COLOR IS THE first thing we notice when we see a
sign, ad or logo. Whether we consciously think
about it or not, color affects our mood and sets the
context for our reactions to what we see. We
became aware of the influence of color when Paul
was president of a research organization that,
among other subjects, investigated the wall color’s
effect on how people interact in a room. In this
same vein, research done by HubSpot, a software-marketing platform, showed 21 percent more
people clicked a red button than a green one.
This finding is not an accident: Red grabs
attention and conveys energy, excitement and a
sense of urgency. Each color has its own emotional impact.
; Blue communicates calm, credibility
; Green suggests something natural, calm,
hopeful and youthful and is associated with
money, health, freshness and wealth.
PAUL AND SARAH EDWARDS: LIFESTYLES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
Small-business owners and the climate
; Black is used to create a sense of authority,
formality and luxury.
; Yellow suggests sunshine, optimism
To use color most effectively in all your
marketing efforts, here are some suggestions.
Tailor your color choice to the age, gender
and interests of the kinds of customers you
seek. Find out what colors are typical for your type
of business. Look at websites, signs and color ads in
trade magazines. Chances are you will find a
dominant color for your industry. Once you select a
principal or main color, stick with it.
When selecting a second color, choose one
that makes the main color stand out. For
example, think of the UPS logo: The gold letters
stand out against a brown background. Typical
combinations are a dominant color like red, blue or
black paired with white, yellow or black—e.g., red
with black or yellow with red.
Limit the number of colors you use.
Ninety-five percent of top brands use only one or
two colors. The colors most used by top companies
are blue ( 33 percent), red ( 29 percent), black or gray
( 28 percent) and yellow or gold (13 percent).
Orange, purple and pink are less frequently used.
Try different hues, tints, shades and tones
for the colors you choose. Keep in mind that color
in the print world differs from digitized color.
If you have an existing logo and brand identity,
it may be time to tweak it for greater success and
then make certain you carry your color identity on
everything you produce to market your business:
presentations, business cards, letterhead, websites,
flyers, etc. C
are the authors
of 17 business
IF YOU’VE WATCHED ABC’s
Shark Tank you’ve seen business
owners get knocked out of consideration because they don’t
know the answers to basic questions. Small-business financial
and management consultant,
Costco member and author
Richard L. Weinberger (www.
that knowing the answers to the
following questions can help all
business owners be successful.
1. What were your total revenues for the last quarter and
last 12 months, including profit
margins? Analyze your company’s income statement by dollar
and percentage amounts for all
2. How much equity and
debt is there in your business?
A review of assets, liabilities and
relevant ratios will provide the
figures that make up your business’s capital structure.
3. Who’s your competition?
Why are you different and better?
Evaluate strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats to find
4. How does your product
get from origin to destination?
The entire supply chain management system must be its most
efficient in terms of processes,
time and cost. Analysis of each
component is key.
5. How much cash are you
using monthly, and how will
you use my investment? Prepare
a cash-flow budget and budget
variance report to answer these
6. How do you market your
product or service, and what
changes do you foresee?
Business decisions and marketing change as a business grows.
Have a strategic business plan
that includes solid marketing. C
ACCORDING TO A recent survey, small-business
owners are concerned about climate change. In
June, the American Sustainable Business Council
http://asbcouncil.org), a nonprofit organization that
offers programs to educate and inform both the
public and policy makers about the benefits of a
more sustainable economy, conducted a phone survey of 555 owners of small businesses with two to
99 employees. It found that clear majorities of
small-business owners are concerned about how
climate change will affect their companies, including its impact on energy costs, health-care costs and
the infrastructure they depend on. Here are some
; Eighty-seven percent of business owners
named one or more consequences of climate
change, such as higher energy costs, costs stemming
from power outages due to stress on the power grid
and a rise in health-care costs, as potentially harmful to their businesses.
; Sixty-four percent of business owners believe
government regulation is needed to
reduce carbon emissions from
power plants. Majorities
hold across party lines.
; Fifty-seven percent of business proprietors
say that the biggest carbon emitters should make
the biggest reductions in carbon emissions and
bear most of the costs of reduction efforts.
; Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed say
they are concerned about carbon pollution in
particular, and 53 percent are concerned about
climate change in general.
; Fifty-three percent of company owners think
extreme weather has, or will have, a negative
impact on their businesses. One in five has already
; Half of surveyed business owners support
tighter Environmental Protection Agency limits on
carbon emissions. Only 28 percent oppose them.
; When asked whether they would prefer a 10
percent increase in energy costs rather than accept
the consequences of climate change, 39 percent said
yes, while 35 percent said “neither” or “don’t know.”
Twenty-five percent said they would rather suffer
the consequences of climate change than pay
10 percent more.
To read the full study,