Too often, start-ups neglect branding. Many start out with a basic font for their business name. They have business cards and letterheads printed, which are often done at different times and using different suppliers.
Each supplier will have a different idea of what font will work, whether it will have a drop-shadow, outline, be written on a curve or many other variations.
This break in continuity can have a negative impact on your business, and it can look unprofessional which can cost you your initial clients and, in turn, the possibility of long-term contracts.
To combat this, follow these simple steps:
1. Decide on a font. Something that makes your business stand out from others. Visit a graphic artist who can design a logo and add a font style to go with it. They know when fonts can be used in uppercase and when they can't. For example, one style of font that should never be written in uppercase is old english. Not only is it impossible to read quickly, but it also yells: unprofessional. This initial exercise may be more of an expense than you'd like, but the whole idea of branding is to be noticed. And you will be noticed.
2. Find a reputable signwriter. Give the signwriter your logo and make sure they don't alter it in any way. Some signwriters will stretch a logo or narrow it to fit in a specific area. Don't let them do it. You paid good money for the design and consistency is key. You don't see the Nike branding modified in any way. And you deserve the same consideration.
3. Signage and business cards should tell people what you do. Don't just limit them to your business name (later, when you become as well known as Nike; you can revisit it). Too many businesses leave this out, particularly company vehicles on the road. Similarly, if you own a vehicle then add your contact details. You'd be surprised how many owners leave them off. You do want to be contacted, right?
4. Make sure your colour scheme has a high contrast to make your details easy to read. If it's too much effort to read, then people won't. A van seen recently had a phone number in blue on its rear window. The number couldn't be read unless you were right behind the vehicle - and stopped at traffic lights.
5. If you desire or need a web presence, again, it's important not to skimp in this area. Ask around for a reputable website designer or look at some of your favourite sites and try to find who built them. Again, make sure you provide them with your logo and font. Have some of your basic content ready, for example, About Us, products, services and contact details. Keep the site clean; make sure your content is concise and information can be found easily. Ask friends to test-drive it for usability. And never put a Click Here To Enter for a front page. They don't add value and can irritate people.
These points are basic, but they'll give you a head-start in establishing your business as professional and ready to accept clients. You may not get it right the first time, and that's fine. All businesses have made missteps along the way - even major corporations. Listen to your clients and no matter what people say, first impressions do count.