#BrandInMinutes: 21 Entrepreneurs Share Their Branding Lessons

May 9, 2022
Authored by:
Kari Amarnani
Featuring:

You know how to get started with your business, but do you know how to start building your brand? After all, the success of your business will heavily depend on the credibility of your brand.

New business owners are often so excited to launch their business that they end up compromising their branding. Building a brand is a feat that demands serious dedication. Existing is no longer enough. You have to stand out in a sea of competition.

That said, brand building has never been a simple step-by-step process.

The funny thing is, you don’t really need much to establish your brand as a blooming business. You merely need key puzzle pieces to complete the picture. Some of them include:

  • An eye-catching and relevant logo
  • A memorable business name
  • A functional and attractive website
  • A social media presence
  • A professional e-mail signature

These requirements are only the start, but they do set the scene for a strong brand presence all around. And it’s the least you can do to establish your business as the flourishing entity that it is.

What makes this process complicated for some business owners is the headache of jumping from platform to platform in search of all the puzzle pieces.

This can get tough, especially when branding relies on the concept of consistency. If one item doesn’t match the rest, you risk coming across as unprofessional.

If only there was a place to attain each branding material at once and ensure a consistent story. Oh wait, there is!

Our Brand Plan is a brand builder that helps you build your #BrandInMinutes by offering crucial branding collateral to build your presence.

Brand Plan features for a steal

The goal of the Brand Plan is to:

  • Give you a step-by-step process to build your brand.
  • Save you time by offering templates that are branded with your logo, fonts, and colors.
  • Become the only platform you need to come to for all your branding needs. For example, creating business cards, social media presence, branded stationery, domain name, and more.

A little help does more than you think. Starting a business is a massive feat (go you!), and having a little guidance along the way helps you invest more time working on your business growth strategies.

Take a look at different perspectives to see the big picture.

21 Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Branding Obstacles

We spoke to 21 business owners about the biggest challenges they faced in setting up their brand from scratch. Common themes included:

  • Logos and designs
  • Business names and domains
  • Online brand presence

Strong insight into first-account roadblocks can help you make the decision you need to give your business the best branding that it deserves with minimal stress.

Logo And Design

Your business’s logo is essential because it communicates your values and personality. It’s your business’s visual identity that’s etched on your website, social media channels, business cards, merchandise, and, most importantly, in your audience’s minds.

The objective of our free logo maker is to make taking that first step easier for you. Despite being free, our logo maker doesn’t compromise on quality. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll get a logo design that you’ll want to show off. That’s a guarantee!

Running into obstacles with a logo design is common. This is what business owners had to say about the process.

1. Debora Pokallus, Founder, Bel Essence

The presentation of the brand was challenging because we wanted our logo and branding to include the colors and style that express the natural ingredients we use and appeal to both men and women.  

We wanted a brand identity that focused on the science and nutrition behind the products without looking like the products were developed in a chemistry lab.

2. Mushfiq Sarker, Chief Editor & CEO, Stream SEO

When I first created my business website, I quickly realized that there were a lot of moving parts. Not only did I need to create a product or service that was unique and valuable, but I also needed to create a brand that would resonate with my target market and set up efficient systems and processes.

While all of these challenges were daunting, I found that the biggest challenge was designing a logo. I wanted something that would be simple and memorable, but that would also capture the essence of my brand.

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I didn't want something that would be too trendy or that would date quickly, but I also didn't want something that would look too static or boring. After trying out a few different designs, I finally settled on a simple wordmark that I felt conveyed both the professional and approachable nature of my business.

Designing a website can be a challenge, but it's important to take the time to create a site that accurately reflects your brand and your values. With a little planning and perseverance, you can create a site that you're proud of and that will help you attract new customers.

3. Patrick McCann, Editor-in-chief, We Try Tires

One of the biggest challenges was designing a color scheme that we were happy with. The color chart is never-ending and knowing that the colors you pick will reflect the brand and your business, most likely for the rest of time, is daunting.

This color scheme carries over into the entire design of the business. Our website, social media, and logo are ultimately what help people trust the brand and our business. It also has to translate across in a uniform manner in all our content to tie the brand and content together harmoniously.

4. Matt Fitch, CEO & Founder, iHaulJunk, Inc

The biggest challenge I faced when I was establishing a brand for iHaulJunk was defining my logo strategy.

There are plenty of apps available online to help anyone create a decent-looking logo nowadays.

Developing an effective logo that can identify with your target market instantly, deliver to them your story and issue them a trigger to buy all in a split second, that is where the challenge lies as a branding marketeer.

An effective logo is aesthetically appealing and should evoke emotion and trigger a buy sign for your target audience.

5. Bernie, Owner & CEO, REECH

Picking a logo that reflects our business, is recognizable, unique, and simple was an early challenge at REECH's onset. Even a simple design that's only text proved difficult. There are thousands of fonts available, and we had to find the one that fits our brand.

6. Sardor Umrdinov, Owner & CEO, Home Alliance

Creating our brand allows us to set ourselves apart from the competition, increase our recognition, make a promise to our customers, and make an excellent first impression.

During those times when we didn’t focus on our branding strategy, it was impossible for us to stand out and make a lasting first impression or explain what our company was all about and what our goal was.

I remember spending a significant amount of time on our company's logo. We were working on a logo that describes our mission: "to bring world-class service to every American household."

As a result, we came up with two mountains that also represent two houses, implying that we strive to be at the top of our game for every home we service.

We associate our brand with every aspect of our business, from business cards to websites to tech uniforms. Our company's appearance improved significantly as a result of these strategies. It proved to our customers that we were a brand worth paying attention to.

Even simple things can indicate to potential customers that you didn't start your business yesterday. I was fortunate to have a team to help me put together our outward brand image. Thanks to our creative team, we had a cutting-edge website, efficient social media platforms, and an overall professional image.

7. Colin Toh, CEO & Founder, Headphonesty

Choosing colors was the most challenging part of establishing our brand. We spent a long time researching color psychology, doing market research, A/B testing, and customer polls to make sure that we chose colors that represented our brand well.

The second most challenging part was choosing a font. For font choice, we made the decision internally within the company. It still took a bit of going back and forth before ultimately settling on one we all agreed upon and that differentiated us from the competition while still being easily readable.

Business And Domain Names

A business’s success is greatly influenced by its name. It’s the first point of reference that customers and competitors have about what your company represents and how it presents itself in the business world. And, to be frank, it is a crucial part of your branding.

Our business name generator takes the stress out of the process by generating tons of potential names for your business. Each option also shares domain name availability, making it easy for you to secure your business’s digital identity.

Here are some of the issues that entrepreneurs had to overcome before they were able to find a solution to their problems.

1. Ian Sells, CEO & Founder, Rebate Key

When we started RebateKey in 2017, there were already other competitors in the rebate/coupon niche. While there are differences in our processes and the audience we cater to, the biggest challenge was defining the USP that sets us apart from them. If the product we provide is the same, then we had to up our service or our customer experience.

Our name should be unique and easily associated with what we do. That's why we came up with RebateKey. It mimics those days in the past when you had to cut coupons and mail UPCs to get cashback.

2. Alli Hill, Founder and Director, FreelanceSpeak

As a solo freelance writer, I needed a blog and a brand to support my portfolio. Choosing a domain proved to be harder than designing my own logo, business cards, website, and social media channels.

I wanted a domain that matched my business name, but every business name I came up with was already taken. It's not easy choosing a name that's catchy, descriptive, memorable, AND available.

As a professional wordsmith, I couldn't settle for a plain vanilla name, which is why I went with FreelanceSpeak, a blog that speaks the language of freelancers. It truly was a months-long process, but I'm pleased with the outcome.

3. Isaac Mashman, Founder, Mashman Ventures

I have had the opportunity of helping nearly a dozen, if not more, entrepreneurs name and begin to develop their businesses. A recurring challenge that we are faced with is finding something that is unique and able to be positioned correctly.

It's important that when launching a new company, make sure the name has not been used before and you will be able to, for the most part, easily dominate SEO from a positioning standpoint. If there is already a similar company out there, will it be confusing for your customers to distinguish between it and your own?

It is worth taking the extra time to find an available domain and claimable social media handles.

4. Jaclyn Strauss, CEO, 2nd Vault

The biggest challenge in setting up my business was brand identity.

I wanted a name and logo that would be memorable, but also reflective of the values of my company. I spent months conducting research and brainstorming with creative professionals, but nothing felt quite right. I also wasted a lot of money on website domain names that were already taken.

In the end, I realized that the best way to create a strong brand was to focus on my target audience and what they would want from my business. By understanding their needs, I was able to develop a brand that resonated with them and helped me stand out from the competition.

5. Max Benz, CEO & Founder, BankingGeek

One of the biggest challenges we faced when setting up our business was choosing the right domain name. We wanted something that was short and easy to remember, but that didn't have any obvious misspellings. We also wanted to make sure that the domain name wasn't already in use by another company.

After days of brainstorming, we finally settled on a name that we were happy with. However, we quickly learned that securing the domain name was going to be its own challenge. Luckily, we were eventually able to get the domain name that we wanted and launch our website successfully.

6. Eunsook Choi, Founder, Forgano

The biggest challenge in setting up my business was coming up with a new brand name. I needed a name that was associated with the overall brand vision. I also had to check the availability of the domain, SNS, and government registration.

I came up with the name Forgano. ‘Gano’ means ‘nursing or nurses’ in Korean. So Forgano means “for nurses.” I am from South Korea, and I am a nurse in Miami, FL.

I am starting a new nursing shoes brand, and so I thought that name would be perfect. Fortunately, nobody was using the name, and so I was able to use it for my new domain, LLC, and social media accounts.

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After deciding on the brand name, I finished the logo design, a cross mark that represents nursing or health care. I have been a nurse for over 13 years and decided to start my own business after going through this pandemic.

I sincerely have sympathy for healthcare workers who sacrifice for their patients, family, and community. I wanted to help them feel better and have better work experiences. And so I started a new nursing shoe brand with a focus on comfort and a unique design.

7. Ravi Davda, CEO, Rockstar Marketing

When setting up Rockstar Marketing, one of the biggest brand challenges I had was finding a domain name that matched the name of the business. In fact, this is still a problem because we don't own the .com version, which is a shame.

For me, there's no point in having a business name if the domain name is completely different from it. It just doesn't make sense. The issue here, however, is that most good domain names are taken, even if the websites aren't functioning. This is a real issue.

In 2022, it makes more sense to find an available domain name first, and then think of the business name. And when you find it, make sure you buy all variations of it so that it's not possible for a competitor to have a very similar name to yours.

Online Brand Presence

You can do everything right with your branding, but if no one sees it, what’s the point?

Brand presence is important because it is the very first step in your marketing funnel and a crucial practice to potentially acquire customers and rake in sales.

People need to be able to recall and recognize your business. And the way to do that is to promote your business on social media channels, and everywhere else!

Our Brand Plan is your best friend in getting your business off the ground and out there for the world to revel in. For $60 a year (or $10/month), you can create interactive social posts, business cards, email signatures, and whatever else you need to get your business visible.

Getting your brand out there is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs everywhere. Let’s see how.

1. Steven Burkhart, Founder, Burkhart Creative Agency

The hardest part of starting a business was setting up the website. This was back before Squarespace and all the resources we have now to build and change website design.

I had created a WordPress site, so I was rewriting HTML code (which I didn't know) manually and copying and pasting the code into Google Docs just in case I screwed it up and broke my site.

Since then, I've switched to Squarespace and back to WordPress now that there are resources like Fiverr to help do small tasks on my website that are beyond my technical expertise!

2. Teri Shern, Co-Founder, Conex Boxes

From a brand perspective, the most challenging thing for us when setting up our business was getting our website right. In fact, we got it quite wrong at first.

We thought setting a website up would be easy. “All we have to do is put our containers up with the prices and a link to contact us, right?” The answer was no, not right.

We needed to think about design, SEO, what other interesting and interactive methods could be included in the website to make it more appealing, and much more. To be honest, the first website that we created sucked. It had a lot of text, looked very bland from a design point of view, and some customers even though we weren’t a legitimate company.

While we’d incorporated a blog option to create interactive content for them, the navigation wasn’t good, which meant a lot of people weren’t even visiting that aspect of our website. We therefore made a change. We basically started from scratch and redesigned our entire website.

We changed the color scheme, thought carefully about how to make certain aspects of it more appealing, and improved the overall look, feel, and navigation of the website.

With a few other adjustments along the way, we’ve built a professional-looking website that has not only improved conversion rates but has even improved in terms of site ranking, helping us to be found by more potential customers.

3. Mandie Brice, Owner, Mama's Breastaurant

My name is Mandie Brice, and I recently started an e-commerce business in the breastfeeding/motherhood niche, and the biggest challenge so far has been trying to "do it all," especially with a baby!

Social media has been a slight challenge, especially because of the breastfeeding part of what I do. Some of my products flag decency rules because they are puns, and I worry that when I try to advertise, it won't get approved.

Since I'm bootstrapping, finding a diverse set of models in my niche is also a challenge, especially since, on average, women of color breastfeed less than women who look like me (who have babies who look like my son).

I hope my brand actually helps change that, so I have been reaching out to influencers to see if anyone is interested in a product exchange. I guess, to sum up, my biggest challenge is getting people to my site via marketing on social media.

4. Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

I started a global marketing/digital branding firm 20 years ago and recommend NOT spending money on things like fancy brochures, letterhead, business cards, etc. Until you know your business is launched, I would say put your budget into things that help fill your pipeline with customers.

Getting your URL and a website up and running is key. I created a logo, a tagline, online stationery for proposals and invoices, ordered my cards online, and made downloadable materials as leave-behinds for people looking for more information to help me find clients more quickly.  

I know other business owners who spent thousands of dollars on these things and found it was a waste of money. Your story will evolve as you find your market. You need to look professional and have a website to be taken seriously, but embossed paper with watermarks and heavy card stock is not going to accelerate your sales cycle.

Find those reference customers quickly and use them to get testimonials and referrals. There is plenty of time later to dress things up!

5. James Chapman, Director, Bella Bathrooms

The most challenging aspect of establishing our brand is developing a digital strategy. When we decided to transition and adapt online marketing into our business, the social media platforms were still new to exploring adapting business into their platforms.

We struggled with adapting our brand to online platforms because our product is not a basic necessity, so we needed to devise a strategy tailored to our online target market. We were not yet familiar with online marketing by then, so we employed external help from an agency for all our online marketing tasks.

We gave them the core and foundation of our business, the concepts, and ideas we had developed, and conveyed our goals, objectives, and plans. The agency provided us with feedback, and from there, we were able to adjust our brand strategy to tailor it to our online target market’s needs.

6. Ryan Fyfe, COO, Insightful, Inc (formerly Workpuls)

The biggest challenge in setting up my business was getting the word out there. It's difficult to get people to trust a new brand.

You need to be able to articulate what your business is about, who your target audience is, and what makes you different from your competitors. You also need to develop a plan for how you're going to reach your target audience and grow your business.

7. Amy Bos, COO, MediumChat

I started at MediumChat as a Customer Care Representative and am now the COO. Mediumchat Group is a people-first company, which has meant that I have had a lot of input on decisions, including design and marketing as a whole.

Branding is key within our industry, as it is important that our audience can easily distinguish us from our competitors. Creating a website that was well branded, had great UX, and aligned to our own unique style was the most challenging part. As a team, we all had specific points we wanted incorporated into the final design.

Take The Leap

You don’t want your business to be a wallflower.

Your brand doesn’t need to be pushy, but it also can’t be shy. You built a business for yourself, and it deserves attention. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It happens with determination and consistency.

However, the journey is never without hardship, so take all the help that you can get. If you can avoid potential mishaps, you will get one step closer to where you want your business to be.

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