5 Steps to Brand Your Startup for Success Knowing what separates those businesses that bottom out from those that bubble up is what can make all the difference.

By Carolina Rogoll

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

About 476,000 new businesses are created each month according to reports. Many will struggle during the first few years -- and half will fail.

On the other hand, half will succeed.

Knowing what separates those that bottom out from those that bubble up is what can make the difference in the health and longevity of a startup. A solid, defined brand -- the driving force within a company and the promise to its customers that both moves the business forward and keeps it on track -- is essential to a business's success.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. "We're going to be green." "We're going to be the company that cares." "We're going to be luxury." There are 30 million companies in the U.S. alone -- each one with its own brand. How do you find a place for your new business in all this? How do people recognize you through all this chatter?

While each brand is different, there's a similar path that successful companies take to find their place.

Related: What Great Brands Know: Commit and Stay Committed

1. Clearly define your business idea

You need to have a clear place in the market. Think about what makes your product or service different versus others in the marketplace. Once clear on what you offer and where you'll play, focus on how you can do it in a superior way.

Cinnabon started in 1985 with a very clear idea -- become "the world's best cinnamon roll." Now they're a global phenomenon.

It all starts with a clear business idea and a compelling, superior offering.

2. Have an 'ideal' for your business

Successful brands are typically fueled by a bigger vision or ideal other than financial success. An ideal serves as a guidepost that will keep your business on track and help it become a brand rather than another product. This will help establish a solid loyalty with like-minded customers. To find this for your business, fill in the blank: "We exist to_______."

3. Identify your target

Your product won't appeal to all consumers in the marketplace, and it can be very expensive to try to do so. A well-defined target will help you build a better product and come up with better ideas. Create a vivid picture of your ideal target consumer, and focus your efforts on them.

Related: Your New Brand Should Be an Extension of Yourself

4. Understand your business's math

You need to understand the basic math that determines how viable your business can be. You should be able to answer simple questions such as: "How much does it cost to produce the product?", "How much do I need to sell it for?" and "How long will it take to pay out?" A successful business is one that creates value and generates profit.

5. Have a plan

Draw up a brand plan -- a physical document that describes what you want your brand to stand for, what you'll offer, which customers you want to attract, how you'll reach them, how you'll make money (this is your business model) and how you'll measure success.

This not only brings discipline to your business endeavor, but also becomes the business plan to share with potential investors down the road.

Remember that creating a brand is a lot like interactions with people: We become acquainted, we try their goods or services, we decide whether we like them or not, and then we begin to have -- or not have -- a longer, deeper and more profitable relationship.

Related: How to Get Customers Raving About Your Brand

Wavy Line
Carolina Rogoll

Branding Expert, Author of Star Brands, Faculty School of Visual Arts

 Carolina Rogoll is a branding professional on the faculty of the first-ever masters in branding program at the School of Visual Arts and author of Star Brands.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics

Business News

More Americans Are Retiring Abroad, Without a Massive Nest Egg — Here's How They Made the Leap

About 450,000 people received their social security benefits outside the U.S. at the end of 2021, up from 307,000 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration.

Business News

Woman Ties the Knot at White Castle Almost 30 Years After the Chain Gave Her Free Food as a Homeless Teen

Jamie West was just 12 years old when she ran away from the foster care system.

Business News

New York Lawyer Uses ChatGPT to Create Legal Brief, Cites 6 'Bogus' Cases: 'The Court Is Presented With an Unprecedented Circumstance'

The lawyer, who has 30 years of experience, said it was the first time he used the tool for "research" and was "unaware of the possibility that its content could be false."

Business News

Lululemon Employees Say They Were Fired for Trying to Stop Shoplifters

Two Georgia women say Lululemon fired them without severance for trying to get thieves out of the store.