How Branding And Design Can Increase Your Customer Confidence And Sales

This is a guest post from Graphic Rhythm Designs

For succeeding as a business, it’s essential to deliver high-quality service and products that add value to the lives of your customers. But in a competitive marketplace that’s not sufficient.

You got to create a positive association with your name and stand out in the mind of your customers. You need to carefully construct your brand image and communicate that through your design.

If you look around, there are numerous examples of corporations that convey their personality through their branding.

●     Apple is forward-thinking and synonymous with luxury. They are also known for innovative design.

●     Gary Vaynerchuk is the poster boy for hustle. You can read how his blog design conveys his high-octane and energetic style.

Indeed branding and design are great differentiators for small businesses as well. Let me show you a few ways how you can leverage them for increasing your bottom line.

Consistency Breeds Trust

Do you have a favorite restaurant in your locality where you always love hanging out?

My first choice is a Starbucks right across the street. I love the Vanilla flavored Cappuccino on their menu. It always has the right amount of milk and coffee. It tastes the same. Humans love familiarity, and if you deliver consistent experiences to them, they will start recognizing you.

You can create branding guidelines to facilitate consistency across all your touchpoints. Typically, it consists of defining your audience and the unique differentiators that distinguish you from your competitors. You can also list the values that you want your brand to be known for.

A critical aspect that nonverbally communicates your brand attributes is your design. Your color scheme, logo, fonts, and overall visual appearance should blend with your core brand message.

For instance, Joco creates eco-innovative, reusable drinking vessels. Their branding assets, for example, their website design is minimalistic and predominantly brown in color that conveys their value proposition aptly.

Your brand assets, including infographics, lead magnets, and social media creatives all need to follow the brand color palette. If graphics are not your cup of tea, then you can outsource it to our team of experts. We’ll deliver stellar customized designs for you at affordable prices.

Once you earn credibility with consistency, you’ll start getting preferred by your customers over your competitors. However, to ensure they always buy from you, you need to keep growing…

Pro Tip: Check out the branding guidelines of a few brands here for inspiration: Medium, Skype, Spotify, Cisco, and Netflix. They discuss the usage of logo, font, and the other aspects we’ve touched above.

Let Your Brand Evolve As You Grow

Winning the confidence of your customers is crucial for the long-term success of your business. It starts with keeping your promises to reinforce trust in your products. However, in a competitive marketplace, you need to stay relevant with your messaging, design, offerings, and overall branding.

Your brand is not a static entity. It should evolve strategically as your business model changes else it will lose meaning. You need to communicate your growth and keep generating new attention in the marketplace. For instance, in 2007, Apple dropped the “computer” from its name to reflect its foray into consumer electronics.

You can represent evolution with something as simple as updating your logo. Remember how Google updated its logo in 2015? However, you can also perform a full-fledged website redesign and overhaul your visual appearance.

As you continuously evolve, always remember the cornerstone of successful businesses, which we will talk about in the next section.

Pro Tip: If you rebrand as you grow, it’s important to consider the connotations of your branding elements in different cultures.

ConvertKit, an email marketing software, decided to rebrand under the name “Seva.” However it faced a huge backlash and had to undo their rebranding although it had cost them upwards of half a million dollars. Read their founder’s interview on the same.

Customer Loyalty Is Key

Finding new customers is always going to cost you more than retaining your existing ones. Author Kevin Kelly devised a theory that states that 1000 true fans are sufficient for a creative entrepreneur to make a comfortable living for themselves.

For cultivating long-term relationships that bring repeat business, a strong brand and consistent experience is a great start. However, you also need to ensure stellar customer service. So regularly request feedback from your customers and keep them in the loop about the latest updates from your business.

For example, Kevin-Indig (an SEO expert that runs a curated email newsletter) sent an NPS survey to his subscribers. And he flaunted the results.

Besides soliciting feedback from customers, you also need to meet their needs quickly. If you have the budget, then hiring staff to resolve customer issues is ideal. Else, you can also create resources for guiding your customers.

You can take your customers behind the scenes by creating an “About our team” section. It put faces and personality on the people that run your business. Here’s how Digital Marmalade do it to make their brand accessible.

Similarly, you can also create an interactive FAQ page or a help center by integrating custom illustrations. You can facilitate information retention by splashing these boring pages with some personality. It keeps your branding on point and takes care of most common concerns of your customers.

McDonalds Canada allows you to perform an interactive search on their FAQ page. You can type keywords and see related questions pop up.

Final Thoughts

If you evoke positive feelings in your customers every time they interact with your business, then they will want to come back to you. Your branding guidelines, logo, color palette, values, design, and overall personality have significant roles to play in this.

Now it’s your turn to create a memorable brand identity that your customers can connect with and consider buying from you.

Have you got any other branding and design strategies to increase your customer confidence and sales? Let me know in the comments below.

How to Value Your Time as an Entrepreneur

This is a guest post from Graphic Rhythm Designs

Why did you start your venture?

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, then it was one of the following reasons:

  • You wanted freedom from your routine,
  • You were passionate about an idea and wanted to bring it to life,
  • You desired to make more money than you do at your day job.

Irrespective of the source of your motivation, a vital issue for most small business owners is the scarcity of time. Work hours stretch into midnight and weekends as well as vacations.

For quicker business growth, you need to let go of working like an employee. Here’s what I’m talking about –

Why You Need Work On Your Business And Not In It…

Most small business owners act as the sole fireman that’s available at the beck and call during a business crisis. They are the first ones to enter the office and the last to leave because they want to lead by example. Work keeps piling up every day, and new “urgent” tasks keep surfacing on their plate.

Well if you’re stuck in such a scenario, then you’re a classic example of working in your business. But there’s a way to free your time and create space for your growth.

Instead of micromanaging and spending time with every task, you need to find out your strengths and delegate the other responsibilities. Also, give your employees the authority to make certain kinds of decisions by themselves.

Thanks to the boom of the freelance economy, you don’t even need to onboard a permanent workforce. You can hire contractors for taking care of one-off business tasks like copywriting, editing, website development, and graphic design (we can do custom designs at affordable prices for you!)

For doing the same, the first step is analyzing your market value. Let’s look at how to do the same:

Calculate Your Hourly Rate!

Most small business owners either pay themselves very little or not at all. It’s unfair because as a hard-working entrepreneur, you owe yourself a reasonable compensation.

After you deduct expenses for smoothly running your business and paying your employees, do you still have cash in the bank? If it’s a healthy amount, it means that your business is decently profitable. And depending on your business goals, you can pay yourself from this leftover cash.

Assuming that your business is in great shape financially, what would be a fair wage that you would pay yourself? A study by American Express OPEN found that the average salary for small business owners stands at $68,000 per year. However, I recommend you to refer the detailed guide by Fundera here to determine how much you can take home.

Now, how can you arrive at your hourly rate?

Step 1: Divide your annual salary by twelve (for 12 months) to arrive at your monthly wage.

Step 2: Suppose you decided to pay yourself a salary of $72,000, then monthly it comes down to $6,000.

Step 3: Considering that you work 40 hours every week and four weeks in a month, you work 160 hours in a month. So divide your monthly salary by 160 to arrive at your hourly rate.

For example: If your salary stands at $6k/month, then you earn $6000/160 every hour, which comes down to $37.5/hour.

Pro Tip: As a small business owner, you might actually put time outside 40 hours on your job. To calculate a more precise hourly rate, you also need to take the following hours into account:

  • Your commute,
  • The occasional legal and administrative tasks you perform,
  • The non-work hours outside your workplace that you technically spend working (like checking your email on your Smartphone at home).

Outsource These Two Kinds Of Tasks

In a conversation at The Economic Club Of Washington, Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) said that his only job is to “make three good decisions a day.” You watch the full interview below:

Isn’t he right?

If you want to grow your business, then spending time on your business strategy and decision-making is essential. You need to create space and time in your day for the same.

A few other important tasks you need to spend time with include networking, generating leads, hiring and managing employees, and the like. These activities might not directly generate revenue but build your competitive advantage.

Specifically, there are two kinds of tasks that you can consider outsourcing. Let’s look at both of them:

  1. High-Value, High-Skill Roles: Keeping accounts of your business, software development, Graphic Design, Copywriting and banking requires specialized knowledge and skills. They are risky to keep for yourself. It’s best if you hire specialists that can quickly complete these high-value tasks for you. Here are a few service providers that you can use:

  1. High Value, Low Skill: Similar to the first group, tasks like data entry, posting on social media, email management etc. are tasks that need to be done, but don’t need to be done by you. Outsourcing this type of work is very affordable and easy

You can get virtual assistants onboard at onlinejobs.ph for getting the above kinds of tasks done. A few other contracting websites include Fiverr, Upwork, Craigslist, and People Per Hour.

While outsourcing in both of the above cases, always consider your hourly rate. If you pay someone else less than you pay yourself, then hiring external help makes sense. It allows you time to focus on high-value tasks.

Final Thoughts

Most small business owners are uncomfortable with the idea of outsourcing because of the additional cost. They keep warming their desks and trying to take care of every business task by overworking.

However, it’s unhealthy and leads to burn out. For the long-term success of your business, you need to work both smart and hard. You need to streamline your workdays and free your time from low-value tasks.

I have shared how to calculate your hourly rate with examples of specific tasks that you can consider outsourcing. (And I look forward to hearing your graphic design requirements).

What are the tasks you have experimented with outsourcing? Let me know in the comments below.

Amazon Seller Bookkeeping Book is Now Live on Kindle!

After hitting just over 100 Amazon seller clients I felt like we were pretty well qualified to write a book on how to do bookkeeping for Amazon sellers! We have mostly FBA private label sellers, but also a good mix of wholesale, retail arbitrage and multi-channel sellers we work with.

Very few other accounting firms seem to have much experience with this, and some people want to do it themselves, or at least understand it well enough on their own even if they aren’t doing it that a book seemed like a good idea.

It took a long time to write, and I had to redo many of the original screenshots when QuickBooks changed all their menus, but it finally got done!

If after reading it, there are suggestions for improvements, additional pointers or any other feedback, I’d be happy to hear it! I hope it helps people out who are looking for Amazon bookkeeping. And if you’d rather not tackle it yourself, I’d be happy to help with that as well! 🙂

ET52- How to Achieve Big Goals with Finish Line Thinking

Success Coach And Performance Expert Nicky Billou

plan writingYou can’t win the race if you don’t know where the finish line is or the hurdles you have to clear to get there! Performance expert Nicky Billou shares some of his tips for getting the most out of everything you do and how to work on setting goals, outperforming your expectations and reaching real milestones in business and in life.

If you want more- more growth, more sales, more profits or just more wins in life, Nicky has the plan to get there. It was a great conversation with some real practical tips for achieving success that anyone can put into place immediately. Continue reading

ET51- How to Scale Fast the Right Way with Vinnie Fisher

Hiring The Right Team And Building For Growth Is Key

plan writingAs a true serial entrepreneur and an “entrepreneur facilitator” Vinnie Fisher knows how to grow big companies from the ground up and how to pick the right people along the way. He is an advocate of outsourcing the things that aren’t core to your business, hiring for alignment of values rather than for skills and letting the team build the processes the business needs to succeed.

Successful leaders know how to get the right people in the right place and then get out of the way. The ones that struggle are the ones who won’t delegate and have to micromanage everything. It was an interesting lesson in fast growth and scaling who has the track record to back up everything he is espousing on the show! Continue reading

ET50- Finding Your Voice and Your Brand

And Flipping The Gratitude Switch With Kevin Clayson

plan writingThere is no shortage of competition in the small business world and being able to stand out is a constant challenge. If you are a small business selling something that many others in your area also sell the challenge can be compounded that much further.

In today’s podcast I chat with Kevin who digs in deep on how to break out of the mold and find your own voice. He also talks about how to flip the gratitude switch, the subject of his new book. This is a new way of dealing with employees, customers, vendors and even friends and family that will vastly improve your interactions and the way they in turn react and treat you back. Powerful stuff from an experienced entrepreneur! Continue reading

ET49- Creating an Ecommerce Business from a Food Hobby

How a Homemade Gift Turned Into an Online Business Empire!

plan writingI learned a lot in this episode, including how bad commercial salt is for you and how a hostess gift idea sparked a thriving coast to coast e-commerce business selling specialty foods.

I had no notion such a product even existed but Kimarie Santiago not only makes her own but has gotten so many people enchanted with her product it can now be found in restaurants, food stores and even in an online meal delivery service. The story of how she got started, the steps she took to build a brand and start selling and where she is going in the future are all covered.

I love this story and especially because, like so many great food stories, it starts with selling at a farmer’s market- the original entrepreneur launching ground! Continue reading

ET48- Making Millions from Scratch in Multiple Verticals

How Serial Entrepreneur Andrea Lake Maximizes Her Mentor Relationships

plan writingMaking a million dollars in one business is amazing. Making millions of dollars in multiple industries makes you a true rock star of entrepreneurship!

Andrea Lake is a rock star. Even better, she is happy to share her secrets. Secret one is to find someone who has already achieved the kind of success in your industry that you want, get them to mentor you and then shut up and listen. Learn like a sponge, follow the same path and pretty soon you too can be sitting pretty.

And even better, once you know this formula, just like Andrea, you can apply it to all different kinds of businesses and repeat your success over and over. Just be sure you in turn are willing to give a hand up to those coming behind! Continue reading

ET47- Bootstrapping From Product Idea to Global Sales

How to Plan, Launch, Grow and Profit From Your Own Product Idea

plan writing I love this story because it is such a pure tale of coming up with a brainstorm for an idea one day and turning it into a product and turning that into a product line and then continuing on to a type of success orders of magnitude greater than ever imagined.

Noah of iStabilizer.com did just and tells us exactly how in this episode. He came up with his own design, found a factory to make it and built it from there into a large and now globally reaching brand across three related niches.

It is an inspiring story, all the more so because it features an accidental entrepreneur and one who did it all on his own. Continue reading

ET46- Branding for Fast Growth and Premium Pricing

How to Find the Voice of Your Business and Cash In On It

plan writingThere is a ton of competition in just about every niche out there and the only way to stand out and get seen and heard is to differentiate yourself by owning a small segment of the market you’re in.

In my conversation with Greg we cover how to find that voice and figure out how to stick out from the crowd in a way that is going to make the key difference for your business. If you own a certain niche in the minds of your customers not only will you grow faster and find it easier to attract new customers but you will also not have to compete on price and you won’t be as vulnerable to new competition coming into the space.

Any business can do it you just have to make the effort to discover what yours is going to be. Continue reading