7 Steps to a New Image for Your Small Business Without Spending Much

A bit of color, tweak the logo, optimize for mobile and, voila! It's a fresh new look.

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By John Boitnott • Oct 16, 2014

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Whether you've been in business for five weeks or 50 years, chances are your business has an image, at least with someone. You may assume that once your image has been established you can't change it, but that isn't true at all. From time to time, you may even find that you need to change your image to attract a new audience or change the direction of your business.

Related: 3 Tips to Rebrand Without Breaking the Bank

An image makeover isn't as complicated as it sounds. With a few simple tweaks, you can alter the direction of your brand to reach your goals.

1. Conduct an image audit

Before you can figure out where you're going, you must first know where you stand. Take an in-depth look at your current branding and try to see things through your customers' eyes. Compare it side by side to brands that are reaching the goals you hope to achieve.

If you want to gain the interest of a younger demographic, find successful brands in your industry and review their logos, website design and marketing campaigns to see what they're doing that you aren't.

2. Mobilize your strategy

If your business was created before smartphones and tablets, you may already be behind competitors. Your website and search results should be built for the modern age, using responsive web design techniques and optimized for local searches.

Your address and contact information should be updated throughout the web so customers can find you when they search for the closest business of your type.

3. Rethink your colors

Data-driven design is has become an important part of branding, with businesses using proven concepts to engage audiences. Color and content placement are an essential part of successful design, as marketers have found.

But you don't have to shell out a large sum of money to a marketing firm to learn how to design pages and logos that compel customers to take action. This starts with using colors that reflect the image you're hoping to achieve. This color quiz can help you select the best colors for your brand.

4. Listen to your customers

Throughout the makeover process, you should be guided by analytics and customer feedback. This begins before you make any changes. Note the keywords and sources customers use to get to your site and how they interact with your site once they arrive.

Once your changes have been made, you'll have a great baseline for comparison if you've conducted careful research beforehand. Invite your customers to participate in a voluntary survey during the process to learn more about their thoughts.

Related: The 8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company (Infographic)

5. Participate in the community

In addition to your online efforts, you should also be doing face-to-face marketing work, as well. One great way to make a big splash as you rebrand yourself is to participate in local events. Even an online business can gain attention in its own hometown by sponsoring local charities or networking at a Chamber of Commerce get-together.

As your business makes an impression on the local community, customers can spread the word about your brand through social media, potentially increasing your sales.

6: Strive for consistency

As you seek to expand your customer base, be careful not to alienate existing customers. Companies like Starbucks and Target are examples of companies that have created a logo that persists despite years of slight marketing changes. If you already have a loyal customer base, only consider making only slight tweaks to your logo, if that. Work with that logo to create new marketing materials around it.

7: Be willing to be drastic

If your goal is to start from scratch with an entirely new customer base, disregard number six and change everything. Mobile wallet company Isis recently rebranded itself as Softcard, for obvious reasons. After a 1996 crash, ValuJet renamed itself AirTran after merging with AirWays.

Whether you're recovering from a PR nightmare or have found you've gone too far in the wrong direction, sometimes it's necessary to cut all ties and pivot in a new direction altogether.

Since a TV-style extreme business makeover may not be in your future, you can take matters into your own hands and make the changes you need to succeed. The Small Business Administration has Small Business Development Centers where you can get advice to help you reimagine your business.

Don't for a second think you're the only entrepreneur considering going through changes like this. Thousands of companies have adjusted their trajectories and have gone on to success. You can do it, too.

Related: How This Company Is Looking to Rebrand a Whole City

John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

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