Listening to friends, family, and my online peeps that have started businesses, I’ve noticed that in the excitement of building a brand they sometimes put the cart before the horse. I support anyone simply trying to achieve something.. anything.. (as long a it’s positive) →BUT (yes, the big but) doing too much too soon won’t put your business in the intended fast last lane if its foundation hasn’t even reached a growth phase.
It is not uncommon for small or emerging businesses to want to do more, especially in the early stage where brainstorming is constant and you just want to GET OUT THERE! Know this- I think that’s great, but you likely have to ensure two major things before deciding to expand your brand;
- Will adding this new product or feature make a difference?
- How will it fit into your overall brand?
Let’s dive a little deeper here….
#1- Will adding this new product or feature make a difference?– Well will it? Adding something that will cost more money to produce or provide or take more time out of your day isn’t really doing much for your brand if you haven’t built up your audience. You’d like to master the most basic things in your business first before expanding. It’s okay to FAIL- at one thing, because then you have less variables to analyze to determine where you went wrong. Being focused on growing the “cash cow” or the “core” of your business is most important because 1) it’s usually what you’re most passionate about 2) you’ve invested in building your brand based on that service/product. Product expansions or just “other things to offer” aren’t out of the question- but you don’t want to fail at 5 things and not know what happened, when you could have focused, tried hard, and move on to the next thing with lessons learned if necessary.
#2- How will this fit into your overall brand?-This one is less complex- If you’ve determined who you want your brand to be (simply put- who you are and what you want to be known for), then you should carefully consider how each new product or service will affect your brand image/perception, your mission and your overall bottom line. Creating inconsistency across your portfolio only leaves room for prospective customers to be confused about who your are/ what you do/ the true value they’ll receive by working with you.
Expansion is not a bad thing, but don’t be afraid to learn your hardest lessons by working hard on your initial goal and possibly failing. It’s easier and better to recover a business that failed at 1 thing vs. a ton of things.
Be easy. Be simple. Be clear. Start that way and it’ll be hard to confuse you for Fred Sanford- the man that sold everything but you weren’t exactly sure what it was.