Think About This: A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

In today’s economy, cash flow is a vital component to the success of any business. This is especially true for small businesses, and it is absolutely critical to the start-up. Many new business owners operate with a very limited marketing budget, so it can be tempting to cut corners and opt for printed materials that cost less but may prove to do more harm than good. Allow me to explain.

See Jane Start A Business
Jane Entrepreneur is starting a business selling her handmade jewelry. She orders business cards from an online print company because it’s a great deal – 1,000 cards for $5.00. What a bargain! She uses one of their free templates, so she doesn’t have to pay a graphic designer, saving even more money. She receives the cards and starts handing them out.

She quickly realizes that she needs to include a website and brochures in her marketing campaign. She finds a free website hosting service where she can design her own site and only pay for hosting. She uses one of their templates, finding the one that most closely matches the colors and design of her business cards, but it’s still not an exact match. She hopes to rely on name recognition to encourage her customers to connect the dots between her website and business cards. She has the same experience with brochures when she attempts to design her own brochures using a desktop publishing program that came on her computer.

While I will be the first one standing in line to say that as a business owner, I don’t want to spend money I don’t have to, I must point out the critical error our Ms. Entrepreneur made that could end up costing her more money and hassle in the long run than necessary. I have worked with clients who presented me with a business card they purchased for next-to-nothing online and are now faced with the challenge of re-creating that design/color scheme and quasi-logo in their other marketing materials or even worse, tossing the whole thing out and having to start all over.

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
As entrepreneurs we are often anxious to get the show on the road, so to speak, chomping at the bit to get our brilliant business idea out there and start making money. It’s been said that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission – words undoubtedly uttered by an entrepreneurial free spirit who decided it was best to act now and ask questions later – not necessarily the best marketing strategy.

When it comes to presenting your business image to the public, consistency is key. Maintaining the same look in your marketing materials (both in print and online) is important to helping your customers, and the public in general, make the connection between the image they are seeing and your business. Wide exposure is good for business, but only if it is consistent. If your business has several faces (various marketing pieces that don’t have any consistency in their appearance) , the resulting difficulty in image recognition could be affecting your bottom line.

Sometimes Less Is More
When I lived in Fort Smith, AR, there was a radio commercial for a local health store that included a statement that has stuck with me. The announcer said, “When it comes to vitamins and supplements, find the highest quality products you can find, then buy them in a quantity that you can afford.” The same applies here. Fewer high-quality marketing pieces can be more effective than many pieces that are lower-quality or present an inconsistent image.

Free Consultation & Quote
Taking the time to talk with someone who can help you think through the process of establishing a simple and workable marketing plan is just plain common sense. As a Small Business Consultant, I am happy to be that someone. As a printing broker, Freestyle Business Solutions is also positioned to shop around to get you the best deal for all your printing needs – with logos, graphics, designs and color schemes that can grow with your business as your marketing budget and plan expand.

To schedule a free consultation or for more information, email or call 512.704.8592.