As a small business owner, I understand trying to build a business on a budget. And hiring a brand strategist and designer for your business can be expensive. It is a big investment, especially when you’re trying so hard to grow your business and become more profitable. I get it. I understand how hard it is to budget for something like this and why it would be hard to give up hard-earned money and hire someone else to help you build your brand.
But I also know how much an authentic and well-developed brand can help grow your business. As hard as it is to make the big investments, they end up helping you become more profitable in the end.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why investing in branding is worth it
- The return on investment you’ll get with branding
- How branding can increase your revenue and perceived value
- How much to invest
- How to know when to invest
Why investing in branding is always worth it
Before we dive into the value and investment of branding, it’s important to first understand what exactly branding is. If you come into this with the wrong perception of what it means to build a brand, then you won’t understand the value.
Your brand is who you are and what your business stands for. Your brand is your logo, website, and marketing, but it is also your purpose, promise, ideal client, message, personality, and much more.
So in essence, branding is way more than just a logo or color palette. It’s going deeper to discover and refine what you do, who you do it for, and why people will choose to buy from you. It’s then, and only then, that the logos, fonts, colors, illustrations, and website (all the fun stuff) can be created in a way that is aligned.
When you look at it this way, you can start to see where the value lies in investing in your brand.
Investing in your brand is investing in the growth of your business. Every business needs to be branded and the earlier you get a handle on yours, the better it will be in the long run.
When I talk about investing in branding, I use the word investment for a reason. It’s not just another payment you have to make or business expense to log. It’s a true investment in the foundation and future of your business.
It’s not just paying for something you’ll use in your business like a scheduling app or project management tool. You’re paying for the foundation of your entire business. Investing in your brand is one of the best ways to see growth in your business.
The return on investment you’ll get with branding
The value of establishing a strong foundation for your business is immeasurable. An exceptional brand is built on a solid foundation of a strong mission, clear vision, and defined style. There is a lot of development that goes into creating a strong brand that is a true representation of you and your mission.
And if you don’t recognize the value in that you either don’t know how much goes into building a brand behind the scenes, or don’t realize the impact professional branding can have on your business.
Branding is critical in a consumer’s decision-making when it comes to purchasing. A brand can have a huge impact on their perception of your business and ultimately their purchase from your business. A business that has a sloppy logo and unprofessional website won’t have the same perceived value as a business with elevated branding and a seamless online experience.
The details matter.
People want to feel like they are a part of an exceptional experience and your brand can create that for your business.
If your brand is built the right way, it can change the perceived value of your brand and increase your revenue.
When you invest in your brand at any level, you are more likely to attract the right person and convert them into a loyal customer or client because your brand has been intentionally and strategically built to do that instead of haphazardly through together. And when you are able to reach and convert those people, your revenue increases. With your brand built this way, you’ll be able to make back your investment and then some.
How much to invest
With such a wide range of investment options out there, it can be hard to figure out exactly how much you should invest in branding to really get your money’s worth. You can get a brand design for $500 and you can get a brand design for $5000.
It might feel better to spend less and save money, but you have to consider what you’re really getting for that price tag – because you really do get what you pay for in this case. The most important thing to remember is that no matter how much you are investing, you are investing in something that will bring real results for your brand and business.
When determining how much to spend on your branding, you need to look at more than just the price. You want to consider the value you’re getting, the return on your investment, the experience of your strategist and designer, the results you’ll see, and when you’ll see them.
How much to invest also depends on your specific situation and stage of business.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t need a fully custom brand and website and can spend less as long as you are still maintaining the quality of a strong brand and online presence. The first year in business involves a lot of trial and error and when your brand, services and target audience will shift and change as you find your sweet spot. So in the beginning, investing in guided DIY resources are more valuable than breaking the bank for something custom.
If you’re further along, then it’s time to invest more into your branding so you can elevate your online presence with custom solutions. At this point, you are ready to get serious about your business, hone in on a certain direction, and provide a better brand experience for your audience.
A good rule of thumb is to invest 10% of your yearly income in branding and marketing. So if you make $50,000 a year then you should invest $5,000, if you make $100,000 you should invest $10,000 and so on. This does include all branding and marketing efforts like your brand strategy, brand identity, website, and other digital marketing investments. One year it might just be a website overhaul while another might be all about a rebrand.
All that being said, there are always exceptions to the rule and you have to look at your own situation.
How to know when you’re ready to invest
Finding the right time to invest can be a little tricky. On one hand, you want to have a strong foundation and beautifully designed brand as soon as you start your business so you can establish your brand from the get-go. On the other hand, you want to save as much money as you can for the many expenses of running your own business and so you can be better prepared to make this type of investment.
I know that you want things to be perfect as soon as you start your business because I felt the same way. But after years of developing my own brand and working with other business owners in all stages of their businesses, I have come to realize that the best time to invest in a custom brand development is after you have been in business for a while and know more about the direction you are headed.
As creatives, we often start out doing all the things because we are drawn to so many areas and have so many ideas (I did!). It takes time for us to work through our business plan, strategize about what we want to do, and narrow down our focus to a specific niche. There are things you can do to help you get to that point, but nothing will help you more than time. Giving yourself the time to discover who you really are as a business and what it is that you want to focus on doing will put you in a better position to create a powerful brand. This is when courses and templates come in handy.
Once you get to that point where you feel like you are ready to take your business to the next level, you should work 1:1 with a brand strategist and designer to develop your brand and style based on the things you have learned about yourself and your business. That may be 6 months after you start your business or it may be 2 years. You may go through 4 or 5 different “brands” until you get to the point where you know without a doubt what your brand is and what you want to do.
The timing is dependent upon you and your journey. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it quickly just because you see others having success. I promise that you will gain more in the long run if you spend time developing your brand the right way.
Making the right investment
If you are ready to make this kind of investment for your business, I recommend doing your homework first. This goes back to considering what you’re getting for your money and what is included in the package you’re investing in. Hiring an experienced brand designer over a general graphic designer will help you to develop a strong brand foundation that will serve your business for years to come.
Instead of just getting a logo and some graphics created for you to throw up on your website, you will get hours of their undivided attention to dig deep into your business and design specifically for your brand and mission. They will help you develop the important aspects of your brand and get to know you so that they understand your business and can translate that into a design.
I spent years slowly growing my business with no solid foundation. I had a mission and logo, but it was somewhat pieced together and didn’t dig deep enough into what my business was all about. Once I established that foundation and took the time to invest in my own brand, my business grew by leaps and bounds.
After seeing how much impact a complete and cohesive brand had on my business, I realized I needed to be able to do the same for my clients. So instead of taking any odd job and logo design request that came my way, I started being more intentional about how I was designing and developing brands for others. I used the same process I went through for my own brand to create a new branding process that was more in-depth than simply designing some logo options.
Even though it may be hard to write that check or click the button to pay the invoice, just know that you are making a wise investment for the future of your business. If you take the time to discover your business position, do your homework on who you want to work with, and come prepared to dig deep and be intentional about your brand development, your investment will return more than just dollars. You will have intention for your business, clarity about your brand, and an overall strategy to keep your business moving forward and take you to the next level.
If you’re ready to make an investment for your business, it’s time to find the right person to work with. Think about where you’re at in your business, what your goals are, and what you need to do to get there. Then you can connect with a few designers that align with your goals and style to find the right path and package for your business.
We work with clients at 3 different levels to provide the perfect fit for any online business owner looking to elevate their brand. Knowing that every business is unique and your needs are unique depending on your business, I’ve created a 3 tier pagackage system that helps you get exactly what you need at each stage of your business without sacrificing the quality.