Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Branding…and More.
Women’s Venture Fund

As you review your business plans for the new year, WVF offers words of caution as well as encouragement in building a great enterprise. Here’s a list of both blunders and best practices we’ve seen over the years.  

Do…
Resist using over the top and intentionally misspelled buzz words in your company name. Such branding can limit your target market; and can backfire when people perform internet searches (unless, of course, you’ve done a spectacular job of building brand awareness.).  

Consider adding a tagline to your logo or below your company name if it is not apparent what you’re offering. Owners operating as DBAs would definitely benefit by identifying their service in a short, on-point tagline.

(For startups): Conduct a thorough search of your intended business name. Why become the zillionth company named Global Services?  

Learn the basics of search engine optimization–techniques used to obtain a high-ranking placement in the results page of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  

Prominently display any certification you have acquired (M/WBE, Project Management Professional. LEED, etc.) Even though college degrees are not certifications, attaining a PH.D.is a top academic achievement and should be displayed after your name.

Include a physical address and phone number at the bottom of your home page as well as on your contact page.  

Use your company name as your email address. Investing in a .com address (instead of @gmail, yahoo, etc.) looks more professional and ‘bigger’. Check out providers like Google Business Mail, Office 365 and Mail.com. Go Daddy, ha popular domain vendor, also offers business emails (as well as website development and hosting.)  

Don’t…
Post an ‘Under construction’ web page. No one doing an organic ( random search is going to make a note to come back.

Launch a website until you (or someone very proficient in English (or your targeted language) have thoroughly proofread every page. Grammar and spelling mistakes are a turn-off that questions your ability to deliver your product or service.

Publish a company story unless it is compelling and authentic. If there is no good story behind the launch of your hardware or retail store, legal or accounting firm, simply provide an About page with your relevant skills and experience.

Pretend to have a staff. If you’re into solo entrepreneurship, own it. Using ‘we’ in your voice mail messages can backfire down the line.

Claim to have a Give Back or any philanthropic arm of your business unless you can back it up with a substantial amount of donor activity or a list of beneficiaries of your charitable giving that you can publlsh on your website.

Engage in blogging or posting unless you can commit to regularly supplying content. Followers will go elsewhere to stay informed of their industry, passion or interest.