As part of our vision to create a community where businesses can come and learn about how to grow, we are doing a series of interviews with business owners and executives that highlight what has helped their businesses grow.
Today’s interview is with Sara Conte, Co-Founder of PrestoBox.com.
1. Can you give a brief overview of what PrestoBox does for our readers?
Sure, PrestoBox is a startup software company and the world’s first automated branding agency. It’s the perfect option for small businesses who want more than the online DIY templates, but who can’t afford an agency. The “Brand Genie” automatically matches small businesses with a recommended brand personality through 12 easy questions (backed by 10 years of research and the latest technology). Small businesses can then quickly build a cohesive and well designed Brand Kit, including a logo, business card, and website.
2. What is your vision for PrestoBox?
Our vision is to bring branding to the masses. In the past, small businesses had to spend thousands of dollars and take months of time to determine their brand. With the Brand Genie, it happens in a snap. Small businesses need brands as much as big companies. Brands help small businesses tell their story and connect with their customers.
3. In looking at your website, it is amazing that you are able to deliver a complete branding package and website for under $100. What is even more amazing is that you have eliminated a lot of the challenges normally associated with creating a brand and a website. Can you speak to the branding process and how its simplicity has played a role in your success?
Oh thanks! Simplicity is a big compliment. We take a complex and expensive process and make it easy and affordable. Our founder, Elicia, developed this unique methodology in an offline way first while running her branding agency. We added technology, millions of design options and a team of people passionate about solving this problem for small businesses. That’s how we created this platform for scale. It also helps that we’re partnered with Weebly for our websites – arguably the best technology on the market servicing 30 million customers.
4. In general, what have been the key factors to your growth?
We are growing primarily through strategic partnerships and content marketing. There are a lot of companies already laser focused on serving the small business market. We offer them a fun, easy and affordable new solution for their existing users.
5. Is there a specific story that stands out to you where a customer was really impacted by what you do?
One of my favorite customers is Susan Philpot, a woman who is starting a coaching business in Austin, Texas. She wanted a jumpstart for her business – and needed to look polished. The Brand Genie gave her just that – and more. She was online and ready for business in a matter of days. She just kept telling us, “I love it.”
6. It looks like you have had success reaching out to the media and influencers. How did you manage those efforts?
A combination of efforts – some reached out to us – and others we targeted. We haven’t done a full push for media coverage. Instead, we are really focused on getting helpful information out to small businesses about branding (content marketing).
7. Any advice for other business owners who are looking to grow?
My advice is to clearly set goals and then outline the steps to reach them. Growing a small business can be really tough. Celebrate every milestone and learn from your missteps. Listen to advice, but be true to yourself. Nobody has all of the answers.
Thank you Sara for your time! This interview highlights one of The Way Company’s core principles, the importance of understanding what challenges your offering is helping customers overcome. Yes, PrestoBox has a created a great product that delivers automated branding, but it is also working to eliminate the need for small businesses to spend thousands of dollars or months worth of effort developing a great brand.
To learn more about PrestoBox or build your business branding package visit their website at prestobox.com.
Your logo represents your business. It’s the entryway to your brand and should make your customers feel welcome from the start. Use the checklist below to create a logo that’s right for you.
1. Define Your Brand
When creating a logo, it’s critical that you lay the foundation of who you are, what you stand for and how this idea looks in colors, fonts and images. Put this into a brand statement – what do you stand for? Make absolutely sure that your logo reflects your brand.
2. Make it Simple and Practical
Too many small businesses create fussy, complicated logos. The most effective logos are often the simplest (think Nike, Coca Cola, IBM). Sometimes all you need is a professional type treatment. Make sure you create a logo that is legible in all sorts of spots big and small, wide and narrow. It should look good in black and white. It should be easily reproducible. And please don’t use clip art.
3. Look at Your Competitors
Check out your competition. Make sure your logo stands out in a good way.
4. Ask Your Friends
Get feedback from your friends (customers, suppliers, employees, etc). Ask them how your logo makes them feel. What do they think of when they see the logo? If you’ve got it right, these comments should match your brand statement.
5. Make it Offline/Online Ready
You will need various file formats for your logo.
6. Protect It
Do extensive online research for who is using your name and possibly similar logos. Check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to see if there are other companies using your name, or a similar logo. Work with an attorney to do an official trademark search and to file for a trademark. Make sure there are no major infringements you launch.
Once you’ve ticked these boxes, start using your logo. Put it on all of your marketing materials, your invoices, your t-shirts, the side of your truck, and more. Remember your logo is just the tip of your brand image. Use complementary and consistent colors, images, fonts, patterns and brand voice in all you do. Create a brand guide and distribute it through the company so everyone knows what you stand for – and what that looks like. Give your logo life with a full brand ecosystem.
Sara Conte is a frequent contributor to online discussions about strategy, branding and entrepreneurship.