Before you start thinking about what promotional material you'd like, think about how much you have to spend. This might sound obvious, but I'm amazed at how many small businesses don't have budgets in place before they approach us for branding, a website or other printed marketing products.
It's no good spending thousands of pounds making an amazing website, if you've no money left to promote its presence. Printing 100,000 leaflets is great - but how much will it cost to distribute them.
Starting a new business can easily eat up money if you let it, but be savvy and you'll find it doesn't have to cost the earth. There are plenty of ways to market your business for free if you're willing to do the leg work. What you may lack in financial resources you can make up for by being willing to knock on doors, pick up the phone and create a buzz on social media.
The eureka moment for any new business is when you come up with your new name. It feels like naming a new child. It's exciting, yes, but in the early stages of development don't get too precious. As you proceed to build your brand and explore ideas you might find that your name isn't right.
I've worked with several companies who come to us with a name 'set in stone' only to later realise that they're trying to be too clever or too cryptic with their name. You want a name that's creative and unique, but ultimately you want a name that is straight forward, easy to spell, easy to say and easy to communicate.
Does your name say what it does on the tin? We find that business names that communicate what a company does, are often the most successful at attracting new customers.
Branding and logo trends change over time, but ultimately the logos that have survived and adapted to these changes tend to be simple ideas that aren't trying to be clever. A great logo is more about conveying feeling and character than about conveying ideas or values.
We work with many companies who come to us with a list of things their logo needs to include and convey. We understand that all these concepts may be important to the founders of a company, but trying to include too many ideas in a logo can often lead to a weak and cluttered design.
A logo is all about character; it's not really about words at all. Turn a great logo upside-down, and you'll still get an impression, a feeling for what that company is about. A good logo will always come down a delicate balance of a well chosen typeface, subtle shape and the right colours. Keep it simple, and stand out more.
So, if you want to give us a useful brief for your logo, don't provide us a list of ideas you want included - it's better to give us a list of character traits for your company.
A website doesn't need to be all singing, all dancing in order to be an effective promotional tool for your business. It's all about creating a trustworthy and credible presence online and reassuring potential customers that you're a good company to work with.
You may have ideas about what you're looking for in a website, but remember, your website is not aimed at you - it's aimed at your customers. It's important to realise that everyone digests information differently, so to that end, it's vital to make sure your website is a good mix of design, functionality, imagery and text.
We can build any type of website, with pretty much any functionality you like, but from experience we tend to find simple website with clear well written content are the ones that succeed.
Our advice for your first website; keep it clutter free, easy to navigate, and with clear "call to action" prompts.
All the websites we create are mobile friendly, optimised for Google and come with a comprehensive CMS system so you can add and edit your web content whenever you need to.
Building a great website is a waste of time if nobody finds it. Your goal should be to get on the first page of Google for your key areas of business. The vast majority of customers will not look past the first page of search results, so it's important to work hard to get up those rankings.
Is there an easy way to get to the top. In short, no. You need to have a site with good content, and you need other established sites linking to yours. Over time Google will see your site, see how good your content is, see that other people are linking to your pages and you'll rise up the rankings.
We've offered our clients loads of good tips for helping improve their search ranking, and as a result we've seen many of them climb to the very top of Google.
The days of a business just running a website are long gone. Today, any business will need to make sure they have a good social media presence as well. You'll need to think about creating and maintaining good pages on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkIn and pinterest. You never know where your next customer might come from.
And finally, let's discuss printed promotional material. Nothing will give your customers the ultimate feel-good feeling about your business than when they hold a quality piece of printed promotion. No matter how amazing your website is, the very best face-to-face advert for your company will be the first printed item that you pass over to a potential customer.
True, you can find cheap business cards and leaflets online, but they really do feel... cheap. They look like a templates and somehow don't quite fit in with your brand.
We understand the importance of bespoke design and the value in high quality print production.
You get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it's a good one.