Small Biz Ed 101; Identity—It's Not Face "Price", It's Face Value

Contrary to popular opinion, and practice, your website is not the way to kick off your business endeavors. Calling up your local hot-shot agency/studio and screaming, "we need a website" is a flat-out dumb move. I'd say ill-advised, but let's just talk really real, here. Dumb. Your website is not the entry point for your company. Sure it's a virtual storefront, a "first choice" of what customers have come to expect when looking for you and what you do. But, what about that virtual storefront? What's in the window? What's on that shingle, waving in the wind. What's the story behind it all? The point I'm getting at is that no matter what you say, it's a cart-before-horse strategy (and a weak horse, at that) that will always leave the vacancies of identity and brand in your company's efforts. Your name, not enough. Your website, not enough. Even your products, not enough in this modern small business environment. Trust, I'm not saying you don't need any of this, as it's all highly important. However, there is often a gap in the success of those businesses willing the put the time, effort, thought—and yes, money—into their actual identity and brand in the beginning, and the money and effort spent in trying to market a poorly conceived identity and brand later on. Dare I say it could even be a savings to doing it right in the beginning.

So what is doing it right?

In my opinion, it's first putting a face on your business, a pedigree behind the business, a strategy to the roll-out. Mind you, we are not talking about you… we're talking about the business. It needs its own face, its own story, a methodology all its own. Oh I know; It needs its own "identity". Ah, now we get to it. I'm not talking about a mere logo. Yes, logos; Perpetual hot-button topic… perpetual misconception. Your logo is merely part of the overall identity. A weakly conceptualized logo, with little depth and study can indeed hamper the overall identity and brand, but thinking that your business can stand solo on a weak-ass logo, alone, is just not smart. That's damn-near not even trying! Furthermore, are you the type to pay bottom budget pricing to cut corners to get a logo to simply get past that stage and get something up on your website? Hint: you can't skip a step. You'll always have to come back and fix something in the end.

Now, I'm not naive, there will most certainly be those who state identity, brand and strategy are not needed. Can you be successful without all of this? Surely. But your services had better be exceptional and so unique as to overcome first blush appearances. Judging books by covers is a moral lesson we are taught against but it's almost as certain as death and taxes.

There is an old saying that states "price is what you pay, value is what you get." Face "price" v. face "value". Your company has a face, which would also includes a mouth. What is its value? What is it saying about you when you can't speak for it?