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    7 September 2012

    As any entrepreneur knows, running a successful business takes time, effort, and commitment. Without these three factors in play, many business owners can be shown the door to failure.

    According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), more than half of all small businesses close their doors in the first five years, while two-thirds are out of business after a decade. The reasons for such failures include lack of capital, poor planning, and not enough business experience. With that in mind, it’s hard for entrepreneurs to strike gold even once, but twice – that’s when the real expertise comes in.

    One problem lies in how the companies branded themselves initially – if they’re known for tech solutions, for example, their audience may be confused by a move toward movies. How can entrepreneurs build a general brand that allows them to make these transitions?

    What’s the Bigger Picture in Mind?

    One thing I’ve learned while connecting with other entrepreneurs is that they usually have the bigger picture in mind. The Internet has revolutionized the way entrepreneurs think. In the past, one big idea was enough, and that idea was limited in terms of marketability and reach. Nowadays, an idea has unlimited potential; more advertising channels have opened, and people connect online to expand upon, and collaborate over, their ideas.

    It is crucial to come up with a solid brand right from the beginning, but the brand should not limit growth potential. Many businesses these days have versatile company names that can be used for other ventures as they expand and grow. For instance, our business is called Next Level Internet Management. But the term “Next Level” can be used for any company hereafter: Next Level Mortgage, Next Level Grocery, etc. For now, we’ll stick with what we know best – Internet marketing – but having a name that doesn’t typecast allows our company the opportunity for growth in the future.

    If a business starts with a strong base, it is possible to branch out to a new venture successfully. I would recommend that an entrepreneur perfect his initial business in terms of branding, social sites, and, of course, offering a solid product or service. For example, if I started a mortgage company under my Next Level name and my Internet marketing company hadn’t performed up to the standards we’d promised our clients, I would never expect a person to take my new venture seriously. Businesses don’t always have to be connected, but if you have created a good name for yourself, that will create trust and loyalty across other ventures.

    Find the Connection and Creativity in Business

    As a marketer, I can always find a connection between businesses, even if there doesn’t seem to be one. This is where creativity comes into play. Create a need for the new product by writing creative blog posts. Slowly introduce the new business or product on social sites, and pay attention to customer feedback. The connection may not seem apparent in the beginning, but as you listen and engage with customers, a branding idea may arise.

    There are certain cases where a business owner may not want the new business to have any affiliation with the old one. If the old business was not successful or an entrepreneur wants to start with a clean slate, then rebranding is necessary. The good news is that many marketing tactics can be used across different business niches.

    Every business needs the essentials – a blog, a website, and social media – to be successful, but not everybody knows how to implement these needs.

    Conversion to Higher Profitability is a Must

    Part of Next Level Internet Management’s expertise lies in making websites and/or products convert to higher profitability. Money is saved long-term when a site is designed well from the beginning. Some of the smallest details are the most important, and if they are overlooked, it could mean the difference between making a profit and making a living.

    The beauty of marketing is that no matter how inexperienced a business is, it can position itself as a leader in its respective industry. Of course, having a nice-looking website can only carry a business so far. There must be a quantifiable amount of evidence that a company can do what it says it can do. There’s no better way to gather proof than testimonials.

    Ask those who are affiliated with your business or product to write a review. When searching through Amazon.com, most people go straight to the customer review section before buying. People want to know that a product works – according to the people who’ve already tried it.

    Never Forget the Customer When Starting a Business

    When starting a business, it’s important to start with the customer in mind. A lack of research sets the stage for failure. A business can begin with the best product, the best staff, or even the best technology, but if it isn’t tailoring its product to the specific needs of its customer, it will not succeed.

    Research can be conducted in several different ways; online questionnaires and feedback are useful, as is studying how competitors have succeeded or failed. Hard numbers and statistics can also be incorporated on a website so people can clearly see how well your product or business is doing.

    While it can seem overwhelming to start a new venture or expand your business vision, the possibilities are endless if you design flexibility into your brand. Are you game for the challenge?

    Benjamin Klein is the owner and CEO of Next Level Internet Management, a digital marketing agency specializing in maximizing exposure for corporations large and small, from startups to multinational brands. Visit the Next Level Blog to receive valuable free resources to help you take your Internet marketing to the next level.

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    One Response to How to Rebrand Yourself with Your Second Business

    1. MicroSourcing September 10, 2012 at 1:35 am #

      It’s true that the brand shouldn’t inhibit the business’ potential growth, although there’s always the possibility of re-branding in the future if business owners feel that their company has expanded beyond what they initially envisioned. Attempts to re-brand aren’t always successful, however.

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