A functioning business is very much like a living being. They can live and die, develop personalities, heck ... some are even recognized as people by the Supreme Court! It's no wonder that companies have their own stages of development similar to the human development process.
As parents are there to guide a child through stages of development, a small business owner acts as a parental figure to the young business. They are responsible for making decisions that will facilitate healthy growth of their company. Problems arise when these surrogate parents act like a child instead of looking at the best interest of the company and investing in its future.
"For startups and small businesses, branding can often take a backseat to other considerations, such as funding and product development. This is a mistake as a company's brand can be key to its success."
When it comes to branding, many small businesses owners are like 5 year olds afraid of a monster. The 5 year-old believes his blanket will keep him and safe, and if he closes his eyes tight enough he won't be seen or harmed. Lucky for the 5 year-old the monster is a figment of his imagination. Unfortunately, in the case of small businesses what they are hiding from isn't fictional. The company can be seen and harmed.
A brand is much like a fine wine or a toddler in its terrible twos. They get better with age. Lacking a brand from the start can have a devastating effect on a company. The following article from nytimes.com describes in further detail the importance of branding a business from the point of inception.