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The Deadly Five: Branding Mistakes That Destroy Small Businesses

Branding is one of the keys to success in the world of small business. However, inappropriate or poor branding can be one of the most devastating hurdles for a business of any size to overcome. Here are the five branding mistakes that are most likely to take you down, regardless of the type or size of business that you run.

Not having a vision.

Who are you? Why should people buy products or services from you in a world that is literally crammed with alternative choices? How will your business grow? If you cannot answer these questions, your customers won’t be able to either. This is why it is essential to have a vision of what your business stands for, what sets it apart, and where it will be in the future. Without this direction, you will merely be treading water, which is exhausting and gets you nowhere.

Not knowing your audience.

Many small business owners get caught in the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. While it’s good and even necessary to carry a range of products and/or services, you are doing yourself a huge disservice when you wear yourself out trying to keep everyone happy. Know your target demographic and target everything at them. You can’t be everything to everyone, so focus on the people that can make all the difference in your bottom line.

Neglecting your brand.

Everyone leaves the marketing consultant’s office fired up, but the fervor seems to wane after a few months. Before you know it, you and your employees have slipped back into old habits, the store looks just like it used to, and the only remnant of your once-strong brand is the logo. You need to be aware of the top 10 logo design mistakes to ensure your logo design is up to scratch. Don’t let this happen; get good use of your marketing dollars by maintaining your brand as long as it is appropriate for your business and customer base.

Not changing your brand when necessary.

Even the best brand loses timeliness and looks passé after a decade or so. Because you cannot afford to let your business stay in last decade, this is the time to rebrand. It isn’t as scary as it sounds; large corporations do it all the time, and it may actually be the difference between success and fading away into bankruptcy. Of course you have to be also aware of the top 5 rebranding mistakes.

Doing it yourself.

Branding sounds like an easy task when laid out on paper; so does brain surgery. Just as you wouldn’t expect a good outcome from a home surgery job, you shouldn’t expect a brand that you developed by yourself to equal that of one created by a professional marketing consultant. Leave marketing to the experts; it will leave more time for you to run your business. For example, if you try to put a website together by yourself, you will definitely see the loss of opportunity from that action. Be sure read about the top 10 website design mistakes.

By recognizing and avoiding these five most deadly mistakes, you will be giving your business a much higher chance of survival. Branding and marketing effectively always pays off in the end, so get the brand you need to be successful and let your business shine.

Top 5 Branding Mistakes that Female Entrepreneurs Commit

Females are the largest growing group of small business owners, bring a feminine touch to just about every corner of the business world. However, women are prone to different mistakes than their male counterparts. Here are the top five branding mistakes that women make most often.

Marketing too broadly. Any exposure is good exposure, right? Actually, this assumption is tragically incorrect. Any marketing that is not targeted to your precise market is money wasted. Not only are people outside your target audience less likely to buy your products, but marketing to them will also diminish the effect your campaigns have on your target groups. Keep your money and your attention where both will make the most difference.

Not controlling your personal image. Many female entrepreneurs are aware of the need to use internet sites such as Facebook to market themselves, but they don’t realize the effect of their profile. Your personal image is closely linked to that of your small business. This means that you must closely screen any information about yourself and photographs before it ends up on the internet. Will a picture of you in a bikini holding a Corona bolster your business? If not, keep it off your social networking sites. Same goes for personal information and anything else that might be held against you.

Charging too little. What does your pricing have to do with branding? Everything! If you charge too little for your products, you are not only reducing your profits and thus your viability; you are also devaluing your company and your product. You will never be able to undercut the big box stores for long, so avoid price wars and instead focus on offering high quality, niche products that can’t be found anywhere else.

Taking on projects that are outside of your scope of practice. Many women feel the need to please others, especially their clients. Female entrepreneurs have the additional pressure of having to produce a certain volume of sales. In some cases, this can lead to taking on projects that aren’t quite right for you. This means that you will be putting a lot of time and energy into something that isn’t your specialty. It can also lead to lower quality work which only degrades your brand. Taking on projects that are not right for you is a temporary solution, but one that often leads to even more problems.

Doing it all alone. Until you start a business, you likely have no idea of how many different roles you will be required to take on. Often, a sole proprietor starting out will be their own logo designer, accountant, and salesclerk—even all three in the same five-minute interval. However, this sells your brand short in a variety of ways. First, you will not have time for the quality interactions with customers that will build your business. Second, because no one can be an expert in every subject, you will likely perform many of your duties in a shoddy manner. Unless you are going for an amateur, unprofessional brand, this will not help you at all.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & Creative Director of Logo Design Works. Since 1998, Mash has helped thousands of businesses express their brand messages through creative and award winning logo designs.