Five things to do before spending big on your logo

Everyone loves a good logo, but that means it can be tempting to put your brand before your business. Belinda Watson from MYOB has some tips to make sure you’ve got legs to stand on before you invest in a facelift. ~ WizeOwl

So you’ve got an awesome idea for a business, you’ve confided in your mum and bestie and they’ve said ‘go for it’. So now it’s time to come up with a name for your new venture and get a logo, right?

It’s human nature to think that you couldn’t possibly start a business unless you have a great logo — something that symbolises the start of your empire. But it’s not true.

There are plenty of very successful, money-making businesses out there that have appalling logos or start off with simple wordmarks, and there are many beautifully crafted logos that have never made a single dollar.

The overall visual identity of your brand is extremely important, but it’s definitely not a high priority when you’re first starting out.

There are a lot of other milestones and priorities to spend your money on before you spend big on what you look like.

However, there is one exception to this!

If your product requires packaging, such as food or beauty products, then yes, you’ll need to make sure from the get go that your visual identity is a carefully crafted representation of your brand’s purpose and personality.

For everybody else, put your hard-earned dollars towards building a unique product or service and achieve these five things before you go knocking on a designer’s door.

1. Develop a business plan

It’s still important to have a business plan – even if it’s just a couple of pages about the financials.

Having a business plan helps to organise your thoughts and put processes in place for all the aspects of your business that you need to think through before you start.

A good business plan doesn’t have to be long, but it helps to think through the viability of your business.

2. Validate your idea with a pilot and test audience

A business is not a business unless you are developing a product or service that people actually want, need and are willing to part with their hard-earned cash for.

After you’ve developed your business plan you need to find people who will actually buy your product or service.

Sorry, but friends and family don’t constitute a test audience.

Find strangers that will give you honest feedback about your idea. And, if you can get them to pledge money or pre-pay you for when you deliver – even better.

3. Develop a name and secure it

Up until this point a name really isn’t that important. It’s a good idea to have a working title, but it’s more important to make sure you can actually build the product and get the customers.

Once it’s clear your business has legs, then it’s time to think about naming.

There’s a lot written about how to develop a name, but there’s no point developing the world’s best name unless you can secure it. This means:

  • Checking you aren’t in breach of anyone else’s trademark – it’s easy to do a quick check through IPAustralia
  • Find and secure your URL – pretty much all businesses these days will require an online presence, even if it’s just a simple landing page with contact details. To secure your URL you’ll need to think about what geographic markets you’ll want to operate in, both now and in 5-10 years time.
  • Secure social media handles on all the key channels your audience will frequent eg. Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook. You might not be able to get your specific brand name, but a variation is also fine.

4. Build the website, product or app

This seems pretty obvious, but you should definitely sort out whether you can actually make or source your product before doing anything else. Especially if your idea is tech-based – these are notorious for taking longer to build than planned.

If your idea is a service, then at least get a landing page set up so customers know how to contact you.

5. Get your first 50 paying customers (or just one very valuable one)

And for the most important bit… paying customers. Once you’ve set up your business, the faster you can find customers who will pay you the better.

For many businesses, 50 customers might be too many, you might just need to get a couple of big value customers to make it worthwhile.

But, getting customers is sometimes easier said than done.

When you’ve achieved all of this… and it looks like your business is getting some traction and starting to take off, then it might be time to think of investing in a beautifully crafted identity.

But until this stage, focus on creating value and finding the customers.