We see it happen all the time. A client comes to us with a new business idea or is ready to re-position an existing business and they want a fantastic brand and/or website. They invest time and money getting us to create something stunning but then when it comes time to start trading they wonder why no one knows about them. What they have forgotten about is creating a business plan and having a promotional plan in place to promote their new look.

Having a well designed brand and brand style is only one part of the equation and it should come a little bit further down the timeline than most businesses think.

The first step in any business plan should really be doing some research to find out whether your business idea is even viable within the market. Just because you and your immediate social group have an unusual love for imported Korean teapots, it doesn’t mean there will be enough demand in the marketplace to make importing and selling them a profitable business.

Second on the list is a marketing audit. This vital planning document examines all aspects of your business and makes recommendations based on solid research about how you should position and run your business. It also sets out an action plan outlining what steps you should take over a period of time to create a successful business. It is not something that should sit on the shelf but a ‘bible’ that should be consulted on a regular basis.

Another important part of the timeline is creating a promotional plan. If you want people to know about your business you are going to have to tell them. A promotional plan is a planning document to help you decide how and when you will promote your business. It is the perfect way to stick to a budget while still getting maximum benefits from your new brand.

In the mix there is also business name registration, trademarking, domain registration and numerous other tasks to consider. It is not until this point that it is really time to start thinking about your brand and visual style.

Any good marketer will tell you that your branding should be the tangible element of the marketing and planning that has gone before and I agree. As much as design is the fun part of marketing I strongly recommend investing time and money into your business strategy and promotional plan before you let the ‘artists’ loose.