hope this article will be helpful to all the new business people that read this. Or the people that are thinking about going into business, I hope this either makes you think twice or points you in the right direction if you decide to take the leap.
Here's one last word of encouragement you you new business people. My worst day working for myself is usually much better then my best day working for someone else.
Competition is tough… get Brandwise!