How do you brand your business when you are on a limited budget?

In my former life (the life I had prior to cake) I worked in marketing and spent a lot of time in the print production side of things. I’ve worked on small projects like business cards and flyers to bigger projects like custom display stands, with metal and plastic fabrication. When you work for a multinational company that has money to spare, you can do LOTS of cool custom stuff to make your brand stand out (think special packaging, display units, cool printed effects – hello holographics!).

Sadly, once you go out on your own and start your own little small business you don’t have that kind of money to play around with anymore. You have to consider every cent (or penny) and ask yourself if you really do need those custom ribbons or if just a ribbon in your business colours will be enough for now.

Coming from a strong marketing and branding background, this was a hard thing for me to adjust to! All I wanted was to create all these amazing branded things so that my little cake business could look super professional.

I will admit I did make a lot of mistakes in the early days by spending money on special packaging and print effects. None of them made a difference to the quality of my brand in the beginning. And when you have just started out you tend to change your mind a lot – at least I did. My logo changed and evolved every 6 months and after the first couple of years I realised I didn’t really like doing cakes or cupcakes anymore, but I still had those words as part of my logo AND a whole bunch of packaging with that logo on it!

As a result of those hard (and expensive) lessons, I’ve learned to be a bit more creative about how I presented my branding. For example, I would choose ribbons and tissues in my business colours and use those to decorate my packaging. And the most cost efficient way I have found to add my logo was stickers. In fact, I still use stickers till this day.

Some sticker examples from products in my store. Some of them have stickers I printed years ago and still use, others came with their own!

Stickers (like those from my friends at StickerYou) are so versatile, and can easily and cost-efficiently make you look super professional. I would get a whole bunch of stickers printed out and then use them on various sized boxes, bags, and products. Updated your logo or don’t like the sticker design anymore? It’s easy enough to get new ones without breaking the bank!

Some of the new stickers I printed with StickerYou. The large delivery sticker is a decal for a car window, and the others are vinyl – great for the outside of packages in the mail!

I do have some tips for producing good quality general/multi-purpose stickers though. Because although they are easy and cost effective, you still want to make sure you think it through before you realise you ordered the wrong size, the wrong type, or it doesn’t match your brand.

Some tips to consider:

  • Think about all the items you’ll want to put stickers on, and the types of stickers you’ll want. Make a list! Start with just your logo for now. Once you finalise that, then you can move on to stickers with funny sayings or quirky phrases.
  • Once you’ve made a list of the items you want to sticker, work out which size of sticker will fit on all those items. Some companies have set sizes to choose from while other companies let you choose your own size.
  • Now that you have decided on the size, you can determine the shape of the sticker and the material. The shape of the sticker will greatly depend on your logo. If your logo is long and rectangular it might look a little out of place on a square sticker for example. Will your sticker need to get wet or need to be grease resistant? The last thing you want to have is grease stains on a paper sticker. Do you want a plain coloured sticker or one with a transparent background (which can increase the cost)?
  • Then finally, how many should you print? This will be determined by your plans and how many uses you have for your sticker. If you are still relatively new, I would not print more than a couple of hundred. If you are more established and know that your sticker will be on multiple products, go ahead and print more. To give you an idea, I had previously printed about 2,000 stickers which I use for all my online store packaging.

Extra business tip – please ensure your sticker has some sort of call to action on it. Don’t just put your logo and assume that people will google you or know who you are. Add your phone number, email or website so that if they do take a picture of your sticker to send to a friend or for their own reference, you make it easy to find your business.

A clear sticker is a great, relatively low cost way to add useful signs to a store

Full disclosure: Recently, I was asked to review stickers by StickerYou in exchange for some sample stickers. And the reason I agreed to do it, was because I know how useful stickers can be in a small business. I don’t want you to spend money on custom packaging (like I did!) if you are not in the position to do so.

They have such a wide variety of options with quick turnaround time that I’m happy to share their business with you. They ship all around the world and can do some pretty cool things aside from stickers like temporary tattoos, scratch-and-sniff (OMG!), magnets, and window decals (great if you have a shop, or to place on your car).

How about a temporary tattoo for a bit of fun? This would be such a cool gift to give your clients as a special bonus 🙂

Their design tools are easy to use so you can design your own stickers with no fuss, OR if that is not your thing, they also have a design service to help you out.

They ship internationally and the quality of stickers I received were super. I am super curious about the scratch-and-sniff ones though! I was so tempted to get some, but honestly, I don’t have much use for them at this moment to justify the minimum order requirement for those specialty stickers (not a problem with their regular stickers). But if any of you do end up getting some, will you send some to me to check out? 🙂 Scratch-and-sniff stickers were my FAVOURITE when I was a kid. I used to just open my sticker book (do you remember those?!) and sit there sniffing them.

If you have any other ways you can brand your business on a limited budget, please do share them with me below!

A roll of smaller stickers is a great way to add a bit of colour in an easy-to-use way

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