We all judge by appearances and that is just as true with business identity.
At a recent networking meeting there were two ladies with new businesses. One had a well designed leaflet. It used two strong colours, a clear image and was printed on a heavyweight paper. Immediately the flyer said 'quality' and along with that the subconscious thought fact that I would trust that company. If they have attention to detail in the way they promote themselves then hopefully the service they are offering (exercise and wellbeing advice in this case) will also be carefully thought through. When I spoke to the lady she hadn't even got premises sorted out yet but was running bootcamps on the beach. But she was gaining a loyal following and was working towards getting her own studio. Again her enthusiasm and the way she presented herself (wearing colours that complemented her flyer) gave you great confidence. The website is also styled in the same way at the flyer. www.bandanahealthandfitness.co.uk
The other new business was similar – a self empowerment studio. This studio has been set up in a beautiful flint barn in quite a smart, local village. But the flyer shouted 'amateur'. The fonts and layout were all over the place. A stock image that hadn't been cutout but left with its white background was plonked in one corner. The paper was thin and easily crumpled in my bag. To make it worse they had forgotten a piece of information so they printed out little slips and stapled them to the corner – looking like something the school might send home about their fete. The website looks smart enough but has no relation to the styling or colours of the leaflet. The courses they are offering aren't cheap so the promotional materials should really reflect that quality and give people a sense that this company is offering a service that you can trust and will still be around in years to come.
You know your business and how you want people to view you. If design isn't your strong point then work with a designer who will understand how to project that image through print and online media. If you believe in what you are doing, and you are in it for the long term, then invest in making it look good – you will be surprised to find that good design and quality print don't have to cost the earth. Take the time to talk to an expert and get your business looking great!