We’ve all heard of successful stories of small ideas turning into successful business. However, getting there might be easier said than done. It takes time, patience and a lot of strategic thinking. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that new business owners are faced with many challenges along the way including: brand identity, USPs, and of course how to create the business plan. It’s really the brand identity that challenges a lot of business so we’ve included an infographic. First off we need to turn the idea into a businesses and create a business plan.
Create A Business From An Idea
Every business starts with an idea. Turning idea into action is the next step. If you are a passionate entrepreneur, you already have the drive needed for success. However not everyone is a true entrepreneur – they are a particular personality type called a ‘creator’. There are many different personality types all suited for various roles within a business including the ‘protector’ and ‘teacher’ but usually it’s the creator who can turn an idea into a business. What’s interesting though is the creator type doesn’t rely on their own ideas as other people happily bring the ideas to them. These people have the idea but lack the risk profile and confidence to turn the idea into a business. Getting a slice of the action when the business succeeds is the pay off for bringing the idea to a creator.
However, there are other key ingredients for starting and growing a business from the ground up. Once the analysis and testing has confirmed there’s money to be made from the idea the next step is strategising how it can take shape and forecast it’s success via growth into different markets. This is documented into a well-developed business plan.
You might ask yourself what should this plan consist of? A comprehensive business plan consists of key components all needed to get the business off the ground and moving upwards and it should include: goals, objectives, strategy, sales and marketing, and a financial plan. It’s challenging to get all the information accurate so make a start on it and continually hone it over the lifetime of the business.
When entrepreneurs are trying to turn their idea into action, they can be faced with information overload. That’s one of the most common things which makes them give up on their ideas. The best advice is to break down every big goal to a smaller one. Don’t forget to be reasonable when setting your goals. The more factual, reasonable and precise your goals are, the easier is to reach them. Seek help too from the other personality types who love creating the boundaries and documentation.
Another important aspect of the business is continuous is market research. Research will give you insights about the marketplace as it evolves. You should know who your competitors are, and how they established their business in the industry. With marketplaces being more fierce than ever today, you should always have in mind your unique value proposition as known as unique selling proposition.
To develop the USP and articulate it verbally and in offline and online marketing and product collateral use the 5Ws to formulate questions that once answered provide the USP. Questions about your product or service pros and cons, competitor similarities and differences, target market, demographic audience, and more will provide structure and confidence so investment in your business is obtainable.
Every business needs working capital and while start up businesses can get off the ground with minimal funds, they hit the wall when funds dry up. Growth and marketshare require ongoing investment from banks, and investors. Once you’ve got all this sorted out there’s the brand identity to work on as it is the way you want your product or service to be perceived in the marketplace.
Brand Identity Elements
There are several elements of brand identity which you should pay special attention to. Besides the logo (which is very important in the digital age), you should think about the packaging, uniforms and business cards. It doesn’t stop here 🙂 There is also the marketing collateral too. Consistently of visual and verbal communication is vital. In today’s crowded marketplace, it really is ‘who shouts the loudest gets heard’, metaphorically speaking of course.
Bringing in a brand design expert to lead the campaign or project will inject another level of professionalism. This person or team will advise on colors, shapes and fonts combinations, and use their intellectual capital from all their experience in the business of designing brands for businesses in similar sectors and niches. The best combination of these elements depends on the industry your business is in, as well. So working in collaboration is vital, as opposed to outsourcing the lot and relying on the external team to get it right.
Here’s an example of what colours relate to or perceived to represent:
Green is usually used for natural products, Pink is popular in cosmetic industry, whereas in food industry colors used in product packaging should denote product flavor, when applicable.
Investing in your brand identity is sure to pay off. A professional and well established brand identity creates recognition among
consumers and this is exactly what you’ll need for your products or services.
Marketing is more effective when the product is recognised for the right reasons. By incorporating your core values into your brand identity, too the easier it becomes to establish the reputation you desire as well as secure new customers and build loyalty to your brand. The message you want to communicate to your target audience should be consistent throughout all channels offline and online. Since nowadays everyone is online, even your local plumber!
Creating brand identity might seem as a complicated process. However, there are some rules, and tips which can help you out in branding your business. The infographic below will guide you through the key elements of brand identity, and how to create them properly.
Eric Dalius On the Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
With a society highly saturated in marketing content and audiences with decreasing attention spans, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to stand out from the crowd, especially when these businesses do not have the resources to compete with Fortune 500 empires.
For smaller businesses who do not have endless marketing resources, every dollar counts and needs to provide maximum ROI. Marketing professional and entrepreneur Eric Dalius shares his insight on the best marketing strategies small businesses can use to maximize their investment.
The Importance of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, in which your business brings customers directly to you instead of reaching out via ads and cold outreach.
It consists of creating high-quality content that serves the following purposes:
- Gain the trust of your prospects
- Display your knowledge in your industry
- Improve your search engine optimization by making your website a useful, educational online destination
What is considered high-quality content? Dalius suggests following these guidelines for any content your business outputs:
- Unique and from your business’ unique point of view
- In-depth, educational, and actionable
- Solves a pain point for your prospects
- Optimized for the web (well-formatted
What types of content gets the most attention?
- Blog posts
- Video tutorials
- Live videos on social media
- Case studies
- White papers
Have a Powerful Social Media Presence
Social media platforms are still growing every month. Facebook alone has approximately one billion active users – Instagram has over 100 million monthly users. It is the perfect tool to reach a larger audience and use both organic and paid content to gain more customers.
However, do not make the mistake of spreading yourself too thin. With limited resources, Eric Dalius states that small businesses are better off concentrating on just a few social media platforms.
The key is in choosing the right platform for your target audience and the type of product or service your business provides.
For instance, many Pinterest users go to this platform when making a purchasing decision – this network tends to be popular for households with over 100k of yearly revenue. On the other hand, Instagram is the go-to platform for millennials and younger individuals.
Social Media Tips
- Optimize your profile to get your branding on point
- Post on a regular, consistent schedule so people expect your posts
- Encourage engagement from your audience by having a call to action with every post
Use Effective Paid Content Strategies
Online advertising through Google, Facebook, and Instagram can be very effective to grow brand awareness and generate more leads, but this strategy can be a hit and miss.
Instead of setting up a promotional campaign and forgetting about it, Eric Dalius instead advises you to target your ads to a very specific group of people. This way, every single dollar you are paying towards this ad is getting used adequately to promote brand awareness to an audience that has potential interest in your business.
Additionally, you’ll want to retarget your ads. What does this mean? If a prospect visits your website, do not show them the same ads as someone who knows nothing about your business. Furthermore, if a customer clicks away before making a purchase on your online website, use this data to retarget the appropriate ad to them.
Wrapping it Up
By having a strong online presence that essentially provides value to your audience, you will gain the respect and loyalty of your prospects. In time, Eric Dalius states that these loyal prospects will provide you the best return on investment for your small business.
How to use interactive marketing to win business
Digital marketing is always evolving and as a marketer your role for your clients is to use a mix of proven and innovative strategies. Clients insist on a more targeted approach. Long gone are the days of a splatter gun approach where throwing whatever you have at the wall, will work when just some of it sticks.
Users demand more than just the generic email or banner. Marketing campaigns, like email marketing, and remarketing now need to be highly targeted to the enduser. Your clients need customer data to achieve a more personalised interaction so Interactive Content Marketing has key role to play.
Interactive Content Marketing Explained
ICM or Interactive Content Marketing improves engagement and keeps users involved for longer. When they remain active and enjoy the interaction through fun, knowledge sharing or education studies show more repeat business and new customers are created through the fostering of stronger long term relationships.
Brand loyalty, and advocacy are also positive outcomes from an interactive content marketing strategy.
Types of Interactive Content
There are many types of ICM including video with quizzes. Video is a huge step up from articles but they work exceptionally well within content.
Educational or explainer videos are engaging and keep the user online for longer. Now add a quiz during or at the end of the video and you have an interactive marketing campaign.
Contests, games are also types of ICM that are ‘sticky’, enticing the user to have fun, participate and also provide their customer data that can be used in the usual digital marketing strategies like email marketing and Remarketing.
There’s no doubting the innovativeness of ICM and how needs to be utilised by the marketer to get a better outcome for clients.
Customer data is gold and it can be used in a myriad of marketing campaigns now and later on. There’s no telling what strategies will be available in the future using smartphone apps and automated marketing software. What we do know is customer data will be a prerequisite and ICM is a workable way to acquire it from online visitors.
Research Survey Aims to Demystify M&A Advisory Fees
Every day, businesses are bought and sold with advice and guidance from investment banks who specialize in merger and acquisition transactions. The majority of these businesses fall into the middle market with revenues of between $5 million to $500 million. Investment banks that focus on the middle market go out and find qualified buyers and negotiate the deal, including the lengthy due diligence process that is required before a deal can close.
For their services, expertise, and seller contacts, these M&A advisory firms earn a handsome fee, which is often tied to the success of the deal. Scaled percentage ‘success fees’ align the investment banker’s interests with those of the client that is selling the business: If the advisor is able to negotiate a higher total deal value for the sale of the business, they will be rewarded with a higher success fee. How these success fees are structured, the terms, and timeline for when fees are paid out can have a big impact on the financial outcome of an M&A transaction.
Choosing an M&A advisor is one of the most important financial decisions a business owner will ever make. Understanding how M&A advisory fees work, the different ways they can be structured, and how fees vary between different advisory firms is critically important when engaging with an investment bank.
Addressing a Need for Greater Fee Transparency
Up until quite recently, reliable data and industry benchmarks on M&A advisory fees have been surprisingly hard to track down. The lack of information on M&A fees can sometimes cause tensions between sellers and advisors when negotiating fees. Business owners who want to sell their company want to pay reasonable fees for expert advice, but without publicly available, credible information on M&A fee structures and terms, how can they make educated decisions about what is being charged and why?
In an effort to obtain a broad geographic perspective and greater transparency into M&A fees worldwide, Firmex has partnered with middle market M&A education site Divestopedia for the third consecutive year to launch its 2018 survey of M&A advisory fees. They are currently seeking responses from professionals that work in the investment banking and M&A industry across the globe.
The survey results will appear in the 2018-19 M&A Fee Guide published later this year. This comprehensive report provides insights into average M&A fees by region and major city, deal flow and minimum transaction value, success fee structures & fee percentage by deal size, and the forms of purchase price included in success fee calculation. While a number of M&A firms have accumulated internal data on fee structures and ranges, this annual report is the first of its kind to provide a comparative view among many firms across the M&A middle market globally.
Take the Survey, Get a Copy of the Report
If you’re involved in mid-market M&A transactions, please take a few minutes to complete the short online survey: https://www.firmex.com/2018-19-fee-survey/.
All survey participants who share their insights will receive a complimentary copy of the research report as soon as it is published.
A Deeper Well of Understanding
Lack of transparency makes it hard for business owners to determine whether the fees they are being asked to pay when hiring an investment banker are fair and appropriate. It also makes it hard for M&A professionals to explain and justify their fees to potential clients without supporting evidence.
For M&A professionals, sharing the report with prospective clients can provide supporting evidence for the fees and structure that are being proposed. It also helps advisory firms ensure that the fees they are charging are in step with over investment banks in a commoditized market, and are in line with the expectations of their clients. For business owners, this report offers an invaluable tool in negotiating fees and terms for investment banking engagements.
Last year, over 470 investment bankers shared their insights for the annual report. One of the key findings in the 2017 M&A Fee Guide was that success fees for M&A transactions of the same size vary significantly across regions and major city centers. Given these differences, M&A advisors and business owners can’t rely solely on national averages when evaluating fees.
Firmex and Divestopedia have now been collecting data on M&A fees for several years, which means they have a wealth of data to identify market trends, such as whether average fees for merger and acquisition transactions have increased, decreased or stayed the same.
The survey is open through to September and the 2018-18 M&A Fee Guide will be published in fall 2018.
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