February 27, 2020 | Written by Shannon Hewlko

Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Brand

The visual elements are just one component of building your business.

Step 1 – Business Plan

What value does your business provide? Who does it provide this value for? Getting sharp on your value proposition and purpose will ensure that you can, maintain focus and have a benchmark to measure your effort against. It will help you identify customers, the market potential, outline how you will promote your business, identify start-up costs and financial projections.

Step 2 – Select + Register a Name

Naming is one of the most time-consuming places business owners spend time on, and it can be quite complicated. The first step is to complete a NUANS search. NUANS stands for Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search and is a computerized search service in Canada for comparison of proposed corporate names or trade-marks. Before doing a Nuans search select three names you would be content with as your company name.
Check these names on GoDaddy Domains and relevant social platforms to ensure that you can have a cohesive naming system on all platforms.

Nuans Search  - click here

Website Domain Name

Squarespace Domain Name Search + Account Set up - click here

OR

GoDaddy Domain Search + Purchase - click here

Once you have purchased your domain, you can go ahead and set up your company email on G-Suite or whichever
platform you prefer to use. 

Email Set-up – recommend G-Suite Set up Email

Step 3 – Business Number + Registration

There are various types of tax you need to collect, file and pay to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. To do this you will need a Business  Number, you can file for this online here or make a quick phone call and start using the number immediately. Even though you might not be required to charge GST right away there are tax benefits to registering. If you are making purchases for your business, then you will be able to claim back the GST on those purchases which you would not be able to
do if you don’t have that number. 

Business Registration Information Alberta - click here

Depending on your business there may be specific licenses and zoning + bylaw requirements. Make sure to check with your local bylaws and with your municipality to find out.   

City of Calgary’s website with more information - click here

Step 4 – Trademarking Your Brand

This process can take up to two years, so it is good to familiarize yourself with the information on this website, so you know what you are getting into from the start. 

Items you can trademark:

•  Business Name
•  Website Name - domain name
•  Logo
•  Name of your product or service
•  Company Slogan

Step 5 - Brand Channel Set-Up

Identify all the places your brand needs to be present to best connect with its audience. Secure your preferred naming conventions on relevant online platforms. You can set these up ahead of time. Ensure that you keep the login information and password, so it is convenient for you to update when the time comes. 

Social Accounts

•  Google My Business
•  Facebook 
•  LinkedIn
•  Instagram
•  Mailchimp or newsletter platform

Step 6 – Customer Relationship Management System

Customer Relationship Management is the combination of processes, strategy and technology used to manage and analyze data with the goal of creating a positive customer experience and extending the lifecycle a customer to drive sales within your business. Tracking the process and various ways that you acquire new clients and maintain their business can help with growth and future planning. Using a simple excel sheet or HubSpot's free CRM can help you get started on the right path, right from the start.

Step 7 – Business Insurance

When you run your own business, you carry various risks related to the operations. You might need to ensure property, business assets and investigate liabilities related to your industry that you want to be covered for. Do your research and try to find a provider that has experience with ensuring your specific type of business.

Step 8 – Lawyer

Depending on if you are starting your own business, franchising or purchasing a current business, there are many things to consider. It is important to look for a lawyer that is well versed in your type of business.

A lawyer can help you navigate the following;

•  Liability + Risk Factors
•  Service Agreements + Contracts
•  Additional Owners
•  Tax Benefits
•  Corporate filing fees

Step 9 – Accountant + Bookkeeping

These are separate but important tasks. The bookkeeper ensures your record keeping is in order and aligned with your bank statements. The accountant reviews this material and creates their own filing based on the information you track for them or the bookkeeper tracks. The accountant will be able to advise you of various tax benefits and help you plan for the future and will be able to provide you with a template for tracking your expenses that works to streamline the efforts, potentially saving you money down the line.

Step 10 – Selecting a branding/marketing partner

Now that you have all the business details in order it is important that you chose a partner to help you create the brand elements that will set your brand platform so that it is easy for you to use as you grow. A logo is one important aspect to the brand, but you’ll also want to consider images and tone of voice. There are many routes you can take, Branding 103 can help you make a well-informed decision.

Additional Resources: 
Canada One - Starting A Business
Inc.com - How To Start A Business
Prowess - Set Up A Business Today
Mashable - 8 Legal Steps for Starting Your Business

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