Many think that starting a business is fairly simple. It may look attractive, especially in this uncertain economical climate, to take control and work for yourself, set your own hours and be responsible for your income. However, this is far from being the case. (As someone who ventured into a seemingly straightforward business idea at one point, I can attest to how there is no such thing!) There are many equally important components that must work together to create a successful business. To begin with, you need to have a product or service that is marketable, one that people will actually want, but there are many more considerations beyond this crucial starting point. To be able to sell what you have to offer, you will need to engage in effective marketing to keep your business sustainable. Design is key in every type of marketing exercise you will be doing to promote, and ultimately sell, your product or service.
Digital design is a given these days to maximise online impact of our business. However, there are also real world, tangible applications to plan for. If your business has a physical location, you will be working out how every facet of your space reflects your company's values and image and is conducive to selling your product. The decor should appeal to your demographic; for example, if you are a children's clothing retailer, you could make the interior and exterior family-friendly, with decor that will appeal to both parents and children. Consider having foam board printed with your company logo and product imagery to hang in the windows and draw passing traffic to your shop. Even if some people don't stop this time, they'll know what you're about, and may have a need to come in at some point in the future. Foam board sign printing is a common strategy used by big and small business alike; it makes the physical location of your business feel more prominent and inviting.
Additionally, you will need to ensure that the design of marketing materials is well thought out. Any flyers, emails, or ads that are distributed to your audience need to look professional and communicate your product offer, or whatever message you are delivering, effectively. You will be establishing your brand with a logo, specific imagery and/or words. Your audience now has a visual to recognise the next time they are exposed to your marketing campaign, and the stronger the engagement, the more top of mind your business will become in your potential customer's mind.
Good web design is extremely important as well. Your web presence, whichever platform you choose to primarily use as your call to action, should be aesthetically pleasing, and make it immediately clear to any visitor exactly what your company can do for them. Your homepage should be user-friendly with intuitive navigation, and apply a responsive design that will display and function equally well across all devices, including smart phones, tablets and PCs. Ultimately, effective design will keep your customer on the site and easily lead them to whatever it is that they came for. And prompt them to return again.
Essentially, you should never underestimate the importance of design when it comes to getting the word out about your product or service. We've all seen the badly laid out flyers that come through our door, and surprising, there is still a sea of badly designed websites online. Even if you are a sole trader with a tiny business, your marketing materials can and should be just as effective as corporate materials. You have one shot to make a good first impression so don't waste the opportunity. Coordinated design is also key, meaning that your physical location (if you have one), marketing and promotional materials, and web presence including social media profiles, should all be unified in both visual and written communication. This way you can establish your branding - that serves as the heart and soul of your company - in the minds of your customers.