How to Prepare to Launch your New Business
Are you preparing to launch a new business, product, or service? Congratulations! The tips checklist and tips that we provide in this post are applicable for all of these. We’ve also compiled a convenient list to help make your launch (and life) easier.
As you might know, we’ve recently launched our own new business, Barker Social. What do you think of our website and branding? We’re thrilled to see Ben Barker, our fearless brand mascot, come to life.
I’m not new at this whole launch thing. For several years, I’ve helped my clients launch their new brands and services in a variety of different capacities, and before my work as an independent marketing and copywriting contractor I launched and sold two businesses of my own (a dance studio and a health food business). I also have a history of large scale event organizing, and each of those events also required a launch plan, execution, and follow through. I’m kind of an old hat at this. But enough about me…
This post is about you and your awesome new project.
Whatever your new business or project is all about, there are some key principles to consider prior to your launch date.
First of all, branding. These days, everybody is talking about branding. There’s professional branding and personal branding, and the line between the two has started to become pretty fuzzy. With today’s technology, your personal branding is just as important as the official branding that you create for your business.
This is where all of the punch comes in. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting your branding straight. You need an impactful and memorable look and feel that the public will associate with your business. A picture is worth a thousand words, and you need both a logo and full branding planning that will embed itself with the appropriate connotations into your potential customers’ consciousnesses.
In our case, we decided it all started with an extensively researched name. My partner and I went back and forth for days and weeks and we crowd-sourced reactions to the contenders.
After weeks of deliberation, the word “barker” rose to the top as the clear choice for our new brand. Since we’re in the business of social media marketing, we wanted to conjure up the associations of a carnival barker grabbing the attention of the crowds to drum up business. As such, we also decided to create a character—Ben Barker–and we found inspiration in an Atlantic City-inspired boardwalk-side carnival motif and bold colours. Ben is a Brand Barker and he appears in our logo and across all of our visual assets, as does his accessories like his hat, cane, and bullhorn.
We were very lucky that our team is connected to some extremely talented graphic designers. The artist that we worked with provided us with nine different sketches of Ben to help us hone in on the look we were going for. (If you’d like a recommendation for an artist, please let us know and we’d be happy to introduce you.)
The primary, secondary, and tertiary fonts were all selected with care. All of these elements together (not just the logo) work together to form a complete brand identity.
To be clear, we aren’t suggesting that you copy our branding. We just want you to understand the thought and detail that went into the planning to present you with the full and complete brand identity that you see here.
Your own brand should be customized based on your industry, your target market, and the business culture and persona that you want to establish. The strength of your details is in the details which will all work together to formulate your overall brand identity.
When you launch your business, making announcements and sharing appropriate content across your social media platforms can make a huge impact. Your messaging should be crafted to suit each platform; the copy that you share on Facebook should have a much more personal and casual touch than the formal announcement that you make on LinkedIn. And of course, your Twitter announcement will need to be brief. These can all link back to a more thorough post on your business website. It’s also a great idea to make a custom visual about your business to share on the day of launch on your personal Instagram. Leave no stone unturned!
Don’t have much of a social media presence? You’re missing out!
Social media marketing can generate fantastic results. 80%* of social network users connect with brands including–including people and their personal brands–on social media and more than 60%* of those people are more likely to seek out a product or service after seeing it on social media. In fact, brands that share fun, engaging, customized content on social networks generate 3X* more customers than traditional marketing… and it costs 62%* less!
Business Launch Checklist
Launching a business is by no means a straightforward process, but we’ve created a simplified checklist that you can use as a go-to list for your planning.
- Research – associations, imagery, crowdsourcing, core values & culture
- Availability – competitors? URL? Social media handles?
- Business Name Purchase
- Business Registration
- Identify other legal requirements for your area (tax number, etc.)
- Purchase of URL (consider also purchasing similar URLs)
- Engage a Web Developer (if you don’t have your own technical team) preferably who already works with a graphic designer. (Ask us for our recommendations!)
- Set a ballpark date for launch (your exact date will often need adjusting)
- Plan progress meetings
- Establish brand elements (logo, colours, fonts, etc.)
- Move forward on logo and a brand elements library
- Check-in on a regular schedule with timelines with your web developer and graphic design team
- Create accounts for all platforms to hold your preferred name. Do this now, even if you aren’t planning to use them yet (or even if you don’t think you’ll ever use them) so that someone else doesn’t take them.
Establish Business Processes
- What project management software will you use? (We like Asana + Slack)
- Establish company mandate, vision, mission
- Confirm pricing models & structures
- Best practices
- Business methodology
- How will you be handling confidential and secure data?
- Examine all aspects of the day in, day out business operations and create systems accordingly
- Engage a marketing copywriter:
- Establish your brand voice
- Write your general pitch
- Website copy
- Sales pages
- Elevator Pitch
- Short business description
- Long business description
- Scripts for introductory sales emails
- Scripts for personal announcements on the day of launch
- Multiple short pitches and hooks for boosted ads (about 6-12 to start)
- Brochure content (for both PDF and print)
- Press Release for launch
- Copy for personal announcements that you and team members might like to share on your individual profiles
- Updated LinkedIn profiles for key team members
- 4-8 blog posts to populate your website for the time of launch
- Prepare a full Social Media Library with enough content for 4-6 weeks from the time of launch
(BTW, we do all of this and we’re not shy to say that we’re really good at it! Let us know if you need help.)
Once the brand elements have been confirmed and the website is moving forward, engage the graphic designer on:
- Business Cards
- Brochure formatting
- Visuals to accompany blog posts
- Visuals to accompany social media marketing
- Paid ads, online and traditional (print, etc. is optional and unnecessary for many businesses)
(We can help you, just let us know)
Bank Account, Accounting, Legal, Insurance
- Open a bank account
- Set up a Paypal Account (if applicable)
- Establish your Payment set up & processes
- Set up Invoicing & Billing processes
- Engage an accountant
- Set up Accounting & Bookkeeping processes (Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Harvest, etc.)
- Establish Templates: Internal Contract, Client Contract/Service Agreement, Statement of Work — get legal help where necessary
- Business insurance (unless you’re a low risk 100% virtual business, you should definitely get insurance)
Create Staff Accounts
- Create email accounts
- Streamline brand fonts and formats for business signatures
- Record new voicemail messages/set up new voicemail system if applicable
Check-in on website
- Reexamine the website on timeline
- Reconfirm launch date based on new, more realistic benchmarks
- Test all website pages and features, especially links and online shopping carts (if applicable)
- Set up newsletter for your email network to announce launch
- Queue and reconfirm social media marketing campaign for the time of launch
Approaching the launch date, set a specific schedule and plan for the things that need to happen on launch day:
- Queue and oversee all announcements
- Update of all profiles
Ready, set, launch!
- Follow your plan and away you go!!!
Immediately Following the Launch
Immediately following launch, follow with heavy networking including LinkedIn networking, email networking, attending physical networking events, and telephone follow ups.
If you’re planning a new business, product, or service launch and need help with either the preparation or launch of your marketing campaign, don’t hesitate to take us up on a free marketing consultation. We’d be happy to chat about your plans and to determine if we might be a good fit for your business.