Starting a New Business – Logo Development Tips

As a small business entrepreneur, you are savvy enough to know that branding isn’t just for large multinational corporations. But how important should it be to your small business? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the two parts that define branding. There are the visual aspects of typography, colors and graphics. And there are the emotional aspects of a brand, the customer experiences and associations with the products or services. When one combines on-target design with positive customer experiences, you’ve got a business that can go places. Why is branding so important? Business is a big game and in this game you should always be in pursuit of a competitive advantage. This applies to businesses of any size.

Ideally, you want your logo to represent the reason why you are in business in the first place. First, read your mission statement of how you intend to win in business and who your target market will be. Then think about what kind of a logo would be necessary to hold its own against your competition. Now you are ready to communicate vital notes to a logo designer.

From the logo designer’s perspective, the logo is the single most important part of your branding that you will develop. True enough, your marketing materials and websites will go through many changes, but your logo should remain stable-the anchor and springboard of all of your branding. This is the ideal. A Madison Avenue ad agency might charge the equivalent of a luxury car for a logo, because major corporations know how important it is. It is ironic, that for small businesses, the proliferation of online factories means you can get a logo for the cost of a nice dinner. My recommendation is that you find an individual designer or small firm who will really listen to you and with which you can build a relationship. Not only will the fees still be very reasonable and affordable-you will receive value far exceeding payment.

On your first sales meeting, will it give you confidence to know you spent $45 on a logo? By the same token, as a small business owner, of course you don’t want to overspend. In fact, you don’t want to stress your marketing budget by overspending on any one piece of the puzzle.

Food for thought: is the success of Google’s logo through visibility and repetition or is it award-winning design? It’s really the only part of the branding that we see. The logo has become a cornerstone of the Internet, because the success of the company made it so. It’s achieved brand familiarity and with it trust, if not awe. What if Google was a D List search engine with a few hundred visitors a week, what would you think of their logo?

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating: you should include your logo on every piece of communication. Put it on every web page of your site, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, invoices, yellow page ads, building signage, newsletters, web buttons, promotional collateral, and certainly every ad. Familiarity begets trust and trust will lead to increased sales. Then perhaps if your logo is next to a competitor’s, they’ll contact you first.

Business Plan Development – Free Government Resources to Aid in Business Planning

In your quest to develop your business plan you will want to obtain information regarding industry analysis, legal and regulatory statutes, manufacturing, training and counseling, and maybe corporate financials and international information and data. This is just a few of the areas you can research through our government’s online resources. Though they are free and free is often synonymous with undervalued they are indeed not free. Your tax dollars pay for them and the information is rich and vast. These government resources are put there to help you succeed so there is no better place to start your research than with the resources you pay for. The U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, The State Department, FedStats, Export.gov, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission all have information that you will find helpful. I will talk a little about each one, what they do, and how you can use them.

The first place you may want to start with your investigation on industry analysis is through The Department of Commerce. The DoC is comprised of twelve separate agencies responsible for many things regarding business from weather forecasts to patent protection. Their mission statement states exactly what they do and there is no better way to sum it up, “The DoC touches the daily lives of the American people in many ways, with a wide range of responsibilities in the areas of trade, economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and business development, environmental stewardship, and statistical research and analysis.” There is much to the DoC and they also are a portal to several other government agencies and partners that you may find useful.

The U.S. Census Bureau, a derivative of the DoC, is a great resource for industry analysis and they are arguably the most important branch of the DoC for demographic information ranging from population breakdown, income, education levels, and housing to name just a few which you can find in the Peoples and Households section of their website. The Census Bureau also collects massive amounts of data on economic activity. You may need to search the industry code for the particular type of business you’re in or looking for, by searching its NAICS code. You can break information down from a national level and/or by zip code for information on total number of businesses as well as types and average sales in their business and industry section. They also have information on foreign trade and so much more. The fact of the matter is that there is so much data that the U.S. Census Bureau has accumulated it may seem daunting. It is in fact a huge database with so many useful links that I have to write three paragraphs about all the different links worth noting. You should spend some time navigating around, taking notes, and leaving yourself a trail of breadcrumbs one way or another so that you can remember just how you got from place to place.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s website is vast, as I previously stated, and there are a number of portals you should know a little about and even bookmark. Censtats is a database that includes county and zip business pattern information, international trade data, demographic and economic data for states and counties, Census Tract Street Locator, and some other databases on top of those. American FactFinder has information regarding demographic information about people that can be broken down in many ways to suit your needs. QuickFacts provides information on people, business, and geography which can be targeted on a national, state, and/or county level. If you need information on industry and manufacturing you can skim through the Current Industrial Report section. There contains vast amounts of information which may satisfy your needs for market analysis, forecasting, and decision-making.

The next noteworthy online resource at your disposal is the SBA or Small Business Administration. If you need information on federal and/or state legal and regulatory information the SBA has important and detailed information on these two important issues. The SBA also funds and supports business’s and you can find and apply for government grants, contracts, as well as sign up to receive training and counseling from SCORE. Score are a group of retired executives that volunteer their time to help business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with development of their business plans and give advice to current businesses management dilemmas and questions and other assistance. If you have never spoken with a SCORE representative you should. They have a plethora of experience and expertise on a variety of subjects and industries. The SBA’s website also offers you a place to register your business, find business licenses, and permits. Ultimately the SBA is another great government resource that is a must-add to your toolbox.

If you’re interested or need to get your hands on international data and statistics our government provides information through U.S. Census Bureau, The State Department, and Export.gov. The Census Bureau’s contains an international database (IDB) that provides rankings by population size as well as global trends and demographic data. The State Department’s website has background information that includes information on each country’s economy and a great deal more all in alphabetical order by country. You can find out information on that country’s history, people, government, relations, travel, and more. Export.gov’s slogan is helping U.S. companies succeed globally by combining and providing the resources from across the U.S. government to assist American businesses in planning their international sale’s strategy. They have in-depth data about markets and industries on a global scale.

If you need information on corporations The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Edgar Database provides information regarding corporation’s financial information as well as their operations. There is a lot more to the Edgar Database. They also have a user guide that will provide you a more detailed analysis of who they are and what all they can do for you.

The last government resource that is worth mentioning is Fedstats. FedStats is a government sponsored website that has vast quantities of data collected by over 100 different agencies. You can search by topic compiled in a nice, user-friendly A-Z format or you can search the agencies in which they receive their data from, also in an alphabetical format. If you’re interested in state-by-state statistical data you might try clicking through FedStat’s MapStats section which profiles states, counties, cities, congressional districts, and even federal judicial districts. Besides the particular places I have pointed out there is also information on international comparisons, statistics from the individual agencies, press releases, and more.

I have written a similar article on my blog that has the full list of links to many of the areas that I have spoken of in this article if you would like to check it out. I hope that I have provided you valuable resources that will aid you in your pursuit to complete your business plan. Good luck and best wishes for your success!

Hotels in Downtown Columbus, Ohio

The Renaissance Hotel
Downtown Columbus is home to many upscale hotels and the Renaissance Hotel is one of them. Situated in the center of the city of Columbus in Ohio, it is close to the many attractions that Columbus is famous for. The trendy interiors that are styled with a contemporary touch is a great hit among the regulars to this downtown Columbus hotel. The Renaissance hotel enforces a non smoking policy as it’s environment friendly.

With 33 hotel suites and 376 rooms, The Renaissance hotel is a massive building in downtown Columbus, Ohio and the recently completed renovation provides guests with amenities that are unimaginable. The new suites come with a fitness center that is right inside their rooms; the beddings, duvet covers and push down pillows are brand new and offer unparalleled comfort and relaxation. The Renaissance hotel also houses suites that are specially designed keeping in mind the business clientele. Many of the rooms and suites at the Renaissance hotel come with a spectacular view of downtown Columbus and are famed among its patrons for this reason.

Latitude 41, which is the in house restaurant, serves delicious American cuisine apart from signature cocktails which are available at the restaurant’s attached bar. The Renaissance hotel completes its amenities with a rooftop swimming pool that is also a great place to observe downtown Columbus in action.
Not letting down its Ohio business travelers, The Renaissance hotel in downtown Columbus has a newly renovated business center with all amenities to make for a smooth conduct of your business proceedings in Ohio.

Doubletree Guest Suites
The Doubletree Guest Suites is a Columbus hotel that is located by the Scioto River offering great vistas from its rooms and suites. The international Airport in Columbus is located close by this hotel apart from other important locations and attractions such as The Ohio State Capitol, The Huntington bank Center and federal buildings such as the Supreme Court and the city center.

There are many Ohio establishments around this Columbus hotel which include Nisource, Nationwide Plaza, Columbia Glass and the American Electric Power Corp. Due to this reason; this downtown Columbus hotel draws a large number of business travelers and the Renaissance hotel rightly has given itself a corporate hotel tag by also providing support in business by provding necessary support for those parties that might be interested in business in Ohio State.

Tourists need not overlook this hotel as this Columbus hotel is also located very conveniently for those that are visiting Columbus, Ohio for pleasure purposes. The Columbus Blue jackets and Clippers Stadium of Columbus, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Columbus Crew Soccer Stadium, The Nationwide Arena and the Art Museum of Columbus are very easily accessed from this downtown Columbus hotel. These being the most important attractions in Columbus, Ohio, The Renaissance hotel is equally favored by the tourists.

The Caucus restaurant, which is an in house restaurant of the Renaissance Hotel serves American cuisines and also entertains room service. The rooms are designed with French doors which connect the sleeping and living areas. They are equipped with internet connections, a coffee maker, refrigerator, wet bar and many other things that make for a delectable option for those that enjoy a constant supply of food and beverages.

It is important that one choose hotels in Columbus for the reason that they provide for easy access to important destinations in the city and also have one of the most luxurious atmospheres among all hotels located in Columbus, Ohio.