When you launch a small business, it can be tough to compete with the big players in your industry, at least in the beginning. It may not be realistic to offer the lowest prices or around-the-clock service like your established competitors. Fortunately, one important area where small businesses can compete with and even outshine larger companies is image. With the right branding and design strategies, you can create a professional image that attracts customers to your new enterprise.
Design a Professional Logo
Your company’s logo is more than just a small design to stick on the corner of a website. It’s something you’re going to include on just about every piece of marketing material related to your business, which means that customers are going to associate that design with your brand.
The elements in a logo affect how customers view your business, and that’s why a logo redesign is often one of the first steps businesses take as part of a branding overhaul. Colour is one example of a logo element that affects people’s impression of your business. Blue represents trust, making it a common choice for financial institutions. Red is a passionate, energetic colour, making it popular for sodas and energy drinks.
The best way to get a high-quality logo for your business is to hire a professional logo designer. A designer can talk to you about your brand to determine what image you’re trying to convey, and then design a logo that matches your desired brand image.
Build Your Digital Presence
A website needs to be aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly, and tailored to the products or services a business offers. Customers expect businesses to have professional websites, and if your website is lacking, it creates a bad impression right away.
Start by ensuring your company’s website fits what it offers. A business that sells travel gear has much different needs than a professional photography company. Make sure the website loads quickly and is responsive on both computers and mobile devices, as a slow website frustrates visitors.
Register accounts in your business’s name on all the major social media networks. You can focus your social media marketing efforts on one or two of these networks, but it’s important to claim your business’s name on every network to ensure no one else does and posts content harming your business’s image.
Develop a Cohesive Visual Aesthetic
It’s important that every element of your business fits together visually. You need your logo, website, marketing materials, ads, and product packaging to display similar styles and colour schemes, as this creates consistency. This reinforces your brand every time a customer sees anything related to your business.
To ensure your business has a cohesive visual aesthetic, you may want to find one design agency that can handle everything for you, including logo design, website design, and the design of your marketing materials. Not only does this cut down on the number of people you need to hire, it also makes it easier to keep everything consistent.
Don’t be afraid to take a unique approach with your business’s design. This is one of your potential small-business marketing advantages. Larger businesses need to stick to the images they’ve already established and take a conservative approach that minimizes risk. With a small business, you can be bolder.
Focus on Value over Price
Competing on price or using discounts to bring in new customers are rarely good ideas for a small business. The big players with higher sales volumes can afford to price lower and make slimmer profit margins. If you offer a discount to create new business, you risk alienating your current customers who have paid higher prices, and any customers you gain may expect that discounted price going forward.
It’s typically better to focus on ways your business can provide more value to customers. Here are a few options:
- Selling products that are made locally instead of overseas
- Offering a longer, more flexible return policy
- Allowing more payment methods
- Providing a payment-plan option
- Responding to customer service issues more quickly
Set Up a Professional Work Space
Whether you rent a commercial office or run your business from home, you should have a professional office space. You can get more done when you have an organized work space where it’s always easy to find what you need. Your work space is also part of the image your business presents. Any client who sees your work space, even if it’s just over a video chat, is going to form an impression of your business based on the look of the space. A clean, organized environment shows that you take your business seriously.
Play it safe by setting up your work space as if you may need to meet a client there, because that could happen at some point. You don’t need anything elaborate, but your work space should include a desk, comfortable seating, and whatever items you need to conduct your business. Most importantly, it needs to be tidy.
While it takes some time and money to create a professional image, remember that you’re making an investment in your small business. A company’s image sets it apart from the competition and makes it more likely to succeed.