Chip and Joanna Gaines found so much success flipping houses in Waco, TX,that their design style caught the attention of HGTV producers, resulting in their own show Fixer Upper. They have since grown their Magnolia brand into a construction, realty and renovation company with a paint and furniture line, a bed and breakfast, a marketplace to buy home goods, a book and a lifestyle magazine. While most small businesses may not get their own TV show, there are four lessons you can learn about branding from the Gaines family.
1. Focus on community
While the Magnolia realty company does work in other major Texas cities, the rest of Chip and Joanna’s brand reside solely in Waco. One of the reasons their small business was so successful was because they contributed to the community. They often take the roughest looking houses and turn them into beautiful homes, plus they host a number of community events at the marketplace. If startups want their brand to be successful, they have to contribute to the community as much as they are benefitting from it. Startups need to connect with followers and share experiences to build their brand. While you can expand your business to other locations in the future, it is important to focus your attention on the community to help your brand grow into needing multiple stores.
2. Encompassing website
Marketing and sales are important parts of startups surviving beyond their first year. Chip and Joanna understand this concept, because they struggled with money in the early years. While their TV show helps expand their brand, they are also very active on social media and their Magnolia website encompasses their blog and all their business ventures. Startups should post to social media at least once a week and keep their website current to keep followers updated. A small business’s website should display all aspects of the business. A blog on the website is another way to inform visitors of your products and a review section is a great way to get feedback from customers. You can also send surveys or administer interviews to conduct market research and gain customer insight about your business’s website and products.
3. Business plan
When starting a new venture, business plans are important in explaining what you plan to do, the resources you plan to use and what you expect to happen. Although you hope your business will succeed, don’t forget to plan for unexpected problems. When renovating houses, Chip and Joanna often find an unexpected problem often requiring more money than they planned. This requires them to strategize with each other coming up with solutions that often have them giving up part of the original design to allocate that money to the problem. Businesses in any industry should expect the unexpected and plan for every possible occurrence. The solutions should be written into the business plan whether they deal with finances or not to help guide you and your management team on your future path.
4. Customer expectations
Chip and Joanna make sure their customers are always satisfied which is why their brand has a national following and they are filming their fifth season of Fixer Upper. Small businesses have to exceed their customer’s expectations in order to keep them coming back. Provide your customers with the products they are looking for with great service and recommend items they might like for the next visit. Customers will appreciate you taking your time to help them and creating a connection with them. Great customer service should create loyalty among returning customers as well as have them invite their family and friends to try your products. Word of mouth is an important part of a small business’s growth.
While you may not be in the same industry as Chip and Joanna Gaines, you can still learn a lot about branding and creating a successful small business. Startups can be difficult to get off the ground in this shaky economy, but with hard work and dedication even the newest entrepreneurs can create a lasting brand.