The Best Business Start-Up Guide - Part 2 of 5

The best start-up business guide of all the things you need to do before you launch – Part 2 of 5!

In part 2 of our 5-part blog series, we get creative and talk about what you need to do to get your logo and brand identity designed. We then look at your text content and what you need to consider before starting to write it.

Get Your Logo Designed

Logo design and brand identity

The next and most important stage is to give your business a visual identity – a logo and some colour! Many of the best logos and brand identities are often the simplest and cleanest. Take Google for example, before they had a logo with shadows and used a traditional looking font, but now they have an ultra-modern design that incorporates their brand colours and uses a contemporary font and a flat design (flat design means they have no bevels or gradients or drop-shadows) and we think it looks great! Other well-known businesses such as eBay also dropped their original logo in favour of a modern, clean flat design too.

Some of the questions you need to think about before appointing a graphic designer to create your logo and brand identity are as follows:

The first few questions are designed to make you think about your logo from more of a business perspective – to look at your competitors (and their logos / brand identities) and think about what they do right and perhaps get wrong, but also to consider your customers and target audiences. These questions also help you to define your own business objectives, your unique selling points and how you see yourself being different to your competition.

What does your business do?
(Describe your business in simple terms)

Who are your main competitors?
(Operating in the same or similar market – identify main competitors by name or web address)

What makes you different from your competitors? Define your USPs.
(Spell out your USP’s – Unique Selling Points –why a client should choose you, what you do better than others)

What keywords best describe your business? What do you want your logo to say about your business?
(For example; innovative, reliable, friendly, authoritative, warm, trustworthy)

What is the exact wording that should be used on your logo?
(This may be your full business name or a shortened version of it that you want for the logo)

Your Target Market

Questions about your target market

The next set of questions helps you to determine your target market(s) and the sort of people you want to attract. These questions help a designer to understand your sector / industry specifically and the sort of logo styling / visual that would work well for you.

Who are your ideal clients or customers?
(The type of company/individual/buyer or specific clients you want to target)

Who are your target audiences?
(The type of people, industry, roles, demographics, locations)

How are your customers most likely to encounter your business?
(For example; website, phone/email, events, business cards, documents, staff on the job, signage, uniforms, brochures)

Business Name And Logo Design

Questions about your business name and logo

The following questions detail what you do / don’t like, where the logo will be used and helps the designer to understand the sort of logo designs you do and don’t like. This is important and will narrow down the sort of design and style your logo and brand identity will be created around.

Is your business name registered? Do you want the logo to be trade marked?
(Trade marking helps protect you against others using a similar name for a similar business type, in your country of operation)

Do you currently have a logo in use?
(If you already have something you use, it would be beneficial for the designer to see this)

If you do have an existing logo, why are you changing it now?
(Helps the designer to understand what you did/didn’t like about your existing logo)

Is there a strap/tagline to accompany the logo?
(For example; Tesco has “Every little helps” or Asda has “Saving you money every day”)

Where do you intend to use your logo?
(For example; on a website, corporate literature, signage, on a vehicle, etc)

What logos do you find unappealing and why?
(Really important question – helps the designer to understand what you DON’T like or want! Find examples of logos you don’t like – it doesn’t matter if the logos are completely unrelated to what you do – this is purely for creative reasons and to get a feel for what logos you dislike)

What logos do you find appealing and why?
(Really important question – helps the designer to understand what you DO like or want! Same as the above question, but find examples of logos you really like)

What images/icons/symbols best represent your business?
(The designer may include an icon / emblem / graphic on your logo)

Do you have any preferences regarding colours or typography/font style?
(Give examples ONLY if there are any visual styles you particularly love or hate. Remember these can be subjective – a logo is for your target audience as well as for you and staff/colleagues, so be clear on font styles you do and don’t like)

Giving your designer as much information as possible right from the get-go will not only help them to come up with the perfect logo for your business but will also speed up the whole design process and you will have one very grateful graphic designer!

Website Content and Pages

Your website content

Once your logo and brand identity has been created, the next step will be to think about your website and its content. One of the most important elements of any website is the text content and the images used. We would recommend that before engaging a website designer to start the build of your new website, you write up all the text you would like to include on it and get as many – if not all – of your photos and images together.

Any web designer or design agency will request the website content soon after you have given them the go-ahead, so to have this already done and ready to go before your website gets built will considerably speed up the whole process. The best way to create the text content in a Word document, with clearly labelled sub-titles and sections so your web designer knows which content belongs where on your website.

As a guide, the main pages you may want to create content for would be as follows:

(think about your key products or services – the most important information goes onto the homepage)

About Us page
(On this page you can talk about you, your business, why your customers should choose you, your unique selling points, accreditations and awards, provenance or anything else you would like your customers to know)

Our Services page
(Use this page to showcase your services – try to be as detailed as possible, and if needed assign one page per service you offer so you can give your website visitors as much information as possible)

Blog section
(Blogs are great, but don’t have one if you don’t intend to keep it updated. A website that contains a blog that is months and months out of date can have a detrimental effect, so only request one if you intend to add at least one new blog per month)

Gallery/Portfolio page
(this page is great for showing off your work or gallery of products / projects completed / things you have made or anything else for that matter, but only use the best quality images you can – poor quality, blurry or grainy images won’t sell themselves – or you)

Product pages and images
(If you are having an e-commerce store built, remember to use the best quality product pictures you can find. There is nothing worse than a well-designed e-commerce store that is let down by poor quality product images. Remember your customers are on your website to buy your products, so the least you can do is use high quality product images – not postage stamp sized blurry pictures that screams of laziness – this won’t do the product, website or your business any justice)

Contact Us page
(Include all your main contact details such as address, email and telephone number, a contact form so customers can easily enquire about your products or services, a map of your location, opening times and social media links. This will help convert a website visitor into a customer).

I will be publishing a blog soon that focuses on content writing for your website and how to write content that not only advises and informs your customers, but also helps them to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, helping to convert a website visitor into a website customer. Keep an eye out for this as it’s worth a read and contains loads of advice if you are struggling to write your website content.

Images And Pictures

Images and pictures

Images are just as important as good quality text content, so spend time sourcing the best images you can, or take your own high quality photos. If you do need to get stock images for your website, there are many websites that offer great quality royalty-free (no charge) or paid-for stock images, these are:

Free image resources

Paid-for image resources

There may be other websites that also offer free images as well as paid-for ones, but the above list covers the main websites we use on a regular basis.

Important: remember to take the biggest photos you can (not small cropped photos) and to only supply your web designer with large size images – again not small cropped images. If you need assistance with this your web designer will be able to help you. When you send a list of images over to your web designer, make sure you let them know what page each image is meant to go on. The best way to let them know is to reference to the filename of the image, so for example “image-01.jpg goes on homepage” or “picture-of-doggy.jpg goes on dog walking page” and so on.

Coming up in part 3

In part 3 we will be looking at designing your website and the questions you need to ask when talking to a web designer. Read part 3 here!

The best start-up business guide of all the things you need to do before you launch - Part 2 of 5!
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The best start-up business guide of all the things you need to do before you launch - Part 2 of 5!
In our 5 part blog series, we look at all the things you need to do when starting up a new business! In part 2 of 5 we look at your logo and content!
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