3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: June 13

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Avoid these "crippling" branding mistakes. While marketing and advertising efforts are often seen as low priority when starting out, Washington Post contributor and advertising/branding expert Anthony Pappas says defining your brand early on is imperative.

"Your brand isn't just a logo and a name; it's part of your business plan. It's the promise you make to customers about what they can expect in all interactions with your people, products, services and company, shaping sales, employee adoption, decision-making and more," Pappas writes.

While there is no one way to build a brand, there are common mistakes new business owners tend to make. Pappas identifies some of the most important ones to avoid.

Don't mimic the success of other companies -- Apple ( APPL) is a great example of this: As competitors defined themselves as tech companies, Apple positioned itself as a lifestyle, Pappas writes.

Never define your brand narrowly. Make sure your brand is authentic and reflected throughout the company.

Use customer engagement to get your company more exposure.

Never lose sight of your aspirations, which will help define the brand.

Finally, never break promises. "If companies don't deliver on their brand promises, their customers will hold them accountable," Pappas writes.

2. Steve Wynn invests in Pie Face franchise system. Billionaire entrepreneur Steve Wynn, who made his fortune investing in Las Vegas casinos and as founder, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts ( WYNN), is going from glitz to meat pies. He bought $15 million worth of shares of Pie Face, an Australian franchise looking to expand in the U.S., according to QSR Magazine.

Pie Face also said that leading Broadway producer Kevin McCollum will be consulting with the franchise on its U.S. marketing programs. McCollum is best known for his work with the Tony-award winning musical Rent.

The company plans to open stores in New York City, then in other key markets across the country, QSR says.

3. Weird sales pitches that worked. Do you tend to rely heavily on PowerPoint presentations during sales calls? To grab clients, shake things up a bit, whether it's giving prospective clients fake cobwebs to throwing basketballs from helicopters to sending custom gifts -- all examples via American Express ( AXP) OPEN Forum.

Clearly the entrepreneurs were thinking outside the box -- the first lesson to creating your own successful "weird" pitch. Other key points to keep in mind: tailoring a pitch through research of a client's interests or hobbies; using resources in your community; expressing your personality in the pitch; and, finally, sending something "three-dimensional," since envelopes can get lost easily, the article says.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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