Do you think a logo is important for sole trader businesses?
Why is a business logo important for sole traders (and any new business in general)? Is it really necessary?
I work with many brands and the importance of a good design is underestimated. These days it is simple enough to post a logo build on something like 99Designs or freelancer.com.au but the issue can be that you don't have it built with your whole business strategy in mind. It is easy to get a logo done on a superficial level but no so easy to position it where you need it to be. Communication of your brand comes through in the logo and it should say something about your business that represents where you sit in the market clearly. If you have a low rent logo it can affect your pricing and sales in the long run.
Although your logo and branding is very important to your business as a Sole Trader, online your face is your logo and the best branding you can possibly have as a representation of your company and who you are and what you offer.
Here's and example Julie..... I remember http://www.problogger.net/ not because of their logo as much as the owner of the blog Darren Rowse, his thick black glasses and the quality of the content he offers his readers. I don't remember his business because of his logo on Pro Blogger. I couldn't tell you what it looks like.
The old saying that " People buy from people they know, like and trust" is especially relevant online today. People don't buy from logo's.
As a sole trader your logo and brand can be something that is built over time .... I speak from experience as this is how I built my successful business online. People will remember you and your face which is very relevant when building trust and your reputation online and growing your business.
At risk of upsetting the apple-cart, I suggest the importance of a logo is low on the requirements for a sole trader, particularly in your line of business. Of far greater importance is your business name. It's the first thing people/prospects are aware of; the first part of your "brand" to get recognition; the first thing you say on introduction. And for many people you meet/talk to, it will be the only thing they take away. Because you don't get to hand over a card on the phone, or sometimes even at a meeting.
So it's true: you are literally the face of your business – in thought, word and deed. Everything you think/feel, say and do affects how you are perceived in the minds of your prospects. These things are more important than the minor detail of your logo.
Secondly, your business name will always be used in context. Prospects will know who/what is being referred to.
This opinion is backed with over 20 years in design & creative services. In every one of those years, I've never met a single person who made a sale based on the look of their logo. The vast majority of your clients/prospects simply don't care.
Having had a quick look at your website, I wouldn't sweat it too much. There are certainly several aesthetic improvements that could be made, not least of which is a logotype for your business. But don't misconstrue "logotype" as a complex, abstract or overwrought symbol accompanied by a stylised typeface. Which is often the result from a cheap design site.
It's simply a wordmark; an intelligent selection of a suitable font for your business name and its subsequent consistent use across your communication. Your local graphic design firm could probably handle it quickly and efficiently without you needing to crowdsource.
In rating 1 to 5, a business logo rates 5. It gives a sole traders a face in a big crowd.
If you want to get most out of crowdsourced design sites it's a good idea to manually invite designeres to your project. Spend a few hours looking through existing public projects and send a message to designers that catch your eye and ask them nicely to participate in your project. It's also a good idea to let them know what you liked about their design in the project you found them on, so they can better cater to your preferences.
Make sure you provide as many visual examples of other logos and styles and colours you already like so they have a better reference point.
The better you can communicate what is in your head and provide detailed and specific feedback to designers, the more likely you will get a design you like. (I've been on both ends of this situation)
One of my favourites is crowdspring, and even though they are a little but more expensive, this also means better quality designers are on the site. You can also do a search for already made logos "logos for sale" which are pre-made logos that are available for you to buy. This can be a matter of shopping for the look you want and just buying it.
I'm also currently trying out etsy.com for my personal logo -> if you like the handmade fun style of etsy, you may find some great designers there for you. They also have some fairly cheap pre-designed logos for $20, and they'll just replace the text with your text.
Again like others said before sometimes the best branding you can do with your business is personal branding :) Especially if you want to keep your business close to your heart and associated with you (everyone has their own reasons for creating a business) as opposed to growing into a faceless company.
Anthony Robbins did that very well - as the business is based all around his personal branding. Sometimes that is more powerful.
Thank you so far for the feedback - I do like the reference to your own image as a logo, I think I can work with that Sandy!
I can see a debate here on logo vs face and I suspect there are reasons behind both. My wife is a designer in the craft world and is not one to use her own name or face despite my insistence she needs to build a brand. In the end we compromised and we now promote her brand and she blogs under a pseudonym which is a part of her brand. 'Gathering Stitchers' is the brand and 'Stitch' is her BLOG name creating a unified theme. It seems to work reasonably well as she needs to build an online presence and feels uncomfortable using her own face and name. This is not unlike the 'brand' Dorothy Dix - which was the pseudonym of U.S. journalist Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. This allowed her to lead a private life and build a serious brand. BTW - in regards to creating a logo, get a professional to help. Before you put any logo design features you need to know what message you want to convey, the implications cross culture of the design, colour mix and message etc. Greg Ferrett