On October 17, 2013
From newborn business owners, to seasoned sellers on platforms such as Etsy or Artfire, I hear it many times: “I don’t have the money to build a website.” But if you already pay for internet access, have a computer and product, then you have all you need to build a starter site for your business. Whether there is experience with web design or a complete unfamiliarity with HTML, if there is a thoughtful understanding of the customer, their needs and opinions, any website can be a success for you and your business.
But building a business is about more than the website and here is what you need: Branding, platform and content.
Branding, to simplify, is a sort of all-inclusive, customer-oriented package of materials and promises which represent your business, your product and services. Though a recognizable name, logo and consistently-designed presence lays the groundwork for a successfully branded business, it is also important to define the mission statement of your business and understand the projected customer before branding can carry you further. The thing to remember is that you cannot be all things to all customers, so take time to discover and nurture your niche and market that skill or product to the right audience.
Once you’ve established your brand with a clear philosophy and identity, making yourself, skill or product available to the customer is absolutely necessary for furthering a successful business. Though choosing a platform is part of the all-inclusive branding model, I felt it was important to discuss on its own, since this seems to be the point at which many small business owners (or hopeful business owners) stop and say “Woah, now. I just invested a lot of money in my product and packaging. I have nothing else to give”. But choosing a platform doesn’t have to cost a dime… or many dimes, at least.
Content is probably the most straight-forward of all the business-building elements, requires the most time, dedication and thought, but is often the most over-looked. Though directly related to branding and platforms, content is the one element which supercede them all. Without good content, your business will fail to produce the results you need for continued growth and success. Your product, interaction with customers, and the information your business, website or brand provides to the general public is what defines your business model. So focus on content first and numbers last.
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