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The Importance of a Logo and Updated Marketing Materials

The initial lack of customers and cash flow often causes new small business owners to put off designing a logo and marketing materials professionally "until they get a few clients" or "until they get started." Unfortunately, designing their own marketing materials when they launch their businesses instead of having them professionally created will make getting those initial clients more difficult and may result in a business that will not succeed.

Many entrepreneurs choose to design their own marketing materials when they launch their businesses, especially by creating their first business card. Or sometimes they will have an amateur designer, friend, or relative create the design. There are several reasons why this is not the best idea. How Much Does a Brand Cost? An amateur logo design and business card can make your business more likely to fail for a number of reasons.

Your business will not look stable. It will appear to be more likely to fold or to fail. Clients will not have confidence in doing business with you. Would you do business with someone who seems to be on unstable footing and who might not be in business by the end of your project or after you have purchased an item?

You will look like a very small business. Large, successful businesses would never consider doing business without professional, originally designed marketing materials. Using materials that are not professionally designed (i.e., Microsoft or Vistaprint templates) makes your business appear even smaller and can possibly indicate that you cannot perform to or meet the standards required. Read more on Why Your Company Needs a Brand.

You will look unpolished and rough. Not having a professional "look and feel" can make it appear as though your business does not matter to you. Customers may get the impression that you do not care about the way your business presents itself, which might indicate that you would not care about the quality of your work or the way that your work reflects upon their business.

You will look unfocused. Unprofessional, uncoordinated marketing materials can make your business look "jumbled" or confused. If you have a business card with one look and feel and a Web site with another, this creates a confused -- and confusing -- look and feel for your business. This can also cause an identity crisis for a small business. When looking at your differently designed materials, potential clients may be fooled into thinking that they are looking at materials that represent different companies.

The Importance of an Updated Logo and Marketing Materials

About half of all businesses fail within their first few years. One source of failure that is commonly cited by experts is sloppy or ineffective marketing. If your marketing materials do not stand out from those of your competitors, your sales will suffer.

When you start a business, you need to create the quickest possible route to business success. A logo helps to create this by contributing to your business's visibility, credibility, and memorability -- three factors that will help your business to grow and achieve success. So, while putting off your logo development may seem like a prudent idea from a cash-flow point of view, it could result in your business never getting off the ground. It can also lead to your business folding when it would otherwise succeed.

If you think that you can't afford to design a logo when starting your business, consider the outcomes -- how can you afford not to?

14 Reasons Small Businesses Need a Logo and Marketing Materials

Experts urge small business owners to "brand" their businesses with a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials. However, they rarely explain the reasons behind this advice. Read more about Developing Your Company's Logo.

Below are some of some of the benefits of a professionally designed logo and identity system:

  1. To look "bigger" and "established." Home-printed business cards or cards printed with Microsoft clipart scream "small-time vendor" to your potential clients — and that is how they will want to compensate you.

  2. To increase your chance of earning venture capital or of selling a business. If you present a well-rounded business package that includes marketing materials and graphics, your business will look more complete.

  3. To attract more clients. Some clients look for a well-defined company, and "look and feel" may be one of their criteria for making a purchasing decision.

  4. To brand yourself. If you are a consultant, you need a logo in order to build an image and a brand that is greater than your individual identity.

  5. To convey that you are reputable. A logo and professionally-printed materials show that you are committed to both your business and to your clients.

  6. To give clients a sense of stability. You may not have been in business "since 1908," but if you have invested in your identity, you are more likely to remain firm and relevant in the eyes of your customers. It goes a long way toward building that all-important "trust."

  7. To be more memorable. Forty percent of people better remember what they see than what they hear or read. So to have graphics associated with your business, and to keep those graphics consistent, makes you more likely to be at the forefront of potential clients' minds when they need your goods or services.

  8. To explain your company name. If your company name contains a little-known word or an acronym, the logo can give visual clues to its meaning.

  9. To endear your company name to your clients. A difficult-to-pronounce or hard-to-remember company name makes it challenging for clients to hire you. When potential clients need your services, they may not recall a tricky name. But if you reinforce the name with interesting, compelling graphics, they are more likely to remember you, pick up the phone, and hire you.

  10. To explain an unusual line of business. If your business is nontraditional or in a hard-to-explain industry, a logo can help to clarify exactly what it is that you do.

  11. To differentiate you from your competition. A well-designed logo can have many subtle meanings and can begin to tell the story of how you do business, including the special practices that make you stand apart from the competition.

  12. To stand out in your field. A well-designed logo and an identity system can put you far above the competition, especially when paired with a strong marketing program.

  13. To comply with expectations. In some industries, a logo is just expected. In the creative services industry especially, having a logo is an industry standard.

  14. To show your commitment. Do it for the sense of personal pride that it will add to your practice.

These benefits will boost your business and your confidence, so consider developing a logo and identity as soon as possible.

Eight Collateral Marketing Items Every Small Business Needs

Over time, you’ll want to provide information about your company to lots of a variety of different people: employees, investors, existing and potential clients, and the media. Your company’s success depends in part upon how well you communicate that information. This, in turn, may depend upon how well you prepare collateral items, ranging from company and product fact sheets to biographies of key employees. Every business should always have the following eight items on hand, ready to distribute. Get them printed today.

  1. Company fact sheet. Potential investors, employees, analysts, and media people should be able to learn important facts about your business with a quick look at your fact sheet. A company fact sheet should include the following information:
    • Date the company was founded
    • Location of headquarters and any affiliate offices
    • Names and brief backgrounds of founders and upper-level management
    • Contact information
    • Brief mission statement

  2. Product fact sheets. Keep a fact sheet on file for each of your products or services. A product fact sheet should include the following:
    • The product's function
    • Distinctive features
    • Comparison to similar products on the market
    • Quality level
    • Reliability
    • Cost

  3. Biographies on founders and senior management. Have a bio on hand for each founding member of the company, every senior manager, and each member of the board of directors. Bios should include:
    • The person's education
    • Relevant experience
    • Awards or honors
    • Publications that feature the team member or the team member's work

  4. Mission statement. A mission statement can motivate and direct employees; it will also give new hires an idea of how your company works. You can also show the statement to potential investors, lenders, or members of the media. If you need help crafting a mission statement, The Marvel Group can help..

  5. Company background. Whereas the company fact sheet essentially is just that — a list of facts — this document is written in paragraph form and should include more detail.

  6. Current list of clients and partners. This information may be of interest to investors and potential clients.

  7. Press kit. When you open your business or launch a new product, consider sending out a press kit. Press kits are also handy to pitch your business at a trade show. Your kit should include the following elements:
    • Folder with your company's logo
    • Personalized letter pitching your company, product, or service
    • Company fact sheet
    • Product fact sheet
    • Press release
    • Articles written about your company
    • Business card
    • Company background
    • While you may want to keep a few press kits on hand, don't keep a giant stack of them around. Otherwise, you risk distributing out-of-date materials. Instead, keep each element of the press kit in a computer file, and update as needed. For additional information on putting together a press kit, The Marvel Group can help.

  8. Clip file. Someone in your office should collect and maintain any articles written about your company. Note: If you are thinking about mounting a PR blitz, consider hiring a PR firm to track where press kits were sent, to make sure they are received, and then to monitor the press for mentions of your firm.


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