Branding Your Business Successfully
If you’re an artisan, a baker, creator or maker, I’m sure that you already know what you want to sell. Even if you think your product is ready, you need to be able to have a flexible mindset in order to polish and sell you product well. This often involves letting go a little bit. When we work closely with anything creative, it becomes a part of us. There’s a bond that’s created, a degree of attachment. Even if it’s a loaf of bread, it’s not just any old loaf of bread. It’s special because you made it by hand. You used your own skills, intuition and feeling and created something beautiful. By selling it, you’re going to be letting go of the process and the product (see our last blog post). You’re going to be letting customers into your world.
Think outside of the bubble
A good place to start developing a business mindset is to start thinking outside of the bubble. The bubble is where you exist alone with your product. As soon as a customer enters the picture, you’re no longer creating or designing in a bubble. You’re creating for the customer. The customer becomes really important. The customer is key: if you fail to please your customers, you’ll fail to sell your products.
Define your buyers
Think of the target market that you have roughly in mind: the hippie girl that’s going to come to the market looking for festival wear. She’s 20 - 30 years old, lives in Obs and works at a local farming community outreach. She’s also a vegetarian who would never wear anything made from animal products.
Next, try to get into her head and create a profile for her and others that will be shopping at this particular market. Compare this to where your target market would hang out with friends or like to shop (maybe you’ll have more success in Observatory than Constantia?). Your product must match the market or fair that you choose to sell at.
Think about your target market and personas again. Think about how much they earn and want to spend. At the same time, consider your products and pricing options. Do they match up? If you’re not sure, interview people that you know who might fit into this target market.
Question your products
You’ve probably decided on a product before you defined your target buyers. Now it’s time to take a look at your products again. Answering these questions can help you to find your USP (Unique Selling Proposition):
- Are your products interesting to the buyers that you profiled?
- Do you offer something better or different to what your competitors are selling?
- How do your products really add value?
- Are your products too basic and do they need to target a smaller group of customers?
Find a niche
If you’re selling baked goods, why not find a niche. If you’re vegan, narrow down your market by selling delicious vegan products that can’t be found anywhere else. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel here; you could just put a spin on a simple product. You could just be taking something simple and just making it better than everyone else. Make funky hair-ties and sell them with awesome branding and labels so that they stand out from other hair products and are recognisable on their own. Specifics can make your USP more poignant, your product more interesting and your buyers more loyal.
Start planning ahead
By now you should have an accurate idea of who you’ll be selling your products to. You know that your target customers will be able to find and afford your products. This means that you can start making more detailed plans. If you need to change your product or update your branding, at least you know what direction to go in before you start building up stock. In our next blog post we will be looking at how to choose the right market or fair to sell your goods at.