I’m going to tell you about the main things I did wrong when I first started in business 10 years ago! Don’t get me wrong this is embarrassing to admit. I’ve lived and learned and I want to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes – they cost me a lot of money.
You need them, period! They are the ONLY way you can pass your contact details to anyone who may be interested in buying from or referring to you. Always carry them with you. It’s hideous when someone asks you for your details and you’ve left your cards in the office. DO NOT be tempted to buy them from an online printer UNLESS you have a unique design, logo (branding), AND pick the correct size (3.5 x 2 inches). Why? I remember once being at a business networking event and witnessed two new businesses introduced to each other. Their business cards were IDENTICAL. Both had chosen the design from a well-known online retailer and apart from the wording were unrecognisable from each other. They were both mortified and the graphic designer and printer in the room were instantly called upon to help provide them both with superior alternatives. See one of our other blogs to learn about logo v brand and the importance of creating a unique look for your business.
You need one. Don’t think for a second that your business doesn’t need one. The world has changed and whilst we like to obtain personal recommendations, there are very few people who will part with their cash without doing their due diligence on the supplier. This starts (and sometimes ends) with their website. I’ve spoken to people who insist that a website isn’t relevant to their business. They’re wrong.
Ok, let me give you an example…. Restaurants – You might not see the need for a business of this kind to market themselves online. The reasons to do so are many and varied. Restaurants that have a website are able to assure customers that: 1. They are open at the time you want to visit 2. They can accommodate your booking (thanks to online booking systems) 3. And they have a varied menu that will suit the various palettes of your dining companions 4. The interior is luxurious, clean, and the theme suits the requirements of your dining experience
DO NOT try and build one yourself. There are websites out there promising to create you a website with a few button pushes. They are templates, you’re not creating anything unique. The likelihood of you being found by a search engine is pretty much non-existent. They’re also notoriously hard to move to a different hosting provider. If what I’m saying is like a foreign language to you, just ring. I’ll explain it but believe me, I’m here to help and I’m not saying it to sell you one of mine. I don’t want you paying for something you will ultimately be disappointed with.
LETTERHEADS AND COMPLIMENT SLIPS
This is the bit where all my printing suppliers fall out with me! You don’t need them. Ok, ok that’s a bit generalist – I apologise. You MIGHT need them but only if you work in professional services. A builder doesn’t need them. A graphic designer doesn’t need them. The best and most inexpensive solution is to have a template design that you can type straight onto and print out yourself. Unless you’re planning to send out upwards of a hundred letters a week then save yourself the money. They are not essential for starting your business.
Proceed with caution! There are many people who buy flyers with the very best of intentions. The old-fashioned ways are best! Think first, are they time limiting? (i.e. do they have an opening offer on them that makes them fit for nothing but the tip after two weeks?) What are you going to use them for? Are they for an offer or simply to announce you’ve arrived in their locality? How are they going to get to your ideal client? By hand is free but only if it’s your hand that’s passing them out. Companies that hand-deliver can be costly and you’re not always guaranteed to get them delivered to where you want them to go. They need to be designed properly and be fit for purpose otherwise you might as well grab a handful of £20 notes from your back pocket and burn them! If you are going to go down this road, please make sure your leaflets include a strong call to action!
If you’re opening a business with a shop front and want signage then go ahead! BUT get your branding agreed first and then shop around for the best prices.
Don’t buy ANYTHING until you’ve got your brand identity ready and you’re clear on what you need and why. We can help you source items at the very best prices and before we start we’ll work with you to create your brand identity. If you don’t get that right first then anything you do will be money down the drain. Have a read of our blog “logo versus brand” to understand what I mean.