The third part of that question is about designing a logo that stands out. As a small business owner, you should:

1. Research the competition. If you don’t know what you’re standing out against, then… well, you know. Find out what your competitors look like before beginning. Tell your designer!

2. Define, define, define. One way to make your logo stand out is to really know what your business is all about. A logo that’s backed by meaning is a lot more likely to really get noticed.

Then your brand designer should:

3. Research the trends. Your designer should be up-to-date on the latest logo trends – and know which ones fail and which ones work. There are lots of resources online about this, like this one: LogoLounge Trends 2009

4. Infuse it with feeling, passion and energy. You can tell when a drawing has energy behind it. If your logo has this important element, then it will reach out to customers instead of blending in.

5. Make sure it’s visually unique. Use shapes in a different way. Overlap things. Create drawings that look like two things at once. Make the drawing itself interesting.

6. Create an eye-catching color palette that is flexible enough to be used not only in the logo, but across all the other marketing pieces. Look at color trends, bright colors, unusual combinations. Use color psychology to choose your colors.

7. Font treatment. I usually recommend that a stand-out logo should not use any of the fonts that come standardly installed on Macs or PCs. Find an interesting font that helps engage the viewer.

8. Lay out the logo in a unified way. Create balance in your logo layout, but make it interesting. The logo icon doesn’t always have to be to the left of the text. It can be above it, inbetween lines of text, or off in the upper right. Do something intriguing with the layout.

9. Get feedback. Especially from your small business’s target audience – they’re the ones “buying” the logo. Ask them for specific reactions and see if you can improve the design. We’re not looking for design by committee here, but for good suggestions that you may have overlooked.

Then you’ll be on the road to a stand-out brand!