Why small businesses should care about design

We’ve all heard the famous expression that you only have one shot in making a great first impression. It’s true in many facets of life but none more so than in business. What role does design play in business? Why should you, as a business owner, care about design? It’s simple. Think of it as your wardrobe.

Design is like the clothes on your back. It gives people an impression of who you are at the core or who you aspire to become. We teach our kids not to judge people by their exterior appearance but yet we all do it everyday subconsciously. Let me share with you a small story to put this into perspective.

There was a 60-year old man from a small fishing community who went into town to look for a car. He arrived at one of the largest car dealerships in town and walked in. He was dressed with a pair or dirty, stained and torn jeans, a plaid shirt partially tucked in and a large dated winter coat. He had a 2-week old beard, greasy hair and reeked with the smell of fish.

Old fishermen never die. They just smell like it.

As he walked into the dealership, a beautiful luxury Cadillac caught his eye. As he was checking it out, the salesmen in the corner of the room were drawing straws to see who would serve him. A young salesman was doomed for the task, approached the old man and said “anything I can help you with sir?” The old man responded that he was looking to buy a car. He then pointed to the luxury Cadillac and said “this looks like a nice car. How much for this one?”

The young salesman chuckled and replied “sir, that’s a luxury Cadillac and it’s most definitely out of your price range.” The old man pulled a massive wad of $100 bills out of his coat pocket and said, “You’re probably right. Thanks for your time.” The old man left that dealership and returned the next day in the same Cadillac he looked at the day before, but purchased at a different dealership. He waved the young salesman over and thanked him for not trying to sell him something out of his price range. He told him that another dealership gave him such a great deal on the same car that he bought one for his wife too.

The vanity plates read EPICWIN and I♥YRMOM.

Most of us would have thought the same thing as that young salesman. The point is that the image that the old man was portraying didn’t reflect the core of who he was and therefore he didn’t get the respect he deserved regardless of whether it was right or wrong. We must be sensitive in business that people are quick to judge and that your first impression is a crucial part of a customer’s buying process.

Your target audience will make an impression of your business by the way you project yourself visually, whether you like it or not. Branding your business with strong design from a qualified graphic design firm, can help shape perceptions and instill confidence in your potential customers. It’s an investment in your brand that will have a great return in the long run.


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