No, it’s not some cheesy line from a commercial on TV. It’s my take on the topic of budgets, money, and how they affect your brand.

This month’s theme is planning, mindset and goals, and there’s no time like July to take a step back to think about marketing and your brand. As business owners, working on our brands sometimes takes a backseat, which means that decisions (and setting money aside) is often forgotten. So today I’d like to share my version of marketing your business and how much it costs.

When I was a kid and times were lean, my mother would jokingly say “no money, no food.” These days I have my own grown-up, work version: “no marketing budget, no marketing.” There are countless books and websites out there on “marketing with zero dollars!” That’s true, but there are  times when we need more than “zero dollars” and our charm to get by. The most obvious of those times is when you set out to create the professional face of your business.

Your brand is an investment; it needs planning, consideration, and a budget. Your brand isn’t something that just “happens.” Either you take charge of it from the beginning, or you hire someone three, five, seven years down the road to create a proper, professional look for your business.

One of the first questions I ask potential clients is “what is your budget for this project.” And without fail, some respond “I don’t know. I don’t really have one.”

My experience with that scenario is that
No budget = no marketing =no brand image.

The reality is that when you are building your brand, you need a vision, and an idea of what that vision will cost. You need to know what you can afford. Yes, there are many things we can all do to promote our businesses that are low or no-cost. However, let’s look at the basic items every business owner must have to create their brand:

  1. Logo. You can either buy a stock logo online for as low as $25, or you can pay a reputable designer to custom-create one for your business. Those start around $500-$1000. Both $25 and $1,000 are numbers-figure which one applies to you, and add it to your marketing budget.
  2. Business cards. Even if you print them at Staples, you still need at least $50. That’s a number. A number that must appear in your business plan under “marketing.”
  3. Website. These days expect a minimum of $1,000 (that’s conservative) for a professionally designed website. $1,000 is once again a number that needs to appear on your budget.
  4. Networking. Even the lowest-cost marketing/networking takes some dollars. After all, you need to pay for your breakfast, right? And from $20 and up, that’s certainly a number you’ll need to include in your budget-if you plan on going to a networking breakfast/event more than once.

These are all things you need to create your brand image, and it all needs to be part of your plan.

You can contact Loreto Cheyne at (613) 371-3281.