When a small business starts-up, one of the first marketing projects to consider (after the business plan of course!), is “how to create a small business logo.” Logically, the next project should be “how do I copyright a Logo to protect it?”The response to the latter is actually very easy. Put the small business logo in a tangible form.Since protection is quite simple, let’s review the fundamentals one must reflect on to create a small business logo.- Your Small Business Logo – Capture the Essence of your BusinessSmall business logos are used for the purpose of immediate and effortless recognition by the public. They should convey the spirit of your small business. For instance, an advertising business will have a very different logo than a funeral home, which will have a different logo than a dance school, etc.- Determine The Target For Your Small BusinessIt is absolutely crucial to first determine your target market before designing a logo. What age is your target? What is their general income? What is their gender? What is their education level? Where do they live? What do they like to do? Answering these questions will guide you in your design direction. Remember, if your logo doesn’t appeal to your target market, it’s essentially useless.- Thinking About Your Business LogoThe next step in the process of creating an effective logo for your business is to brainstorm. Think about the image your want your business to conjure up to your customers. Are you serious? Are you innovative? Are you a trusted place for e-commerce? Take your time to brainstorm and write down all the adjectives and images that come to mind when you describe your small business. Without a clear concept of what you want to communicate, steps 3-5 will not be executed effectively to appeal to your target market.- Use of Images in your Business LogoChoose an image that conveys your business’ spirit. It can be as simple as an apple (Apple Computers) or more intricate like a flaming fox circling the world (Firefox – open source web browser). Small details such as the thickness of lines or the complexity of the art will all add to the feeling your image conveys.- The Perfect Font for your Business LogoWhen choosing the font used in your logo, you can either stick with an existing font or you may choose to have a font designed. Regardless, the font should help communicate the feelings and adjectives you determined in your brainstorming session. The purpose of your logo is to clearly communicate your brand. Its imperative the font you choose is easy to read and recognizable. Lastly, ensure the font you select is one that you or your designer can easily recreate because you are going to want to incorporate it on your website, letterheads and other promotional tools.- Color Palettes for your Small Business LogoThe use of colors can be used to evoke different emotions from your target market. Using gray will evoke a different feeling than red. As well, the brightness of your colour scheme will also change the feel of the logo as a neon colour will give a very different impression than a pale colour. One method to choosing your colour scheme might be to research what your competitors are doing. If you see a trend, then perhaps the research has been done for you with regards to what your target positively responds to. As a reminder, you will most likely have your logo printed on promotional items (fliers, brochures, business cards, hats, pens, etc.). The more colors incorporated in your logo, the more expensive it will be to print.- Make Your Business Logo UniqueThe whole principle behind creating your logo is to stand out from other businesses in your field. You want to be ‘top of mind’ for your target market. If they see your logo, you want them to think of you and any other marketing you have done. This way, when it comes time to requiring your service, they will automatically think of your business vs. the competitor’s. It’s important to take the time to really consider what can make you unique and memorable.- Sample Your Logo Before CommittingIn marketing, it’s rare the first idea will be the best. There is usually a process of altering a concept until it’s just right. As such, it’s prudent to create a number of logos to sample amongst your target market. Just because you and your team love your new logo, doesn’t mean the target will – and it’s their opinion that really counts.Disclaimer: The above information is meant as a general guide to further your copyright knowledge and does not constitute legal advice. For questions about your specific work, you should consult a copyright lawyer in your country.
SME’s and Small Business Tax, making it simple.A recent survey of 400 small to medium sized businesses carried out by ‘Inspirem’ highlighted that 40 per cent are not confident’ that their expenses allow them to claim for the valuable tax reductions that they are entitled to. It’s no surprise really as small business tax can be so confusing. So where do you start? Small Business Tax can be split in Limited company Tax – the tax your company pays and Personal Tax as you’re taking money from your business.What Limited Company Tax must I pay?Corporation TaxIf your trading as a limited company, firstly you need to pay Corporation Tax. Currently in April 2011 this is 20% for all companies with profits under £300,000. So say for example your business sends an invoice to your client for £100,000 excluding VAT over the year and £20,000 of that was your expenses and salary than you’ll need to pay 20% on your remaining profit of £80,000. This will be due nine months and one day after the year end of your small business. Employer’s National Insurance Contributions Your small business will be liable to pay 13.8% on any salary you’re paid over £136.01. It’s that simple there are no changes of rates at different level of salaries, so this is very black and white for your small business.VAT (Value Added Tax)Most businesses are likely to register for VAT, which is currently at 20% in 2011. This will be added to the end of all of your invoices, and this money is given straight to HM Revenue and Customs. If your taxable income is less than £150,000 in your financial year, you’ll have the option of registering for the Flat Rate VAT scheme, where you have to repay less VAT. Most small businesses are registered on the Flat Rate VAT scheme, your accountant will be able to discuss this is more detail for you. What Personal Tax do I have to pay?Income TaxThis isn’t that simple unfortunately and the majority of business owners end up very confused as you are both the owner taking dividends and an employee taking a salary. It’s important to remember income tax is based on the ‘Fiscal tax year’ so 6th April to 5th April not your small business financial year. It purely relates to personal worldwide tax income. Your personal allowance in 2011 is £7,475 anything you earn up to £35,000 is taxed at 20% and then £35,000 to £150,000 is taxed at 40% and 50% after £150,000. In addition when you reach £100,000 your personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of your income till it is reduced to zero at £114,950 so after this point you will be taxed 60%. This is why it is important to draw dividends from your small business to ensure you’re operating as tax efficient has possible, you will not have to pay any income tax on dividends up to the value of £35,000 and anything above this you will need to pay 25% which is significantly lower than Income Tax.National InsuranceLastly you need to pay your National Insurance (NI) contributions. You’re liable for this tax on anything you earn above £139.01 a week at 12% until you reach £817 per week and then this drops to 2%. All in all tax really doesn’t have to be complicated and with a specialist accountant in small business tax it will be come much easier and will make sure you make advantage of every benefit you may be entitled to.