Launching any business is hard. Attracting and retaining clients is even harder. In our Founder lessons series this week, David Jones reveals how he launched and successfully built Sun Jones, a creative design and branding agency to help businesses communicate effectively with their target audience.

Sun Jones was founded and it’s managed by David Jones, an entrepreneur who has been in business for over 15 years and has run a number of different businesses in that time, including the UK’s first on-site canvas printing retail outlets. (If you’re wondering where ‘Sun’ comes from, it’s the last name of David’s wife, who has supported David throughout his career).

Sun Jones specialises in design, branding and web design for SME clients across the UK. Clients tend to use Sun Jones when launching a new venture or rebranding an existing business, although we do cater for general design and web requirements too.

Most projects include brand development (brand naming, visual identity, marketing collateral etc.) and designing or redesigning the client’s website. We also work with clients on a regular basis for ongoing design, web and marketing requirements.

David also worked for the UK’s largest photography chain prior to going into business, as well as the UK’s largest high street print franchise. David draws on his experience to provide clients with a well-rounded view on how they can achieve their objectives and goals.

Why and how Sun Jones started

Sun Jones started as a result of David’s passion for design, combined with a focus on helping businesses achieve their goals and objectives. In particular, David found that brand development was a crucial cog in the success of most businesses and decided to hone in the proposition, marketing the business as a specialist in this area, rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Over time, we’ve developed a structured branding process that ensures a greater chance of success once a project is complete. As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

What have been the biggest success factors

Since incorporation, we’ve had the good fortune of working with some incredible clients, big and small, and seen the impact of our work on their businesses.

Every client that experiences any form of success, whether it’s an increase in turnover, job creation, client retention etc. is a reflection of the quality of work we carry out and the relationships we’ve developed. For us, there’s no better reward than helping another business succeed.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company

Where to begin? Starting a company is massively challenging in so many ways, but the rewards tend to balance it all out if you get it right. In the early stages, generating a pipeline and building up a client base was the biggest challenge.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

It’s got to be the right product, hasn’t it? You can have great people and perfect market conditions but if the product isn’t up to standard word will spread very quickly.

Final words for those chasing the startup dream

Starting a new business requires stamina, determination and lots of positivity.

It also helps if you’re well-funded to begin with. Businesses that start with no cash quickly run into cash flow issues, especially if you depend on the business for a salary.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll give your business a much greater chance of succeeding if you can trade for 6 – 12 months without drawing a salary.

Naturally, I would also add that you have to nail your proposition and get your branding and marketing right. Don’t jump straight into getting a logo and website. Take the time to explore what it is you’re offering your customers.

What problem do you help them solve? Spend as much time as you can developing your proposition and in turn, you’ll find it easier to attract the right customers and become a profitable business.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.

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