business branding on a budget
Starting a new business from scratch is hard and starting one that looks professional from Day One is even harder! Especially when you are doing business branding on a budget and don’t want to invest much money before you really know if it’s going to pay off.
But it is possible to create business branding on a budget and achieve something beautifully branded with minimal spend. Here I show how you can set yourself up for less than AU$400 (US$297).
Note: All Pricing information is as a guide only, last updated 6th July 2016. US to AU Conversion Rate used = 1.35.
Disclosure: Any affiliate link is listed with a * next to it but there are only a couple of those and I only recommend things I have used myself.
It all Begins with a Name
The first step in any business branding on a budget is to register it! In Australia (apologies for any outside of our beautiful country… you might need to google this one!), getting an ABN is free and can be done online through the Australian Business Register.
Once you have that you can go on to register your business name. You don’t need to do this if you are just going to operate under your own name, but if you want something different you need to take this step. To see if your name is available you can look it up here. Then you can register your name of choice here.
Important Side Note: Before you go ahead and register your name, make sure it is also available as a website domain name and for your social media handles. I go into this a little bit more in another post 8 Steps to Creating your Ideal Website.
ABN Registration – Free
Business Name Registration (1 year) – $34
Registering your Website
Once you have a name, the next step is to register your website (and while you are at it, your email and social media accounts). I go into this in a lot more detail in the website post mentioned above.
This is the most expensive investment you will make with your setup but probably the most important. Personally, my platform of choice is WordPress due to is flexibility and I use Bluehost* for my hosting. but feel free to shop around to find something that suits your needs. But there are plenty of other alternatives out there so by all means, shop around.
For a .com.au
To get a .com.au website address you need to first register your name with an Australian Domain provider (as you need to be the registered own of an ABN to get it).
I registered my .com.au with Crazy Domains including domain privacy protection for $36.98 for 24 months.
Privacy protection is also recommended so your personal information doesn’t appear on public records for people to spam you from.
Hosting and Registrations for a .com, .net, or .org
In addition to your .com.au registration, you will need to find a host. You might also want to register a .com version while you are at it.
To host via Bluehost* it costs from around $3.95 – $11.95 a month, but at a minimum, you probably want to start with the US$5.95 “plus” plan. This includes registration of one domain name (such as .com or .org) and all the hosting.
If you choose to get a .com version of your URL as well, the extra privacy protection for this is US$11.88.
Business Email Address
One other thing you should consider getting here is an email address for your business. It looks so much more professional to have firstname.lastname@example.org than XYZBusiness@gmail.com. And it actually doesn’t cost too much.
Personally, I use Google Apps for Work. This gives you not only the above email address but also a business calendar, online storage and more. Starting cost is US$5/user/a month.
.com.au Registration including privacy – $36.98
Hosting (incl .com registration & privacy) – $112.43
Google Apps for Work (email address) – $81.00
Once you have a website, it’s time to make it look great! You’ll need the basics in place: the logo, your colours and your fonts. But you’ll also need to think about website themes and business cards.
I go into branding in a lot more detail in this post – 10 Steps to DIY your Brand – but as a rough pricing guide, you can follow the below.
You want to make sure you find something that is functional but also looks fairly similar to what you want your site to look like (this makes it so much easier in the long run).
You can purchase themes from a range of places including Etsy and Mojo Marketplace. I personally love the range on Creative Market which you can get from as little as $2 to into the $100’s. But for most themes, you should be able to find something you love for around US$49.99
Getting a logo made is a cornerstone of your business and this is one that it might be worth investing on a graphics designer to do it. But if you are strapped for cash you can also source premade logos or logo design kits on Creative Market from anywhere between a couple of dollars and a few hundred. Budget around $20 for this.
Note: You will require Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to work with these logos but you can get a trial online versions for the length of time it will take you.
Colours, Photos and Other Graphic Elements
I provide a great list of free resources for this in last week’s post so check those out there!
One “offline” thing I recommend all businesses get is Business Cards. You never know who you are going to meet in person so it is handy to always have something on hand to give out with your web address and social connections.
In Australia you can design your own online at Vistaprint and get them to print 250 of them for you for $19.99 + shipping (but be sure to keep an eye out for specials as they have them regularly!).
Website Theme $66.15
Colours, Fonts, Logos, Photos – Free
Business Cards $19.99
TOTAL INVESTMENT AU $377.55
So there you have it, a professionally branded business for less than AU $400!
As mentioned above, I’ve also got a big list of additional free resources for things such as graphics design, email, productivity and scheduling which you might also find interesting. See that here.
But as a final note, to round this post out I’d like to make a few more suggestions for if you have anything in the budget left to spend:
1. Professional Logo Design
2. ConvertKit or MailChimp Paid for your Email List & Automation
3. Register Similar Domain Names
4. Get your Own Photos or Pay for Stock Photos
5. Paid Social Media Tools like Grum and Iconosquare for Instagram or Tailwind or BoardBooster for Pinterest
If you are on the start of your business journey, I hope that information has helped give you an idea of what you need to do.
Let me know in the comments below what other resources you have found that have really helped when starting out.