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Creating Your Businesses' Sense Of Style

The look of your business-and a great design concept-can make a powerful impact on customers and help generate revenue. That's the word from Susie MendÌve, a graphic designer who has spent years helping brands-from nonprofit organizations to large beauty companies- create their own unique image. 

MendÌve believes it is important to create an image that is consistent throughout-from Web site to letterhead to the storefront window. The image should clearly communicate what it is your company does. 

Here are her five tips to step up your business style: 

• Observe, observe, observe. Consider your favorite clothing designers, boutique hotels you love and your must-have magazines. Each of these can provide clues to how they created their business style through hangtags, labels, menus, drink napkins, font choices, color schemes and Web sites. 

• Get organized. Every small business has a similar list of tools, including a logo or specialized version of their company name, letterhead, stationery, business cards and a Web site that shows current and potential customers that it is in business. Take time to think about your customers and what they need from you and your business. 

• Go digital and save money. Forrester Research recently found that 42 percent of small businesses are marketing or advertising their business online. A Web site and e-mail address are musts. 

• Find the right partners. It can save time and money to have an outside expert help with the process. For example, a company such as Network Solutions can help you create a Web site, design a logo and even drive traffic to your business. You can even design your Web site yourself with their Do-It-Myself easy-to-use Web templates, or have one of their Web designers create a site for you. 

• Style equals advertising. Make sure your style is consistent across all elements of your business. This conveys a sense of attention to detail and helps build consumer confidence. It's also important to use that style wherever you can-a branded envelope may be seen by more than just the recipient of your invoice.