Part 1: Small Company Branding

“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”

Maria von Trapp, Sound of Music

Once my heart and head were aligned on starting a company, I began with the branding. Here are the steps I took, as well as the time and money I invested.

Step 1: I named my company.

The primary considerations here were whether or not a similar company name/ trademark existed and how ‘searchable’ I’d be online. (3 hrs to overcome the anxiety of settling on a name.)

I also thought it was important to establish a tax identity (getting an EIN from the Federal Government). And I decided to apply for an LLC in California to limit the liability of my company. (2-3 hrs, $70 for the LLC)

Step 2: I had a professional design my logo

I’m thrilled with the direction this took once it was in the right hands! If I hadn’t had someone do this for me, I would have used Upwork or Fiverr to find someone to assist. (Only 1-2 hrs, cost will vary.)

Step 3: I developed a brand color palate, and mood board.

Choosing a color palate reminded me of choosing colors for my wedding. Fun! Try Color Hunt for inspiration. For the photos, I did a lot of Google Image searching, and I relied heavily on Power Point. It’s not my finest work, but I was moving quickly. (6-8 hours, + cost of photos)

Mood Board & Color Palate

Instead of hiring a photographer, or using my own images I decided to use stock photography. Check out the best Stock Photography Websites for Small Companies. (Free, or up to $30 for a Royalty-Free single image depending on the site and plan you choose.)

Lesson Learned: The hardest part here was finding the images I liked after using Google Images. In hindsight, I would have searched only on Stock Photography Websites. If, like me, you do find images that you love using Google Image search, use a service like Tin Eye to reverse-image search the images and see if they’re available to purchase.

Step 4: I registered my domain name and purchased the Google Business Tools to manage email accounts for me and my future team. (30 mins, $350/yr – does not include the time to design and implement the website.)

There are a few ways to do this, but I used WordPress. I’m familiar with the layout, the service level is decent for small businesses and they have pretty neat plugins that I’m looking forward to checking out. This is my ultimate step in Digital DIY.

The next topic will be: Part 2: Social Media for a Small Company.

Let me know in the comments if this helped you out, or if you’ve got other recommendations. I’d love to hear them!

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