When starting a new business, many people jump right in with the task of getting anything and everything they can with the business name on it...pens, notepads, business cards, etc.
They want to be sure that everyone knows who they are and they are BRANDING themselves. The question is, is branding really THAT important? How about your logo? Do you really need to spend thousands of dollars and try to create that PERFECT logo, when you are just starting out?
While many business professionals differ on this particular subject, I lean on the side of saying NO…a logo is not that important…at least initially. The fact is, you are in business to make money, not show off your logo, and I for one have operated several successful businesses, most with no logo at all.
You see, a logo is designed to be your corporate identity. It is something that is supposed to call in mind your business or service when someone needs it. If you are operating in a sea of competition, then logos can be extremely useful in helping others identify your brand. If you are all alone on the marketplace, well, your logo may not be as important if at all. The key is to identify your market and what types of advantages you need to gain recognition. Some of these are marketing based, such as logos, slogans, etc, but some are strategic.
For instance, one business that I owned when I was quite young was a lawn mowing service. Rather than go door to door to advertise my services, I simply struck a deal with several local realtors. Whenever they were listing a house, they would pay me to mow the grass and trim it so it looked nice for showings. I charged them a lesser fee than would have been paid to a similar service as I had no advertising or marketing costs. The Realtor's client was happy, the Realtor was happy, and I made some easy money. The key was, I created a contract between these Realtors and myself. Once they had a listing, I got to work. Creating a logo in this case was not needed at all. Had I taken the time and expense to focus on the logo versus focusing on locking in paying clients…well, it would have been a waste.
So many business owners focus on everything else BUT making money that they end up broke very quickly. A logo does not a business make. It can help to identify you in the marketplace, but rarely will it be the REASON someone does business with you. Instead, focus on building relationships with prospects, making strategic alliances such as the one described above.
As your cashflow builds, THEN focus on taking your marketing and branding to the next level. Once you begin to gain a footing in your market, then differentiating yourself will certainly become more important and there is no question that a good logo can become a recognized icon in the marketplace. Think of Coca Cola, or the Nike Swoosh. These logos are easily identifiable, BUT, in each of these cases and many more like them, it was the product that made the logo famous…not the other way around.