6 Things New Business Owners Overlook When Launching a Brand.

Launching a business can be an exciting time. In my opinion, the process itself is what makes it fun. But keeping the ball rolling is a lot easier said than done. No matter how prepared you are, unexpected occurrences can easily pull the rug out from underneath you. This is why it’s crucial to be able to keep your focus and have a sound game plan. With that said, here are 6 things business owners overlook when developing a product or service.

1. Don’t Plan on Having Many Sick Days.

As an employee, calling in or taking a sporadic vacation isn’t uncommon. Staying in bed because you’re not motivated to get up or you don’t feel well isn’t that big of a deal. The operation still functions without you. But when you’re calling the shots, you better be able to overcome a bad day or night’s sleep. The business is going to need your attention and leadership throughout the infant stages.

Not only is it your responsibility (and what you signed up for), but your attitude is contagious. A lack of passion will most certainly influence employees, customers and any partnerships. If they’re having a rough day, you need to be able to get them going. It’s easy for frustration, doubt and discouragement to creep in. So make sure you have a way to deal with it professionally.

Vacation days aren’t a pipedream – you’re just going to have to work really hard and put a lot of stuff in place before considering a break. When new business owners overlook the minor details, it affects everyone around them. So manage your work/life balance on the front end to keep yourself in the right mindset.

2. The Passion of the People They Hire.

Employees and contractors are not going to have the same passion as you do. You’re the business owner, not them. Expecting everyone to match your energy and tackle everything with zeal is pretty ignorant. They’re not going to care about the brand, service or values like you do. On top of motivating yourself, they need to be led, nurtured and managed. Handing out autonomy without a trial can set you back big time.

Every person is different. They all have different desires, emotions and needs. So instead of forcing them to embody your “perfect representative”, find ways to encourage them to uphold your standards. If they were ambitious enough to take initiative, they’d probably start their own business. But they’re working for you. So do what you can to make them comfortable with accountability

When you understand people, it also gives you a chance to explain your passion and values so they can respect your vision. It’s all about relationships. So if you’re bad with people, start working on it.

3. You Can’t Do Everything Yourself.

One of the most common things new business owners overlook is multitasking. There is plenty of published content about this topic on the world wide web. Wearing too many hats or prideful attempts to do it all yourself can have devastating consequences. Not only can you mess something up and have to pay an expert to fix it, but errors or inconsistencies can negatively impact first impressions.

It may seem like you have everything under control in the beginning, but you can quickly become overwhelmed and inattentive to the business itself. Although it can be tough to trust people these days, it’s important that you develop a process that fills holes, plugs gaps and covers your weaknesses. This way, you can focus on value and the experience. Working harder while repeating mistakes will never fix the problem.

4. The Importance of Judging Character.

Nobody likes the extensive process of hiring. But today, you have to stay on your toes. Resumes, product descriptions and service presentations are extremely craft and sales-heavy. If you’re not a critical thinker or good at reading people, it’s going to be tough to not get burned. Unfortunately, contractors and coaches prey on start ups and hope new business owners overlook their reviews. It’s really bad in the marketing realm.

So do your due diligence before making decisions. Take time to establish brand standards, expectations and what an ideal representative looks like. Good questions provide great insight. Taking the time to find the right people allows you to build upon the foundation instead of constantly starting over. 

5. The Value of a Quality Experience.

There’s a big difference between presenting something as a qualitative option and providing a quality experience. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this already – but the key is to be memorable from start to finish. You can have a great sales process and terrible product. You can have a great product but unappealing marketing. Both scenarios leave money on the table and hurt you from the get-go.

Unless you’re walking through every phase of the customer journey, it’s difficult to have clarity on what the problem is. So do this beforehand to make sure you’re not dropping the ball somewhere. When new business owners overlook the experience, consumers start to overlook them. Waiting for someone to leave a bad review and point out your flaws is hard to overcome. 

6. Initial Struggles and Contingencies.

If you don’t get the results you’re looking for right out the gate, what are you going to do? Are you expecting success? If so, why so? Like I said before, not everyone is going to be willing to feed off your passion. Despite your personal excitement, people may not care. How are you going to respond to overcome or bounce back if you struggle? This is where a sound contingency plan comes in handy. 

New business owners overlook this possibility because many are taught to be optimistic and positive. But the reality is, you have to expect the operation to fail. This way, if it doesn’t, you can take those vacation days.

Be purposeful with everything you do guys, and always remember to PreFocus

3 Good Reasons to Update Website Images.

black and white headshot image of bearded man in suit facing to the right prefocus solutions logo down tunnel purposed to update website images for real estate entrepreneur near memphis tennessee to enhance conversion rates page views and improve seo rankings

Building a high quality website in today’s digital realm isn’t as cheap and easy as many would like to think. From structure, to development, design and messaging – it’s a lot to make sense of. Routine optimization and general maintenance aren’t a walk in the park either. This is why many business owners trust someone else with their money. But if you don’t know what you need, how do you know you’re not getting taken advantage of? Just think about it.

Advantages of Quality Visual Representation.

Any quality website producer should know the importance of original photography. If they don’t at least point out the opportunity, they don’t care. There are plenty of reasons to embrace authenticity and routinely update website images.

1. Meaningful First Impressions.

If you’ve followed any of my content in the past, you know how I feel about stock photos. No matter how you look at it, consumers want to see who’s behind the business and the way it works. Aren’t transparent companies a lot more appealing? Skipping over the chance to establish a unique memory that’s tied to your brand is ignorant. If there’s only one gal at the welcome desk, she ought to be on the homepage. If she doesn’t like being the center of attention, then maybe she shouldn’t be the first touch point.

There’s a sense of reassurance for customers when they’re able to see who they’re talking to or interacting with. Stock photography leaves a lot to be desired. To some, it may even communicate that you have something to hide. When you’re trying to sell me something, you can’t expect me to receive insecurity well. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to update website images from your smart phone. Say hello, show your process, capture an interaction or how something works; you won’t regret it and visitors won’t forget you.

musical-strategic-partnerships-in-memphis-for-sound-production-dj-big3z-holding-quality-headphones-towards-camera-lens-for-updated-website-photography black and white smile first impression

2. Up-to-Date Photos Build Trust.

Out of date information is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make when it comes to website management. Look, I get it. Running an operation is a lot of work. Hiring and firing in itself can be strenuous. The last thing you want to worry about is setting aside time to remove photos or add new faces to the site. But it only becomes more of a hassle the longer you put it off.

Believe it or not, inaccurate communication can leave people misled or even lied to. When you take the time to update website images, (new and old) customers will know that you care about presenting them with accurate information. Even seasonal imagery is of value. You may view your website as a lead generation tool – but consumers view it as an extension of your experience. You expect your friends to posted updated pictures of their families on social media right? If they don’t, does it cause you to think something might be wrong? Think about it.

When Should Brands Update Website Images?

If you move to a new office, make sure old landmarks or location-specific visuals are taken down. Promoting the new place can be a content strategy in itself! It’s not always about selling. During new employee on-boarding (or orientation), add headshots and an “about me” questionnaire to the process. If you’re hosting an event or sponsoring something, take some photos and share them!

Like many things, having a plan always makes things a lot easier to manage. Routinely scheduling company-wide media updates is a good way to generate up-to-date information and reward the culture. If you care about value perception at all, you’ll make it a priority to update website images. It’s one of the easiest ways to stand out in crowded markets. Reviewing content and handing off adjustments doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you don’t want it to be.

woman crawling down blow up water slide tunnel during employee partner event near memphis tennessee for updated website imagery to improve seo and local reach with prefocus solutions

3. SEO Rankings Will Improve.

Many business owners forget that imagery is content as well. Every picture on your website has title tags, an alt text, and is tied to a certain page’s authority. While you may think you’re saving money by avoiding updated photos, it could actually be quite costly. $300 could be driving you an extra conversion every month for the next year. When you have the same image on multiple pages (or you purchase a stock photo many competitors are using), you’re limiting organic reach. The same is true for old photos that aren’t optimized.

Aside from the technical SEO, image file size plays a big role in SEO scores. A picture on your site may load fine on your desktop; but how does it perform on somebody’s phone – while they’re traveling? Not every browser is the same. When images are too big load times suffer. Slow speeds increase bounce rates (leaving in under 10 seconds) and diminish overall search authority. I think we can all agree more organic traffic is a great reason to update website images on a regular basis.

co workers of quality mechanic culture standing outside after a long day in branded attire back of truck black and white edit from low angle by prefocus solutions to update about content website pictures to garner more traffic and customer awareness memphis tn

Additional tips to Update Website Images.

Being purposeful and setting standards is extremely rewarding. When it comes to digital media, one of the best things you can do is establish imagery guidelines and editing styles for certain forms of content. Professional visuals with a “look and feel” that matches the brand identity create an even more memorable first impression. At the end of the day, background images on flyers are going to look a lot different than a featured images on blogs. So define these things!

If you want to implement a cohesive design (or series of designs) for social media posts, then formulate the template on the front end. Doing so has a number of advantages. If you’re in the habit of hiring different contractors when needs arise, structure ensures you remain consistent. It also saves you a lot of money over time. It may seem like overkill to constantly update website images, but trust me, it’s a hidden gem that keeps visitors on site, builds loyalty and improves conversion rates.

Detailed Video Strategy for Personal Training Professional.

front facing on elbows front bridge at professional training gym by prefocus solutions videography services and images near memphis tn for marketing promotion box jumps tribe gym

If you’ve read a strategy of mine before, you know how passionate I am about the front end of things. Hence the name, PreFocus. Whether I’m working on an identity or writing a detailed video strategy; the competency, value and direction of the brand has got to be clear. A solid foundation is key to any quality campaign. Constancy gives you certainty on nearly every endeavor. Anything less becomes a wishy washy front stage or sales pitch. I can go on and on as to why.. But anyways..

Creating video content that’s actually watched is a tall task when you’re wandering aimlessly or chasing trends. In most cases, any direction will help! So I thought I’d write another blog that shows how easy it can be to ask a few questions and dive into your core capabilities (as an individual or group). While this may appear dull and boring, loyal customers want to know more about you and the passion behind your offer. Entertainment and enticement isn’t usually sustainable.

Unique Gym With Individual & Group Training.

When I first met Sarah, she was looking for a videographer that could highlight her gym and equipment. But once we sat down and talked, she realized her potential clients needed to hear from her directly. She wasn’t opening a fitness facility and offering memberships. She was providing a more personal experience that requires trust in her alone. So I told her I wasn’t interested in writing a detailed video strategy that marketed her as a gym.

After listening to her story and vision, I knew it was all we needed to put on film. There wasn’t a greedy bone in her body and it was inspirational to watch her run a class. Although she wasn’t thrilled about being the center the attention, she was enthused by the idea. So I wrote up a proposal that involved photography and got to work.

Process of Writing a Detailed Video Strategy.

Even though I gathered quite a bit of information during my meeting with Sarah, there was still plenty more to find out. The personality of every client is different. Some people do really well with open ended questions; others need me to write out every line. Since this was Sarah’s first time in front of the camera, I knew it would probably take a few shots before her nerves would calm down.

After reviewing my questions and analyzing her answers, we decided that recording one line at a time would be best. I didn’t write out a script because she knew what she needed to say – but she did have a tendency to mesh together her answers. So I wanted to make sure I kept her on track with a few answer summaries and a bunch of hard stops. We even bucketed the questions into 5 categories. I knew I could switch up the angles to ensure the production remained fluent.

The final objective was to create a long form “about video” and 5 separate productions that maximized her online reach. Solidifying all of this on the front end made sure the client knew what to expect. As a result, she was better prepared for the video shoot. Even though Sarah wasn’t anticipating a detailed video strategy of this sort, she bought into the process and saw the fruit of vulnerability. Let’s take a look at the outline and shot list.

Structuring the Media Shoot With Intention.

 As you can see, everything about this project was geared towards the client’s comfort levels. The last thing I wanted to do was show up with a mic and camera lens in her face. Kicking off with the headshot photographer allowed us to work towards more confident poses as we slowly chipped away at nerves.

By the time we started taking action shots, the client found a nice groove and was acting a lot more natural. This was perfect for B roll video footage. Once we were satisfied with her profile images, we started to focus more on the equipment. This gave the client a few minutes to freshen up and review the detailed video strategy before we started filming. I was really happy with the way everything played out.

Questions From the Personal Trainer’s Video Strategy:

The first two sections were focused on the client’s story, experience and journey as a professional.

How has your life surrounded health and fitness?

    • Drawn to sports since child (versatility).
    • College athlete runner (training variations).
    • Body building (strength and discipline).
    • Trained for CrossFit but didn’t like it (searching).
    • Focused on free weights and transition to TRIBE (happy place).

I felt the need to script this section because each bullet point is a key component of her story. I wouldn’t have been able to break this down if I didn’t take the time to explore Sarah’s origin and passion for fitness. Instead of just telling people about her journey, we wanted to explain how it equipped her to better serve her members.

What have you learned most along your fitness journey?

  • What tips would you have for people looking to step it up?
  • What have you struggled with or needed help with along the way?
  • What are a few things you think people struggle with?
  • Working out
  • Eating healthy
  • Discipline for new regimen/consistency?

Here is another section that I felt the need to guide her on a little bit. She had so many lessons that it was hard for her to summarize them well. So I wanted to ask her the broad question and then record her speaking on each of the sub points. This allowed me to use different pieces of each recording to tell the story best. If she rambled about something, I was able to pull a more precise clip from my library.

The next category is geared towards fitness misconceptions and differentiating her experience.

What are the perks of group classes and training?

  • Why do you think some people are intimidated by group fitness?
  • What are some of the common misconceptions?
  • What would intimidate most people about joining your gym?
  • What would surprise those with assumptions or that are skeptical?
  • What do you bring to a fitness program?
  • How are you helping people overcome their struggles (above)?

The last two categories were focused on the culture she’s a part of and trying to create. In other words, the vision of the brand.

Why did you choose to align with the TRIBE brand?

  • What relationship do you have with owner?
  • Why do you believe in TRIBE’s “unique programming?”
  • What is it exactly? (Xfit-esc, body building, HIIT, body weight, etc)
  • What was it about the culture? (welcoming, novices/not intimidating, supportive)
  • Members fall in love with themselves, Avoid boredom, discrimination, intimidation and sustain health.
  • Define then Describe “a soft place to land.”
  • What type of culture are you trying to create?

If you’re not taking the time to expand on the foundational elements of your business, you can’t expect to be seen as anything but an option.

What makes you qualified to lead people?

  • What makes you qualified to lead fitness classes?
  • What type of person would love TRIBE and why?
  • What can people expect after signing up for TRIBE?
  • What is your favorite quote or name one that encompasses the gym?

Analyzing the Fitness Video Strategy.

Some of these questions are really tough to answer. It’s why you don’t see a lot of personal training professionals answering them. Not only did this detailed video strategy improve Sarah’s confidence – but it also gave her tons of ways to explain the value of her gym. You see, marketing isn’t just about selling – it’s about telling. Nobody has the same story, let alone vantage point. Unless you’re willing to really dig deep into the roots of your brand, you can leave a lot of opportunity and growth on the table.

After wrapping up this project, Sarah had more than enough video content to schedule out months in advance. Nearly every production could be broken down into even smaller videos that spoke on specific things her audience is actively searching for. Since she received exclusive rights to all recordings, all she has to do is access her library and make a request. Although it was a lot of work on the front end, she can now focus solely on serving her customers!

Be purposeful with everything you do guys, and always remember to PreFocus.

Looking for Video Services in Memphis?

Book a free consultation to learn more about developing a PreFocus strategy.

What Does Brand Clarity Mean?

When you understand who you are and the descriptive phrases that define your business, you really begin to develop brand clarity. You start to realize how you should be marketing. What you should be saying – and how you should be saying it. Most importantly, developing an identity helps you understand WHO will value your message the most.

Why is it so Important to Clarify Branding?

Promoting brand clarity not only strengthens your voice but it helps you define your customers. But this doesn’t involve labeling and assumptions. I’m referring to a thorough understanding that evolves as they do. When you know who will buy into your unique value, it’s a lot easier to figure out where your message will be received best (or what marketing channel makes the most sense).

Many businesses are afraid that doing this will pigeon hole the brand and limit their reach. But they don’t realize that mimicking others or conforming to industry standards simply places them into a bucket of options. They’re not actually doing anything to be remembered when it matters the most. Does your brand voice speak to an ideal target audience at every phase of their unique buying cycle?

Can you imagine how much more effective your marketing would be if this was solidified on the front end?

Brand Clarity Evokes a Quality First Impression.

What I can’t seem to wrap my head around is the simple fact businesses are afraid to BE themselves. They’re afraid of being vulnerable. That people (or customers) won’t accept them. That they won’t like them. Like potential customers are just a number. Just a demographic. That they’re all the same. That they have the same thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires and emotions. But, they’re not all the same.. and neither is your business.

Consumers Trust Who They Can Identify With.

People are looking for something to believe in. Something to get behind. They want to buy into brands that that take the time to understand who they are. That know their why. That communicate their how. That know their purpose and understand their value. They want to support brands that are willing to strong arm their position in the marketplace with confidence and certainty.

Don’t be basic and you won’t be viewed that way. Strive to be recognizable, harness your identity and your customers will embrace your brand clarity.

Need to Improve Brand Clarity?

Our initial discovery session will never involve a sales pitch. 

Creating a Shot List for Original HVAC Marketing Images.

When it comes to marketing a service-based business, an authentic approach is always best. When you think about it, nothing is more nurturing than media that paints an accurate picture of your culture, capabilities, and (of course) the experience. Potential customers love a good preview of what they might pay for. Even though sound pictures and quality videography can be easily developed internally, working with a professional to create a shot list presents many advantages. Here’s an example of an original HVAC marketing project I worked on a few years back.

Understanding the Branding.

Although the development of a media shoot may seem like a simple process, all things must be considered. After a few discovery sessions, I was able to get a good feel for what the company wanted to accomplish as well as what their capabilities were. Meeting all of the technicians also gave me an opportunity to determine who was best suited to be in front of the camera.

Since the family-owned business had been around for more than 30 years, I wanted to incorporate their traditional values as much as I could. While this usually has more to do with the editing (and content development) process, it’s still a good idea to know what you’re aiming for when writing a shot list.

Presenting a Plan to Leadership.

After gathering my thoughts, I drafted up a plan to present to the owners and management team. This included my core objectives and a pre-shoot checklist to review. After revising (and adding) a few things, everyone was happy with the direction of the brand’s original HVAC marketing efforts. Sitting down with everyone really gives us an opportunity to come up with some really good ideas.

As you can see below, we wanted to be sure to deliver a quality product and experience.

A smooth-running shoot takes a lot of work on the front end. While there is most certainly a lot for me to manage, an efficient process relies heavily on the participation of the business. Providing direction and making sure they’re prepared is usually appreciated by all parties.

Mapping Out the HVAC Media Session.

While a shot list is crucial to a successful shoot, structuring the flow is just as important. Since this original HVAC marketing project involved a lot of people, I wanted to give everyone a visual of where we were starting and ending the session. This allowed us to create overflow areas for participants when they weren’t needed

As you can see, we started at in the back lot (where the morning sun was best) and worked our way into the team meeting before capturing a team picture and the vehicles (in brighter light). We ended at the front of the building for a virtual tour and headshots inside the showroom (to avoid direct sunlight). All of this was purposed.

Shot List for Original HVAC Marketing.

Once the structure and outline was final, filling in the shot list was a piece of cake. Having extensive conversations gave everyone clarity on what we would be capturing and when. Nonetheless, it’s not uncommon for corporate photo shoots to get a little hectic. So I wanted to make sure we kept things simple during the first hour.

Upon arrival, there was definitely some maneuvering to do. So, I’m glad we structured the itinerary this way. As I briefed the entire company at 8am, my photographer was able to get some really good shots of team leadership in a meeting setting. The rest of the team had plenty to do to make sure the media session stayed on track. Without a plan, this could have thrown us off an hour or two – which then would have affected our lighting. 

As you can see, there was a lot of different angles and scenarios that we wanted to capture in a short window of time. The settings, placement and preparedness made it all possible. Since we had two shooters, we were able to produce tons of original HVAC marketing content for the client. 

During the last hour of the media session, I wanted to create a conveyer belt like experience for individual and department photos. As one photographer captured some of the equipment, tools and office space – the other managed the headshots. We had each team member walk through a series of different poses so there would be a variety of imagery for their about page and social media posts. You never know when you’ll want to highlight the personality of someone at the office!

Concluding the HVAC Media Session.

Once technicians were done with their individual portraits, they were able to head to work for the day. We then spent an hour or two interviewing the owners and helping them create some videos for form submissions and process overviews. All of the media from this project was implemented immediately across multiple channels.

Developing a Shot List for Your Brand.

If you live in the Memphis area and you’re looking for some help with your media, you can never go wrong with a PreFocus! Whether you hire me or not, I take pride in offering detailed feedback and direction that benefits any acquisition attempt. The more authentic your tactics are, the better they will perform. Nonetheless, I hope reading about my original HVAC marketing strategy blesses your efforts!

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