Today’s guest post is written by Micah Smith

It’s pretty safe to say no one likes a crappy economy. Salaries and jobs have been cut, people have lost their homes and livelihoods, gas prices have gone through the roof, and many people are starting from scratch.

The good news is incredible things tend to rise from the ashes. Because of that, in the midst of the economic confusion, entrepreneurship is flourishing.

As it turns out, most people didn’t love the job they lost; they just worked there because it offered security and a paycheck. And when security becomes insecure, it gives us more reason to trust ourselves and start something new.

With so many going out on their own, the process has been well-documented and articulated from a business perspective, but it’s easy to overlook these three basic elements that will show off your expertise to consumers from day one.

  1. An Awesome Website. Let’s face it, we’re a culture of limited time and snap judgments. And we know what a good online presence looks like. If you’re determined you can put your website on the back burner and skate by for a year or two on a hosted template, think again. The first thing someone will do when they hear about you is visit your website. If it isn’t professional, they’ll make the same judgment about you.
  2. An Elevator Pitch. I know. You’re new at this. You had to memorize your corporate elevator pitch the first day on the job, so writing your own pitch isn’t something you’ve had to do before. It also happens to be one of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur, because we tend to spend more time than anyone else coming up with new ideas and dwelling on the possibilities. Unfortunately, you can’t spend 20 minutes spouting off all the things you do, want to do, and think you’ll do in the future to a potential customer or client. You just can’t.
  3. A Well-Rounded Brand. Okay, so this one’s a little more abstract. We usually like to think that “brand” is synonymous with “household name,” but that’s not true. Any company – no matter how small – can be a brand. Brands are simply shortcuts that make it easy for people to remember and spread the word about companies. Your awesome website, elevator pitch, logo, and marketing and social media strategy are all part of your brand, but they need to be cohesive in order to make sense and be sharable. Branding takes some strategy, but it’ll pay off in the long run.

Entrepreneurship is a huge undertaking and it’s easy to get tunnel vision trying to figure out the mechanics of a new company on the inside. The inner-workings are hugely important, but if you neglect the details that explain what you do, those inner-workings won’t matter. It’s all about the customer, people! If they’re going to see it, make it good.

So, I’m dying to know: Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to be? What’s working for you? What isn’t? Your experience will help inform everyone else’s.

Micah Smith is part of Proof Branding, a full-service branding company specializing in small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. Proof has recently introduced Launch to help aspiring entrepreneurs travel from the idea phase to new company. You can follow them at @proofbranding.