Color Works for Small Businesses

Friday Jun 27th 2003 by SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff
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A new study from International Communications Research and Xerox indicates that color printing and copying technologies play a big role in customers' first impressions about your small business.

According to the most recent U.S. Census, 98 percent of U.S. companies are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. In today's economy, with so many small businesses competing for clients and customers, owners need to be aware of the simple, inexpensive tools that can be utilized to successfully run a small business.

Color plays an important role in the success of small businesses — from the walls in the office to work documents. According to a recent study conducted by International Communications Research and Xerox, an overwhelming majority of small business respondents embrace the benefits of color:

  • 92 percent believe that color presents an image of impressive quality.

  • 90 percent feel that color can assist in attracting new customers.

  • 90 percent believe that customers remember documents better when color is used.

It is important to invest in marketing tools, such as color brochures and collateral materials to communicate business messages and set your business apart from the competition. Designing a high-quality color logo that really defines the business is very important. So, when customers see the logo they can identify with the company and the product being sold.

Blue is the color most utilized in company logos and when asked what color best describes their business over the next 12 months, respondents surveyed by Xerox and ICR selected Blue. Red and black follow as the second and third most-used colors, respectively.

While small businesses realize the importance of adding color, 73 percent are still using an expensive and slow technology — namely, inkjet printers. With the speed advancements, dropping cost of laser technology, and innovative technologies such as solid ink, small business can benefit from incorporating color into their world.

More than 90 percent of the small businesses surveyed agree that using color in their office documents and marketing materials have helped them attract new customers, present an image of impressive quality to their customers, and make a memorable impression.

Additionally, 84 percent of the respondents say greater consideration is given to their ideas and proposals when they are communicated in color. And at least 80 percent of small business owners believe the use of color documents adds value to their bottom line by:

  • Making their company appear successful (83 percent).

  • Enhancing employee creativity (83 percent).

  • Giving them a competitive advantage (81 percent).

"With years of expertise in the science of color imaging, Xerox has known that color can be an essential enabler for businesses of all sizes. We conducted this survey to help pinpoint the extent that small businesses value color," said Rob Stewart, vice president of color marketing, Xerox Office Group. "The results overwhelmingly indicate that small businesses not only understand and appreciate the benefits that color brings to their business, but also are using it to work smarter."

The majority of small businesses surveyed, 66 percent, have the capability to produce color documents in their workplaces, with most of those companies saying the lack of color would be an inconvenience. Also of note, small businesses in the northeast were the most likely to have color capabilities, with 72 percent currently able to produce color documents. The north-central region of the U.S. proved to be the least colorful, with 55 percent of the small businesses reporting in-house color capabilities.

"In today's economy, with so many small businesses competing for a share of their markets, companies need to be aware of the simple, affordable tools that can be used to successfully portray and run a small business," Stewart said.

ICR is a leading independent research firm based in Media, Pa. The research firm conducted 1,013 interviews with small-business owners or managers with fewer than 100 employees to determine the influence of color printing and copying technologies on their businesses.

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