How to Start a Business Onlion

Electronic Business, commonly referred to as "eBusiness" or "e-Business", may be defined as the utilisation of information and communication.

Many who are starting out in business, or just beginning to do business for themselves, labor under a misconception that 'branding' is something you do after you start becoming successful. We are all so used to hearing the term 'brand' referring to a large conglomerate or supermarket chain or vacuum cleaner that we tend to allow the idea to remain associated with size and success and not with us and our first, small steps in the business world. It's a misconception because branding doesn't only refer to big brands, it is a term and a set of concepts which equally refers to small businesses, one person businesses and individual people. From big brands to small, from corporate brands to personal branding - it's the brand that's the key. Who you are, what you stand for, and how that information is communicated to others, as a total identity, is your brand.

The core concept of 'branding' is the idea of managing expectations. This is done by developing a set of qualities or characteristics which, together, form the personality of a 'brand', much like a fiction writer would create a set of qualities to describe each of the characters in his story. These qualities are known as the 'brand DNA' and, figuratively speaking, they together represent the blueprint of the brand; much like DNA establishes the unique characteristics of an organism. Establishing this set of qualities in the minds of customers and managing their expectation s to associate these qualities with the companies products and services is what is known as 'branding' - like a hot iron on cow hide.

It is an irony that many small business owners and sole traders believe that branding is only for the large corporations. The essence of these 'big brands' is that core brand DNA which represents the brand qualities and characteristics. The task this DNA sets out to achieve is to give the brand a 'personality'. I used the analogy of a fiction writer developing characters to explain this concept and it wasn't an accidental association - in an international marketplace and world village environment where businesses get bigger and bigger so they aren't overwhelmed by their competition they become less and less human to the individual customer. The exercise of 'branding' has evolved within this precise environment in order to inject some sense of humanity back into these big faceless companies. Branding takes human qualities and attributes and associates them with logos, products and services to appeal to the instinct of the individual customer. In this act, Big business shows that it recognizes the value of 'personality' - as a small business person or sole trader this is something you have far greater access to and control over and can be a powerful tool in gaining business and building your network.

If you have a business of any kind then it is your values, your character and personality, your qualities which are evident in your business. You may have a logo and advertising, you may have a website and never speak directly to any of your customers - but whatever you do is an extension of you as a person; your tastes and opinions, your ethics and attitudes all affect the sort of business you build, the way you do business, and the effect you have on your customers. This 'effect' is your brand. Whether you contrive this effect through a strategy or whether it is created unconsciously through your everyday habits and activities doesn't really matter from the point of view of your business, since whatever your customers experience of your business, that is what they will expect from you next time - good or bad.

So even on a very basic level it is an extremely good idea to sit down and develop an idea of you as a brand; of your business as a brand. In the world, as it is now, we are each becoming more and more conditioned to associate the image of a person or thing with an expectation of its qualities. Either you can manage those expectations or else you can allow others to form their own. On a day to day, or personal, level this is acceptable; with less at stake people are more accepting of contradictions and quirks. But as soon as you begin a business you are dealing with an entirely different mind set and, unless you set out the specific unique attributes of you and, hence, your business, it is likely you will be an 'also ran' in the minds of your customers, potential and existing. Define your business and communicate that - don't let others define it for you.


faisal said...

Great Information.

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Abelis Landaeta said...

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