Congratulations! After numerous sleepless nights and deliberation, you finally decided to start your own business. You looked into the key startup essentials that everyone told you to: finance, marketing, regulations, market analysis etc.
However, there are probably a few key things that flew underneath your radar. These key startup essentials will come in handy one you find stable ground in the startup world and begin to scale. Here’s a quick refresher on some key basics you don’t want to miss.
Secure your website host with a custom domain.
You might think that spending money on a website hosting plan, and a custom domain name is not worth it or that a cheap web host is the way to go.
However, think of it this way. You need a reliable host to make your website accessible on the world wide web alongside a domain name that tells online users where to find you.
These days there are affordable website hosting solutions that can run from $10 to $100 and upwards based on your server needs. Meanwhile, a custom domain is a simple, affordable way to show that you take your business seriously, and present your brand online in a professional manner.
Best of all, you’ll only pay annually for your domain registration and renewal which ends up being less than $20 per year. At a minimum you could pay $120 for the whole year, which is approximately $10 a month. That is $0.33 a day.
Over 90% of people using Internet have contacted a business or were informed of the business through their website (Big Mouth Marketing, 2015). Every business should have a live company website since it will be always accessible for your potential audience, even when you are not. When you think about it, 33 cents a day is a very affordable investment considering the potential customers that you can reach just by having a home online.
Build your startup brand with the basics.
Now that you have a website, website hosting plan and a custom domain, consider extra tools that will visually appeal to your audience. This is where a brand kit comes in handy.
Over 90% of information are processed in a visual manner (Hubspot, 2015), and brand kit will help to ensure that your audience processes more information about your brand in an easily digestible way. Also, key visual elements of your brand will ensure there is consistency between information you present online and offline.
Here are the basic elements that should be included in your brand kit:
Website: Select a web host and a custom domain for your website.
Logo: It will be the first thing your audience will remember whenever they think of your brand; make it simple and appealing.
Business Cards: Create a modern, clean and memorable design for your business cards. Keep the raw files on hand; it will come in handy if you ever need to reprint your business cards or recreate a card for new hires.
Promotional Materials: Create flyers, brochures and promotional items that you will need for your sales and marketing efforts that can be used on-site, at trade shows, for new customers, etc. Make sure that your visual representation of the brand doesn’t vary; be as cohesive as possible.
Brand Guidelines: Brand guidelines are all about the rules that you want to follow internally and for external partners to ensure quality (especially if you have various distribution channels for your products and services). It’s a smart way to tell others how to “respect the brand”. Twitter’s brand guidelines and LinkedIn’s brand guidelines offer good examples of what to include.
Color Codes: Decipher a list of brand colors to be used on your website, logo and promotional materials. For example, “It has even been suggested in Color Research & Application that it is of paramount importance for new brands to specifically target logo colors that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors (if the competition all uses blue, you’ll stand out by using purple).”
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This article has been edited and condensed.
Clair Daeun Kim is the co-founder of JCS Creative, an agency that helps organizations with aspects relating to graphic design and communications. She enjoys a very multi-faceted career as a singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and also as a graphic designer. Connect with @creative_jcs and @whalie012 on Twitter.
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