Before you set out on a branding or a promotional campaign, you should first have a solid Corporate Identity. Corporate Identity (CI) is not just a fancy name for a logo, it's the overall "image" of your company as the outside world sees it. It's a sum of your logo, your corporate colours, typeface, slogan, packaging, and the way all these items are used together to reflect the company's goals and market positioning. It's the image that people subconsciously see when they think of your brand. It's unfortunate that many business owners spend very little time on choosing their CI.
It's always a good idea to look at how successful companies present their CI. There are lessons to be learnt from established brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, Ford or the newer, more aggressive brands like Virgin or Red Bull. All these companies are very clever but also very strict in the way they project their brand. You will notice very few variations of the logo, very small and definite colour palette and a precise control of placement. These things are equally important to a corporate giant as they are to a small business.
As a business owner you have every right to be picky about your logo; don't settle for "close enough". Make sure it reflects your business and appeals to your target audience. Make sure it suits your market and is easily remembered. It's a good idea to have your logo designed in black and white first (colour can be added later) - this will allow you to see if the logo can be reproduced effectively in a variety of printing/embroidery processes without losing its clarity and detail. Print the logo out in different sizes, what looks great on an A4 brochure might lose its appeal when reduced to a business card size.
Take your time picking the right corporate colour/s. Once you've picked them, try them with your logo, on your fleet cars, on a sample uniforms and make sure it fits with your overall company image. Similarly the typeface, don't settle on a conservative type if your product is aimed at the youth market and vice versa.
Even more important is the slogan. It should sum up your business in one powerful sentence. Make sure it's clear and precise in the message it's trying to convey. It should be almost synonymous with your logo. Think "Oh what a feeling" and Toyota.
These are all very important decisions as all your branding, advertising and marketing will be based on this Corporate Identity. Take your time, do some research, show the designs to your friends and employees and ask for their feedback. It pays to spend a bit more time on the outset and end up with a solid Corporate Identity rather than having to change it after a couple of years of unsuccessful branding.