So, you’ve got a great idea for a business. You’ve invested many long nights in developing the perfect business plan, which helped you get the big loan you needed to purchase the space and equipment required. You have an accomplished manager on board, you’ve contracted a bookeeper and you’re ready to start hunting for employees. You figure it’s time to go ahead and print up some business cards and start thinking about a website, so you drive over to the local XYZ 24-Hour Fast Printer, pay them 500 Ben Franklins and, one week later, “ta-dah”, you have $500 worth of self-promotional material that makes you look exactly like every other small business in town.
“So what?”, you might say… “Who cares if my business card looks exactly like Joe Shmoe’s on the other side of town?”. Well, good question!
Design, like any other aspect of your business, is an investment. And, like investing in equipment, the more you invest in design, the more return you get (there are always unhappy exceptions, of course). In an ideal world, design should be the visual expression of the vision, personality and customer experience that you define in your business plan. This is also known as branding.
Branding helps you reach your target market, as it makes sure that your business looks and communicates in a way that your customers enjoy. It helps identify the unique attributes of your business clearly, setting you apart from competitors so that you can more easily carve out a comfortable niche. Investing in entry level branding design will give you a great logo, snappy business cards, a beautiful and functional website and a mobile app that is truly useful to your target market.
Should you wish to craft a more complete customer experience of your business, a complete branding package can help you know what color your staff uniforms should be, how your logo should be used, how you sign your name in an email, what you write about in your company blog and even if it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to bring your cat into work a few days a week.
Here in Alaska, where good design is a relatively new concept for small businesses, it is easier to stand apart from the competition simply by making a small investment in your branding. For anyone familiar with downtown Anchorage, the restaurant/lounge Ginger is a a great example of good branding at work.
What do you think about design for small businesses in Alaska?
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