Experts urge small business owners to “brand” their businesses with a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials. But they rarely explain the reasons behind this advice. Below are some of some of the benefits of having a professionally designed logo and identity system. Read more about Developing Your Company’s Logo.

1. To look “bigger.” Home-printed business cards with perforated edges or cards printed with standard designs available through Microsoft software or online business card vendors scream “small-time vendor” to your potential clients — and that is how they will want to compensate you.

2. To increase your chance of getting venture capital or selling a business. If you present a well-rounded business package, including marketing materials and graphics, your business will look more complete.

3. To attract more clients. Some clients look for a well-defined company, and “look and feel” may be one of their criteria in making a purchasing decision.

4. To brand yourself. If you are a consultant, you need a logo in order to build an image and a brand that is bigger than your individual identity.

5. To convey that you are established. A logo and professionally-printed materials show that you are committed to both your business and your clients.

6. To give clients a sense of stability. You may not have been in business “since 1908,” but if you have invested in an identity, you are much less likely to fold in the eyes of your customers. It goes a long way toward building that all-important “trust.”

7. To be more memorable. Forty percent of people better remember what they see than what they hear or read. So having graphics associated with your business and having consistent graphics on your business materials make you more likely to come to the forefront of potential clients’ minds when they have a need for your goods or services.

8. To explain your company name. If your company name contains a little-known word or an acronym, the logo can give visual clues to its meaning.

9. To endear your company name to your clients. A difficult-to-pronounce or hard-to-remember company name may make it challenging for your clients to hire you. When potential clients have the need for your services, they might not recall who you are. But if you reinforce the name with interesting, compelling graphics, they are more likely to remember you, pick up the phone, and hire you.

10. To explain an unusual line of business. If your business is nontraditional or in a hard-to-explain industry, a logo can help to explain exactly what it is that you do.

11. To show what practices differentiate you from your competition. A well-designed logo can have many subtle meanings and can begin to tell the story of how you do business, including the special practices that make you stand apart from the competition.

12. To stand out in your field. A well-designed logo and an identity system can put you far above the competition, especially if they are paired with a strong marketing program.

13. To comply with expectations. In some industries, a logo is just expected. In the creative services industry especially, having a logo is an industry standard.

14. To show your commitment and for the sense of personal pride it will add to your practice. In other words, do it for yourself.

These benefits will boost your business and your confidence, so start thinking about developing a logo and identity as soon as possible.