Those of you who own your own business may know that customer recognition of your business's name and logo is important. Did you know, however, that the clearer your overall business identity is, the more likely your business is to survive and thrive? In order for your identity to be clear to your customers, it has to be unique, as well as consistently displayed in every aspect of your business. People are highly affected by visual elements. Remember the saying about a "picture is worth a thousand words?" That is why using a consistent visual image is so important for businesses. A sense of cohesion concerning your business, what you do, who you are, what your culture is, is very important in today's congested marketplace.

Establishing a clear and memorable identity is the first step, and is probably one of the easier steps you'll be taking. The hard part is maintaining that identity consistently, especially when your business begins to grow.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll talk about some of the work that goes into establishing a business identity, but we'll focus primarily on how to set up written guidelines to ensure that image is displayed consistently to the public.