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One of the most important steps to take when starting a new business is establishing your brand. Having a set color palette, font style, logo, and voice will help all of your materials feel cohesive. This makes your brand look more professional and increases your clientele’s trust.

Don’t take this step until you have created a business plan and potentially sourced some funding for your business—or have a steady string of clients. It’s easy to get excited about your new idea and jump in with both feet—spending money on your look before developing and honing your product or service. This process takes time and you will want to have space for reflection.

Assuming that you have all of your ducks in a row, where do you begin?

One of the easiest steps is to pick your brand’s colors. I recommend up to three primary colors and three secondary colors. Limiting the number of colors you use and defining specific hues allows you to be consistent across multiple platforms and will give your brand a cohesive feel. Your brand color scheme might look something like the one depicted here.

Once you have chosen your color palette, you can get to work on the design for your logo. This is something you may have to hire out, but a good logo is worth the money. Your logo should be fairly simple and easy to read from a distance. Some excellent examples of what I am talking about are the Nike logo, Instagram, and Apple. Their logos are unique, simple, and easily recognizable from a distance. They can also be used with or without words. For example, the Nike logo may appear with or without the brand name accompanying it:

You will also need to decide what your brand fonts are. These will be the fonts you use on your website, as well as in any email you send out or anything else you release to the public. Pick something that is easily legible and simple. You can also choose more than one. You might use one font for headers and one font for body text. When you are first starting out, it is a good idea to pick something that is fairly standard so that you don’t have to use special plug-ins to use your font on your website. However, if there is a font that you just HAVE to have, that’s ok. You will just need to put in a little extra time to be sure that you can use it across all of your platforms.

Finally, you will need to write a mission statement. This statement should include your core values. Why did you start this business in the first place? Be sure to speak from the perspective you want to use across the board. So if you want to speak from the first person, do so in your mission statement. If you want to speak from the collective point of view, then speak from the third-person perspective in your mission statement. The language you use here will set the tone for all future communications your brand publishes so make sure you put in a good amount of effort when polishing it up!

Now that you have finished branding your business, you can start building a website or developing your social media page. There will be another article on building your website following this one.