How do you feel when you hand someone your business card? Are you proud of the way it looks, feels, and the message it sends? What about your website? When you look at your site with an objective eye do you see success written all over it? Do your marketing materials have a slick, professional finish or do you print them on your inkjet on whatever paper you have available at the time?
Starting a business on a shoestring budget is the norm, but that doesn't mean you have to look like you're on a tight budget — not any more.
Let's start with your logo. A good graphic designer will be able to capture the essence of your business in a logo. Did you know that 65% of our population consists of visual learners? A professional logo will capture the eye and create a memorable experience in a visual person. I can hear you saying, "I can't afford that!" Yes, you can. Many printers employ very talented graphic designers who charge low hourly rates to design logos, business cards, brochures, etc. Speak directly to the designer; look at their portfolio and make sure you appreciate their style and creativity. You might also look at elance.com where gifted designers will bid for your job. Logos are often done for well under $100, and every dollar is well spent. If you double-up and get your logo and business card design done together, this may create a further savings. Your business card is the face of your company, along with your website — it's not a place to skimp.
Now, the website. Many small business owners feel that they have to settle for less when it comes to their web presence; many don't even have a website. Odds are if you hire a web designer you will pay upward of $2000 for a small, basic website. That's a lot of money when you're starting out, especially if you don't have further funds to perform search engine optimization and to market your site. The good news is that WordPress themes are getting more and more creative and you can set up a website using this blog software for very little money. And, they are highly optimized right out of the box. If you don't feel that you have the technical aptitude, many virtual assistants possess this skill and in a few hours your website can be ready to go. You can also look at resources like elance.com, GetACoder.com and Freelance.com for coders and designers. Get bids, interview people. Take a look at Web.com, a service provider that offers online tools, templates and hosting packages that will enable you to set up your site up in a matter of hours, even if you don't have previous experience in web design.
Your marketing materials don't have to be produced at home either. Companies like vistaprint.com and overnightprints.com offer deals on postcards, brochures, and more that will make your company look like a million. Now that you have a logo to work with, you can easily upload that design and create outstanding marketing materials around it. Brochures are more costly, so try the large, glossy postcards instead. Limited space on these cards forces you to narrow your marketing message into a couple of sentences or bullet points, and high-quality graphics create further impact. It's a great solution for a small budget.
As an entrepreneur, you've got a strong creative streak. Get creative with your marketing dollars and boost your company's image so that it matches your Million-Dollar-Mindset!
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.