Register the URL at GoDaddy — $10
A really groovy WordPress theme — maybe $29
Get someone on Fiverr to design you a pretty cool logo — $5ish?
Register for a business license — $20?
Congratulations, you now own a business for less than $100. And that is a problem.
Starting a Business is Too Easy
For $100, you can be in business. For pennies, you can run a Pay Per Click campaign. For dollars, you can run a surprisingly targeted Facebook campaign.
And, for no money whatsoever, you can begin to celebrate your goods or services on Instagram, and start building a following around your brand.
And none of this means you have an actual business.
A Brand is Not a Company
We’ve all thought long and hard about what type of logo would look cool on our new signs or business cards, but how many of us have spent the necessary time with our expense statements trying to become more efficient?
I think the answer is pretty obvious.
“Innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped.”–– Dan Gilbert, Owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers
Somewhere along the line, we began to mistake having a brand for owning a business.
From the micro-brews to the local ‘farm to table’ restaurant scene to the ‘makers’ movement, the desire to have our own custom brand has exploded –– especially when compared to the desire to build the business fundamentals of accounting, integrated technology, and predictable delivery.
To quote Dan Gilbert (owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers) –– “Innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped.”
So What is ‘Brand’?
A brand is simply an implied promise.
The logo you select, the slogan you put forth, the copy you write, and the website you design are all setting an expectation in the mind of the public that you can deliver an experience that meets or exceeds the one in their minds. And, when your brand sets an expectation that your business cannot deliver, you are committing the ultimate sin — the broken promise.
Don’t believe me? Spend some time on Yelp.
Build the Experience First
I get it, thinking about a cool brand is far more fun, but delivering a powerful and valuable experience is far more important.
So, when the idea of your own individual brand starts to feel like the next step, stop and think about your ability to deliver. If your experience is not your best asset, then maybe you are focused on the wrong aspect of your business.