Office Supplies or Success – Your Choice!

As a business owner do you spend more on office supplies than you do on marketing your company? By marketing, I mean any activity whose goal is to grow new and existing business. This “investment” is an integral component in brand building. I can’t tell you how many small businesses I’ve spoken with over the years who put more value in the decor of their offices than the quality of their brand. They had no issue purchasing the latest office equipment, and lavished up their surroundings so that they are professional in their space.

When it came to their brand image though, it was get it done as cheaply and inexpensively as possible. Anybody with a computer took a crack at the logo and marketing materials. Bob, in IT did the website. The simple fact of the matter is, you don’t have to spend your kid’s college fund, you only have to allocate enough to get the proper guidance to bring your brand to the next level. The internet has brought to your desktop, resources that purchased wisely, puts professional advice into your hands. The simple fact that you are here at Small Business branding reading this post shows your passion for your business. You could be wasting your time doing something else besides trying to improve your business.

One of my clients, Guardog™ (a manufacturer of skate guards and covers) has recently produced their first 12 page catalog of products. This company is a classic case of a manufacturer whose patent ran out, and off-shore competition threatened to bury them. But, they chose to fight by super-juicing their brand and re-establishing their dominance in their category. Their brand now represents the best skate guards around the world. All the top figure skaters wear the Guardog™ brand. At retail you will see that it commands a higher price. That is what branding is all about. They could have taken the cheap approach and had the clerical department put their marketing materials together and build their brand, but they chose to take the advice of professionals and make them part of the team. Over the five years I’ve been associated with this brand, we’ve all benefited from steady growth. Distributors as far away as the Soviet Union eagerly await the latest Guardog™ product. The owner will also attest they did not break the bank achieving their goals, but spent wisely and strategically. Distributors on seeing the new catalog informed Guardog™ that it will definitely increase sales. That kind of confidence validates the effort expended.

Don’t view raising the bar as something that you can’t afford to do, but as something that you must do. Choose those who can guide you properly and work out terms that you can live with that allows you to be profitable. Your marketing and brand building should be invigorating and excite you. If you found it more more fun choosing credenzas than developing your positioning strategy, then you’re speaking with the wrong people. Presenting your expert profile should trump everything else. Invest in yourself properly and realize a significant return.

Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.


  1. Great title Ed, very creative, I remember when I worked for a small company, and this posts is perfect for them!!

  2. This is a great a article and one that hits home for a lot of businesses that don’t make it. I remember a long time ago, talking to the CEO of a fast-growing computer networking company about this. He described how one of his previous competitors was going out of business. Apparently, when they were making lots of money, they decided to party too much and went on a spending spree, buying things that had nothing to do with growing their business.

  3. Hi Ed,
    Another brilliant post. And I’ve decide to put off my trip to Staples to look for a new credenza for now… 😉
    I would add this. Business must do things that fall into two categories: things that make them money, and things that don’t (most government red tape falls into the second, but that’s another story). Businesses that focus most of their time and energy on the first category will succeed. Businesses that prefer to prioritize on the second category won’t.
    ~ Steve, Pinnacle Trade Show Displays

  4. Tim, I’m sure may people who read this article will instantly think of someone they know. This attitude is pervasive among small business. At least we got Steve out of Staples 🙂

  5. this reminded me of one of my competitors (who I actually know in person – most are on the net), who always bought the newest and fastest gadgets at our local comuter store when i only bought some stuff for cleaning my PC or some new inks. He is out of business – I am not.

  6. Mike Collins says:

    I think its partly psychological…for many people its easier to justify spending on something tangible like a printer cartridge or new office chairs. You can’t hold a brand in your hand. Its a short-sighted view but I think its one that many business owners suffer from.

  7. I’m sure you’re right Mike.

    I used to work in the newspaper industry when I started out. I marveled how small business people did their most effective marketing during their going out of business sales. When they started out you had to pry an advertising dollar out of their hands, but when they were going under – stand back!

    Are there any psychology majors out there who could do a study on the mind of the small business person? I’m sure it would be a fascinating read.

  8. nice post! branding seems to be the key around around building a success business

  9. The key to this is branding but of all the attempts to build a brand that businesses take, how many actually succeed? i always think its takes mega bucks to do it right and thats not in everyones reach.

  10. Agree. Though it is not just the brand imaging. It is a holistic approach that maximizes the product. It is the presentation, it is the branding, and it is the sales ethic, the service value adding and it is the attitude of the whole company who will provide a good business principle to their chosen market.

  11. I agree with it, you points really make sense, i think in many cases people dont give much consideration to branding and just because of it things start going in the wrong direction.

  12. You and I are singing from the same song sheet Franking. Thank you.

    I’m sorry to respond so late as I was distracted by a tornado hitting our property last Sunday, no injuries but lots of damage.