Do you know what you’re going to name your website yet? Let’s say, for a moment, that you’re deciding on as your site and business name. Now, let the good times roll. The traffic should be here any minute. Yep. Any minute now…

Oh, no one’s showed up yet? That’s because no one knows who you are. You first have to traffic your business. More importantly, however, you first have to build your brand. And to build a successful brand, you first have to plan the motions.

To sum up what brand planning is, you can think of it like marketing your business as to the point and as positively as possible. Some of the steps in getting your brand out there will undoubtedly include: Defining your mission statement, defining your business metrics and market goals, targeting the right market, evaluating the competition, testing and tracking your brand, and making the necessary tweaks.

An effective brand can help your business in numerous ways. Being seen in a positive light is something that’s contagious in today’s marketplace. A successful brand is a successful business. But before you launch your brand, let’s go over a few essential steps in brand planning.

1. Carve out the time

The first step in proper brand planning is to actually create the time to properly plan. As we’ll ultimately discuss below, you will need to research, to reach out, to plot your course, and to work up your material to launch. This will consume some of your time, and it’s time that you need to set aside. No effective brand is launched in a rush.

2. Research other brands

Your brand has to deal directly with what you’re selling, but it also needs to stand out amongst the competition. When you’re researching a brand, you’re researching how a business is set up and how that business is seen in the public eye. You will deduce the how and the why and quickly realize which steps those successful brands are taking to increase their brand. From there, you can elaborate on the finer points.

3. Seek proper guidance

There’s no shame in seeking help from online PR whizzes or others in the know. In fact, it’s a smart move. You won’t want to rely solely on someone else to help you with your brand, but proper input is a must. You also want to seek input from an audience at large. Seek the opinions of others pertaining to your business idea and goals and make sure your brand evolves.

4. Go through the blueprint stage

This is where most of your work will get done in terms of creating your brand. You’ll want to put together what you’ve gathered so far and look for any key points that may be missing. You’ll want to speak with your audience further, revise your mission and goals, take inventory as to what you’re planning to accomplish, and ultimately set things like a budget, a launch date for your site, etc.

5. Draft and draft some more

A brand isn’t something you launch, per se; it’s something that evolves. It’s essentially the perception of your business and how it’s defined by you and, more importantly, by others. To that end, everything you do in terms of writing and releasing is essentially a draft. Nothing is finalized, because there is no end goal but long-term, ongoing success. What this means is that you need to stay busy in releasing materials that are helpful to your brand.

Your brand will ultimately decide the fate of your business as it grows. You are your business, and you are your brand. Take care in ensuring that your brand says exactly what you want it to say about your overall business.