In a perfect world, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the budget for your next big business venture is unlimited. The reality though? We all have limits imposed on us. And that is especially true when it comes to starting a business. The budget is rarely what we want it to be. Certain things inevitably get trimmed down or cut entirely. And all too often, the thing we see getting cut is one of the most important things to the success of the business: the brand.
Brands, Babies, and Bathwater
We’ve all heard the expression, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” right? Do you know where it comes from? Records date it back to Germany in the 16th century. Clean water was not as readily available as it is now, so people would bathe infrequently. And when they did, the whole family would use the same tub of water to wash up (omg, imagine).
Here’s how it went. You would usually start with the oldest member (mom or dad) and work your way through the family line-up until—you guessed it—the baby gets a turn. By the time they got to the baby, that water was dirty, cloudy, and disgusting. The phrase was a reminder: don't throw out something good while throwing out something bad. (I love plumbing, don’t you?)
Okay, analogy breakdown time. The bathwater? That’s the budget for your company. And the baby? That’s your brand. Before you spend all your budget, make sure you have everything accounted for (in this case, your brand).
The Same Ol’ Story
As a seasoned creative agency, we’ve met our share of clients who have tossed the proverbial baby (their brand) out with the bathwater (their budget).
The story is familiar. They spend the lion’s share of their budget on other business expenses, like hiring staff, buying equipment, renting commercial space, construction, etc. All important things, to be sure! But by the time they got to the public-facing elements (their brand), they’d be left with just the dregs of a budget.
The common result? A logo or brand that is either unfinished, lacks polish or depth, or forgotten about entirely. Not a good look—especially if you’re a new company looking to make a good first impression.
So Fresh and So Clean!
The ironic thing is that in the grand scheme of things, a professional brand for your business is rarely the budget burner! The problem usually lies with planning. For many SBOs, the brand is far down the list of priorities. And that’s not a bad thing; investing the most time and money into the business’s core product or service is completely understandable. You want to put your best foot forward when it comes to delivering your offering to your customers.
But that’s assuming you have customers. (Ouch, get some ice for that burn.) Seriously, though. If you want your business to succeed, getting noticed by people is essential to turning them into customers. And if you can’t properly communicate with those people (which is done through your brand before anything else!), then your efforts may not yield the fruit you’re expecting.
The tl;dr of it is this. If you want to invest your business dollars wisely, don’t forget to include branding in the budget. In fact, the sooner you include it in the budget, the farther those dollars will go.
Anyone can design a logo or build a website these days. But branding your business is its own animal, and you don’t have to do it alone. Find yourself an agency that is willing to come alongside you and understand what you are trying to do with your business. Cutting ribbon in a year or two? Find someone to work with now. Don’t wait until you have $500 left just two weeks before opening (we won’t name names).