Year one of building your brand is scary. No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much research you do, it’s nerve-wracking to put yourself (and your product) out there for public consumption. It can invoke nerves, spawn criticism, and even create a little crisis of faith if things don’t go as you expect.
But we don’t want to see a torch-wielding mob head towards your brand new business.
There are ways to mitigate some of the risks. You can’t avoid all the horror of year one. NO ONE CAN. But you can make sure your first 365 days of presenting your new brand don’t haunt you.
The first monster we’re going to talk about is the “Idea Zombie.” The walking dead are mindless operators who can’t be deterred from their course unless their head is cut off.
New entrepreneurs can be very tunnel-visioned. They’ve been living with this idea eating away at their brain (possibly for years) and no matter what evidence is presented, they just keep moving forward.
You need to be nimble and alert in your first year. You’re going to get feedback and new information you never could have gotten when you were just imagining launching your brand. It’s important to have a mission. It’s equally important, especially in the early days, to take the information you receive in real-time and consider it as you develop your business.
You’re going to see other brands doing cool stuff. You’re going to look at your budding business and wish you could recreate that experience on your own platforms. So you’ll start going all Franken-filter on your assets. You’ll download this website template because your favorite blog uses it. You’ll grab $100 worth of presets to match that influencer’s feed. You’ll see a campaign that interests you and try tweaking it and plugging it into your brand. And while you may feel like “It’s ALIVE,” your brand won’t have a heartbeat of its own. It will just be pieces of other people stitched together.
It’s okay to be inspired by other brands but resist the urge to create a monster made of the people you follow.
If you really want this brand to work, you have to commit to working on it regularly. The reason most brands don’t make it beyond year one is because they get really excited for the first month or two, and then their commitment falls off.
To achieve an immortal brand, you have to feed that beast every day! Even if it’s only five minutes at a time, your brand is most likely to fail in year one if it’s dormant too long. And it’s not because your idea isn’t good and it isn’t because you aren’t capable. It’s usually only because too much time is allowed to slip.
Sink your teeth into this idea and don’t let yourself become a Count Slack-ula. The gains you’ll make in your first year are almost entirely reliant upon your dedication.
Most new business owners suffer some confidence issues in the early days. In order to counter this effect, people will try to cushion their offer in an effort to attract. This makes you a Morticia Add-on. You have your product, but then you add on a discount, then a freebie, then a trial run, then a referral code, then a giveaway just to make sure someone, somewhere cares about your new venture.
It’s okay to just put your offering out there and build great content around it. We know it’s not as romantic (and if Morticia is anything it’s that, right?), but launching can be that simple. Discounts and bonus offers and exclusive memberships can bring a quick win, but year one is about building a foundation. And you don’t want your foundation built on flimsy one-time sales.
We know it can be a little frightening to be a new brand, but don’t let creatures from the brand lagoon capture you in year one. Happy Halloween!