Your brand is the first point of contact between potential customers and your business. Creating and building a brand is an important task for any young entrepreneur who wants to be taken seriously. It should be at the top of your marketing plan so that you can attract the customers you want as soon as you launch.
Everyone who wants to sell something has a brand, even if they are the brand. Here’s some advice on creating the best brand you can – and then using it to maximize your business success.
> FOCUS ON WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE
First and foremost, don’t try to be all things to all people. You and your business aren’t going to solve world hunger, cure cancer, and protect the planet at the same time.
Start by answering the question you should have asked at the start of your business planning: what problem are you trying to solve? In what way are you going to make people’s lives better, easier, or happier?
Let’s say you’re starting a small pet care business, where clients will hire you to go to their houses and tend to their hamsters, guinea pigs, bunnies, or other small animals while the owners are away. The problem you’re solving is the care and attention of animals that may not qualify for a kennel or can’t be left with a neighbor. You are making people’s lives better and easier by allowing them to leave their pets at home while still being cared for.
Now think about why you are uniquely suited to this job. Is it because you and your siblings have had pet rats all your lives? Have you done this before for friends or neighbors?
You’ve carved out your niche – in-home small pet care – now dive deeper. Do you have expertise in knowing the difference between iguanas and geckos? Are you willing to bring over fresh lettuce and veggies for rabbits?
Establish what makes you THE best small pet caretaker in town.
> TELL YOUR STORY
Not many people want to hire some rando who woke up one day and said, “I want to take care of strangers’ small pets.”
Share a little bit about yourself. This will help potential customers to trust you. When they trust you, they’ll hire you.
You don’t need to share your entire life story, but you should be genuine. Pick a few important details about yourself that emphasize how friendly, honest, and caring you are. Why did you choose this field? How is it important to you? What other interests and hobbies do you have that showcase your talents? Not everything has to be related to your business, but customers are much more likely to hire a pet caretaker who volunteers for her school’s fundraisers over someone with no extracurriculars.
> DEVELOP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Yes, we know that Gen Z doesn’t need to be told to get out there on social media. But there’s an enormous difference between your personal TikTok and your business accounts. Since social media is free to set up, take the time to create accounts devoted solely to your startup. The avatars, cover photos, thumbnails, and posts should all be part of your branding.
Business accounts on social media are not the places to share inappropriate memes, talk politics (unless you are starting a political business), post inside jokes to your friends, or otherwise be anything but professional.
To stay on top of your multiple business social media accounts, and for your own peace of mind, consider downloading a social media management tool. This will help you maintain brand consistency across apps as well as plan campaigns and schedule posts in advance.
> STAY CONSISTENT
Speaking of consistency, this is quite important for maximizing your brand’s success. While branding your small pet business, make sure all your marketing points toward the care of small animals. This means it’s ok to share photos and (tasteful, PG-rated) memes and gifs related to small animals. After all, who doesn’t love seeing a rabbit yawn?
Consistency means that you will be on people’s minds when they think of small pets. “You’re going on vacation for a week and you have a pet snake? I know the perfect person to take care of sweet little Mr. Snuggles!”
Basically, you want to become known as That Person for your particular niche. When someone has a need, you should be the first solution that comes to mind.
> CREATE GOODWILL
You are your first and best brand ambassador. Before you go burning bridges, telling someone off, or publicly posting a profanity-filled rant, think about how that will reflect on you…and your business. If most of your customers are also your classmates, maybe skip telling everyone on the school Discord about the annoying kid behind you who never wears deodorant. Things online have a way of circling back to the original poster.
This is another reason to keep your personal and business accounts separate from one another. And always double- and triple-check before you post to make sure you are logged into the correct account!
> EVOLVE YOUR BRAND AS-NEEDED
Your small pet care business has become so successful that you’re ready to branch out. Perhaps some customers have asked if you can walk their dogs or feed their cats in addition to cleaning the turtle’s tank. Congratulations! You are a young entrepreneur success story!
If you feel comfortable expanding your business, absolutely go for it. Remember to expand your brand, as well. Now, not only are you the #1 small pet care person in your neighborhood, but you’re on track to become the #1 pet care person overall – no matter what size the animal. Pretty soon you’ll be running an animal care empire!
The best brands are easily recognizable and make potential customers feel good. Hopefully, you’ll create a brand that people remember for all the right reasons!
Click here to learn how the Kantner Foundation helps young entrepreneurs by offering college scholarships to Florida high school students.