No Logo? Launching A Business Without a Logo Can Sabotage You

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Initial lack of customers and cash flow often causes a small business to put off designing a logo and marketing materials professionally "until [they] got a few clients" or "until [they] get started." Designing their own marketing materials when they launch their business, instead of having them professionally created, will make getting those initial clients more difficult, and may result in a business that will not succeed.

Many entrepreneurs choose to design their own marketing materials when they launch their business, especially by creating their first business card. Or, they will have an amateur designer, friend or relative create the design. There are several reasons why this is not the best idea. An amateur logo design and business card can make your business more likely to fail because:

- Your business won't look stable. It will appear to be more likely to fold or to fail. Clients won't have confidence in doing business with you. Would you do business with someone that seems to be on unstable footing ? who might not be in business by the end of your project, or after you've purchased an item?

- You'll look like a very small business. Large, successful businesses would never consider doing business without professional, originally designed marketing materials. Using materials that are not professionally designed (i.e., Microsoft or Vistaprint templates) makes your business appear even smaller, and can possibly indicate that you cannot perform to or meet the standards required.

- You'll look unpolished and rough. Not having a professional look and feel can make it look as though your business does not matter to you. Customers may get the impression that you don't care about the way your business presents itself, which might indicate that you wouldn't care about the quality of your work, or the way that your work reflects upon their business.

- You'll look unfocused. Unprofessional, uncoordinated marketing materials can make your business look "jumbled" or confused. If you have a business card with one look and feel and a website with another, this creates a confused ? and confusing ? look and feel for your business. This can also cause an identity crisis for a small business. When looking at your differently designed materials, potential clients may be fooled into thinking that they are looking at materials that represent different companies.

About half of all businesses fail within their first few years. One source of failure that's commonly cited by experts is sloppy or ineffective marketing ? if your marketing materials don't stand out from your competitors', your sales will suffer.

When you start a business, you need to create the quickest possible route to business success. A logo helps to create this by contributing to your business's visibility, credibility, and memorability ? three factors that will help your business to grow and achieve success. So, while putting off your logo development may seem like a prudent idea from a cash-flow point of view, it could result in your business never getting "off the ground". It can also lead to your business folding when it would otherwise succeed ? if you don't invest in your business, who will?

If you think that you can't afford to design a logo when starting your business, consider the outcomes ? how can you afford not to?

About the Author

Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a brand identity and graphic design expert. She has been helping small businesses grow with bold, clean and effective logo and marketing material designs for over a decade. Elf design offers the comprehensive graphic and web design services of a large agency, with the one- on-one, personalized attention of an independent design specialist. Erin works closely in partnership with her clients to create designs that are visible, credible and memorable ? and that tell their unique business stories in a clear and consistent way. For more information about elf design, please visit: Logo design at

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