The 2000’s have seen a trend in entrepreneurial ventures. People of all walks of life throwing in the ‘corporate’ towel for a chance to be their own boss.

For some, however, achieving that dream doesn’t come so naturally. Not all of us have had the experience of working at the marketing department of a global FMCG or consult for one of the big 5 firms. Most of us are just regular folks; until one day on a quiet rat-race morning, that little voice inside that’s constantly talking of owning its own hipster café, becomes louder than your 7:30 am alarm clock telling you ‘Hey! I want out!’.

As a designer who’s been in the branding and design industry for over ten years, six of them running my own studio, I’ve spent a substantial amount of time working with people who want to do it on their own but all too often their enthusiasm and business knowledge never match.

For that, I’ve put together a road-map to take into consideration when visualizing your future brand.

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Start from the inside out

You have a good business idea. Naturally your next step would be hashing it out into a business plan to put things into perspective. A business plan literally is how you plan to run your business. How it relates to branding is fundamental; a business plan hones your concept, sets your target audience, decides your marketing approach and establishes costs amongst other things. All these factors set the right foundation to build your future business culture and a strong brand identity.

The Creative Search

Your plan is on paper and you’re ready to start creating your brand. As you approach potential agencies to translate your vision to a visual, make sure you do your due-diligence. Ask friends for recommendations, do a web search and try to pick the top three based on their branding portfolios.

Agencies in Dubai may market themselves as a one-stop-shop but the reality is they all have strengths and weaknesses. It’s in your advantage to work with the one that has the most experience in creating strong brand identities within your industry. Also beware of the many interior or web design agencies who pitch for your branding, saying you’ll get a better cohesive and cost-effective package. Often times, the designer working on your account knows little to nothing about what will make your brand connect with your customers and stand out from the competition.

Telling Your Story

Now that you’ve selected your agency and you’ve filled out a branding brief – if you’re not given or asked for one then RUN – it’s time to see your vision turn visual.

The hardest part here is setting emotions and tastes aside; being objective towards what you’re being presented with is essential. Always go back to your core concept and message. It’s also important to note that you can’t say everything in a logo or flyer. A brand is not just a logo, it’s an overall experience.

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You’re all set to launch and it’s finally a reality. Your first year will likely be a positive learning curve of understanding your audience and their perception.

At the start, it’s general practice to go strong with marketing to establish your brand’s presence and build awareness; all part of your consumer’s journey into who and what you stand for. Use the right tools and outlets to deliver on your promise and do so while maintaining consistency because it is not quantity but unchanging quality that will resonate.

To quote Steve Forbes, ‘Your brand is the single most important investment you make in your business.’ – so make sure you do it right.

In 2009, Maya and her business partner set-up their own design studio aiming to provide international quality branding and design that is accessible to all. Today Maya runs 3alama Design Studio, on her own, getting closer to accomplishing her dream of designing to improve people’s lives.