Our guest blog series continues with a post from one of our original client’s, Thom Singer. He sheds some light on the brand hurdles for a solo-preneur and how we worked with him on refreshing his brand.
When launching a solo-business from scratch the entrepreneur is excited and optimistic. There are many things to do to establish the company, and yet everything they want to do seems to costs more money than they can afford. Many solos have to start slow and be mindful of their investments in marketing and infrastructure. The focus has to be on sales and delivering their product or services, as without income there will be no future.
As time goes by and the business grows sometimes the entrepreneur notices they have pieced together their brand, and finds themselves without a consistent image or message. When I started my business I had no logo or other branding in place. I did not feel it was needed, as I was the product and my presentations could speak for themselves. I did not see the need to invest in branding, as I did not yet have a real company. I created a simple business card and a basic website, and that was the extent of my infrastructure.
In the beginning most of my work came through my network and from word-of-mouth. The people who hired me to speak at conferences or conduct training classes inside their company were rarely concerned with my website, logo, business card colors, or other branding. They knew who I was, and that was why they were selecting me to present to their audiences.
Five years later I looked up and realized I had built a legitimate speaking business and was now earning more than I had in my corporate career. My clientele had grown beyond referrals from friends and I was starting working with large corporations and national associations. My leads were now coming through a variety of channels and often the first time people were discovering information about me was via the internet.
As I reviewed the materials that other speakers had created, it was clear that my brand was in need of a facelift. The problem was that most of the companies I talked with either only handled one aspect of the branding package (logo design, website, video, etc….) or they wanted to invoice me as if I was a large corporation. Even with success, I am still a one-person company.
Enter Found Media Group. I met the team at Found through people in my network, and they came highly recommended. They offered a series of branding and social media options for companies, including a package for solo-entrepreneurs to create a suite of branding elements in an affordable package. Their interdisciplinary experience allowed them to pull in all the pieces I needed to take my brand up a notch (or two). They were young and visionary entrepreneurs, and I knew they were the right fit for my needs. I was ready to take action, and they were the right group at the right time.
In working on this brand re-do I set realistic expectations. I knew I was not a giant corporation, and did not want to create an image that was not authentic to my solo business status. I have never believed in pretending to be something you are not, and the Found team exceeded what I expected by delivering a logo, business card, stationary, a video and website that were cohesive and true to who I am as a person and a business. Additionally I did not want to create website that looked like a carbon copy of the websites of every other speaker and trainer. I needed something unique, but not too unique. Check out my new website at www.ThomSinger.com.
The timing has to be right for a solo entrepreneur to invest in a branding package. I probably waited too long, but had I done this too early there would have been little ROI. The new look and feel of my business is now aligned with where I am on my entrepreneurial journey. I am also now keenly aware of how an integrated branding effort impacts the professional image.
Is this the end? Nope, there will be continued tweaks and updates all along the way. Working with a group like the team at Found Media Group will allow me to make a variety of update to how my brand reaches out into the business community.
Thom Singer is a professional speaker, trainer, Master of Ceremonies, consultant and author. He is known as “The Conference Catalyst” and works with meeting professionals to help create a culture of connections at corporate and association meetings. More information at www.ThomSinger.com. Next up will be a refresh of my social media platforms to get them in line with the rest of my new look.