3 Tips for New Businesses
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Posted by: Ester Venouziou
When you start a business, any business, you suddenly become very popular. Advertising reps, marketing experts, printing brokers, mobile apps developers, they'll all come flocking to you. Before you know it, your entire annual marketing budget is wiped out in the first quarter, and you find yourself dipping into your personal savings to keep your business going.
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are some tips to keep your budget in line.
1. Don't sign any contracts before "sleeping on it." Advertising reps will dazzle you with their shiny brochures, but before signing any contracts, research options and talk with neighboring businesses.
There are a gazillion fliers, coupon books, online directories, papers and other advertising venues. Check the company's background and reputation. Get details on distribution numbers and venues ("tens of thousands of copies" sounds impressive, but where are these copies being distributed? Are they reaching your target customer, or are they ending up bundled on a corner, and ultimately in the trash?)
Once you decide where you want to advertise, the sales reps will want you to sign a longterm contract. Don't do it. Ask for an introductory price instead. For the most part, reps have room to negotiate. Don't ever pay rack rate.
2. Quality matters. It sounds counter-productive, but when it comes to your brand's image, spending money will save you money in the long-run.
I definitely recommend hiring the pros: a designer to work on your logo and brochures, an editor to help with the content, a web designer to work on your website. If you're not a designer/editor/web designer and decide to do these things yourself, they will look amateurish, and that will hurt your image. And in the long-run, you'll end up spending more time and more money, redoing and reprinting, over and over.
You won't have the budget for everything, and that's OK. Get less, but don't skimp on quality. For example, if you have $40 to spend on business cards, opt for 1,000 high-quality stock instead of 2,500 flimsy ones.
3. Get creative. Think barters, co-op ads and collaborations with neighboring or complementary businesses. One caveat: Make sure to do the research so you align yourself with reputable companies. Afterall, in business and in life, we are judged by the company we keep ...
Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1, is available for freelance writing and marketing projects. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.