Is Branding Relevant to Small Business?

Most small business owner/operators would probably agree that developing a stand-out brand identity is an essential part of the marketing package for corporates and large companies. Many would add that branding is not that important for small businesses and see it as an additional expense on the P&L. So they head off to the local printer or graphic designer who designs a logo (sometimes even for free) that gets used on stationary, vehicles and other marketing materials.

From our experience in this field, we find that most logos designed for small businesses are simply graphic devices and not actually brands in the true sense of the word, and portray little about the value proposition of the company, its personality and service promise. In actual fact, development of a meaningful, representative and outstanding brand identity is just as critical for small businesses and if properly executed, can actually be a powerful competitive advantage. For corporates, an effective and powerful brand is a ‘must-have’, simply in order to be in the game.

It may not necessarily differentiate them but it does at least give them parity with their competitors. Unfortunately, some corporates still don’t understand the value of a great brand and have cruddy logos that are in short, embarrassing and doing nothing for their businesses. But there is significant value to the small business that has the vision and commitment to invest in having a professional marketing agency develop a meaningful and appropriate brand identity.

A brand identity is more than just a visual symbol or logo design – it defines your company’s unique service promise, builds lasting brand recognition and invokes positive recall. A strong brand enhances your company’s credibility by integrating your brand strategy with consistent graphic application across all market and customer contact points.

Think about this – if most small businesses have weak branding, then by developing a compelling and effective branding package you can position your company ahead of your competitors in the mind of your target market. A strong and effective brand can definitely be a competitive advantage in the cut throat world of small business. To develop a strong brand identity, your marketing agency needs to work closely with you to understand the needs of your customers and prospects.

They need to explore suitable graphic elements and branding metaphors for the logo device, develop appropriate colour palettes and provide guidance on how to effectively apply your branding and logo design in specific applications. Your goal should be to ensure complete brand integrity. If the brand development process is executed correctly then your company will stand out from the mass of small businesses that simply couldn’t be bothered, or more likely, don’t know any better.

Professionally designed brands, usually most visibly represented by the logo device, tell the market a visual story about your company. It speaks of attention to detail, professionalism, pride and investment in your company, presents your unique value proposition and helps you to stand out above your mediocre competitors.

The Business Plan Purpose – Why You Need One For Your Small Business

Any small business needs a plan. Even if it is only a one page piece of paper on the fridge, some form of plan is critical to business success. The business plan purpose is primarily to force small business owners to look at their industry, products, operations, management and finances. From here they can set business goals and objectives.

While the process of analysis is extremely beneficial, the business plan purpose also extends into other areas including using the plan to monitor and grow the business, obtain finance, sell the business and even motivate employees.

Purpose 1: Critical Analysis

Simply undertaking the planning process itself forces you to critically analyse all aspects of the business. You may already think you do this regularly (although not formally with pen and paper), but do you truly cover all facets of your business? Do you continually look to your customers, competitors and industry for new trends, ideas and opportunities? Are you on top of your finances and cash flow position?

Have you set goals and objectives and put in place the planning for your business for the next 6 months? 12 months? 3 years? Do you know what marketing is working for you and have forward planning in place for advertising, promotion and web marketing?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, it’s time to implement or revise your plan. All of these questions, plus many more should be answered in the plan. Even if you are a solo, home-based business, you need to critically analyse your business and have a plan. Like anything, if you don’t have a map, you won’t get to your destination.

Purpose 2: Monitor, Maintain and Develop Business

So now that you have your plan in place, it needs to be reviewed regularly. Another key business plan purpose is to provide a tool to help monitor, maintain and grow your business. Set objectives, put plans in place, monitor results and make adjustments as necessary. Taking the time to regularly spend on your plan and revising it will go a long way to ensuring growth and success.

Purpose 3: Funding and Investment

Many small businesses require bank funding or seek investment. In this situation, the business plan purpose is to act as a financing proposal. Just by having a plan will put you in front of many other small business owners and certainly be viewed favourably by lenders and investors. In fact, some will not even give you a second glance without this information.

Purpose 4: Business Sale

Although it may seem pointless if you have reached this stage, a well written plan will help not only sell your business, but could result in a higher price. It will indicate to prospective purchasers that the business is well planned and give some security that a road map is in place for the future.

Purpose 5: Employee Morale

Another underestimated business plan purpose is to use the plan to keep employees informed about the business. While some owners may cringe at this thought, it is a great way to get staff involved, encourage feedback and help implement the plan.

It is not necessary to give the full plan if you don’t want to include sensitive information such as financials. Whatever format you present it in, staff will gain an instant sense of ownership and involvement that could prove very valuable.

Lucrative Home Based Business Opportunity

Many people throughout the world have started to establish home based businesses. Lucrative home based business opportunities are available in plenty, especially for house wives and retired people. Home based business set up proves to be extremely profitable and it does not require heavy investment.

Certain tips will be helpful for those who are planning to make this venture highly profitable. Business and marketing plan should be effective in order to expect returns. A targeted plan will be helpful in accomplishing your goal. Any person who wishes to set up a home based business should get himself acquainted with the present market trend. This will be helpful for the identification of those customers who are desperately in need of your products and services.

Lucrative home business opportunities will surely enable a person to achieve his or her target within a short span of time. Details about different home based business opportunities and programs are available on the internet. A good amount of money can be expected if the sale multiplies within a week or month. Significant decisions should be promptly taken according to the market trend. Such steps will undoubtedly make a home based business highly lucrative.

Success is basically determined on an individual’s ability, willingness and skill to pursue his or her work diligently. Proper implementation of strategic plans will ensure prosperity to home based business. Appropriate web sites can be developed to make the home based business more lucrative. People can seek advice from market professionals in order to succeed.