When setting up a new business there’s a million-and-one things to consider. Office-based or virtual? Local, national or international? Sole trader or limited company?
Particularly if there’s only one of you, the sheer volume of decisions that need to be made can be quite overwhelming. Oh, and at some point you’re going to have to start earning some money too.
One good way to begin to pull everything together and get a sense that something is happening and the company is ‘real’, is to start producing material which validates your existence to the wider world. The quickest, easiest and most cost-effective way to spread the word is to set up a website.
“Ah, that’s easy,” I hear you say… “I can just use one of those sites that offers a range of templates, stick in a logo, text and images and away we go!”
Well, yes you could, however you’ll quickly find that such an approach will not meet your requirements in the long term so why not save money and effort and get it right first time?
A professionally designed website.
A professionally-designed website speaks volumes. It will do wonders for your burgeoning reputation, showing that you mean business and aren’t some two-bit operation that ‘stacks ‘em high and sells ‘em cheap’. Of course, cheap, online generated websites can work for some companies however it depends what your ultimate aspirations are. If you’re ambitious and have a 10-year plan to provide a high quality product or service, making great profits in the process, I would suggest that you need a visually appealing, user-friendly and engaging website to achieve this.
Believe it or not, with a proper brief web designers like myself can produce something that ticks all boxes in a relatively short space of time and without breaking the bank. You’ll then have full control of your site and with it an online presence that really sets you apart from your competitors – and that’s what business is all about.
A Beautiful Logo Design.
Running alongside your web development and in time for its completion, you’ll need to be thinking holistically about your visual identity, in particular your logo. Stripped down a logo may seem to be just be pretty graphics, typography, or both, however it can go on to symbolise so much more than that. Look at today’s big brands – Nike, Apple, Facebook – they all have iconic logos (no need for words either) that most people on earth would instantly recognise.
To have a distinguished stamp that signifies quality, reputation and of course who you are and what you do all rolled into one is worth its weight in gold.
So once your website is in place with snazzy logo design neatly nestled in the corner, you’ll need to start driving people towards it. One tried and trusted way to promote your wares is through printed material, which despite being shunted down the pecking order a touch by web and mobile communications, still has a place in the ‘marketing mix’.
Using Print For Marketing
Whether it’s a leaflet design or a brochure, poster or catalogue it will need to be consistent with your established identity online, though not committing the cardinal sin of duplicating vast reams of content. Print and web communications should complement each other as they have their own strengths and cross-linking (‘bringing the offline online’ and vice versa) is now commonplace.
Consistency across all the media can be tricky, particularly if different teams are involved however it does help if the web designer is also your print designer, illustrator etc. etc. as they will be able to ensure that elements fit together like pieces in a corporate jigsaw.
Business Stationery Design.
And then there’s your business stationery – letterhead, business cards, comp slips – surely they’re not THAT important though? Taken on their own, no, however badly designed stationery can undo all the hard work you’ve put in elsewhere. I’ve received business cards before from seemingly high-powered executives at successful companies that have been poorly printed on low quality card and cut in a shoddy way. Not the end of the world you may think, however it does sow the seed of doubt in your mind that not everything is as it seems…
You can get all of the above fairly soon after you’ve registered your company name however don’t be fooled by low prices and ultra-fast turnaround times – creating a visual identity needs detailed consultation and plenty of careful consideration. Speed isn’t of the essence here; it’s all about getting the right look for the company and this can take time.
Invest In Design.
You get what you pay for in life and the same can certainly be said of design. Hiring a professional, experienced, versatile designer from the outset may seem like an expense any new organisation could live without however it’s one sure-fire way to get on the right track and save money in the long-run.
A new business without a strong visual identity will be on the back foot from the word go as you can guarantee that there will be countless competitors, each with established brands, already dominating the marketplace. Still unsure? Then answer me this: ‘Would you expect a young soldier to enter the battlefield unarmed?’ Of course not. Give yourself a fighting chance and invest in design.