Building a Brand
There are many important factors that business owners consider when setting up which take much planning and investment, and important examples of these are brand awareness, marketing and brand recognition. For contractors, however, things are usually a little different, and building a brand is not at the forefront of a contractor’s mind when setting up a company and even landing a contract. Regardless of this, we believe that building a brand still adds value as a contractor, and we’d like to examine why.
We have been working with Ltd Company contractors for years and assist those going Ltd in setting up their company all the way to providing in-depth support many years down the line. An uncommon theme amongst new starters in the contracting field is how they start building a brand, and how clever marketing can assist in making the most of their newly established business. Commonly a contractor is a skilled professional who specialises in a certain field, and the decision to go Ltd comes either as a result of wanting more autonomy over the way in which they work, they believe that they could demand a higher day rate, or they have become disassociated with working as a permanent employee. Rarely does a professional begin contracting work with the entrepreneurial ambition to grow their one-man-band company into a global phenomenon, thus marketing and brand building take a backseat from expertise and experience.
Here are five tips for a contractor to grow their brand.
- LinkedIn – Having a strong presence on LinkedIn can prove invaluable when seeking new contracts, making new connections and gathering interest during periods of inactivity. LinkedIn is the largest professional network and is a hunting ground for recruiters and end clients alike. Having a LinkedIn profile that clearly shows your experience and skill set is a great way of putting yourself ahead of others in landing a contract.
- Website – Many contractors don’t see the value in setting up a company website, but there are several positives that showcasing your experience and skillsets online can achieve. Aside from being a great way of showing prospective clients that you have an established and experienced business, having a company website can even have a positive IR35 impact on your company status. Although it is a minor factor, having a website helps show HMRC that you are a legitimate business on your own account, and are not operating as a disguised employee.
- Business Branding – Good old-fashioned business branding such as business cards, personalised stationery and having your own Ltd Company branded lanyard show clients and recruiters that you are an established and professional contractor and can also be an indicator to HMRC that your business is acting as a legitimate business, which carries weight when proving your IR35 status.
- Client Testimonials – Once you finish a contract it is advised that you request feedback from your end client. Having positive testimonials from colleagues, agencies and clients are a great way of showing off your experience and expertise as a contractor. Using these testimonials, you can put these on your website, LinkedIn account or even your CV to show prospective clients that you are a reputable professional.
- CV – Having a strong CV is a very important factor when seeking new contracts for your LTD Company. A contractor’s CV should reflect their experience and expertise and is the first foot in the door at any agency or end client. Having a good CV is very important and should be something that all contractors put work and time into to ensure that it is a true reflection of their business and brand.
Despite a typical contractor not having a vision of growing their business into a major corporation, building a brand can have very positive effects when landing contracts and negotiating day rates, and having a strong brand around a Ltd Company can be advantageous during a contracting career.