Are You Putting Yourself Out of Business?

Have you heard either of these pieces of advice, “Do what you have always done and you’ll always get what you always got” and “More of what’s not working won’t help”?

The first one is no longer valid and the second one gets proven in the small business world everyday.

When it comes to marketing why does the first statement not work anymore? Simple, with all the changes that bombard our businesses, clientele and technology on a daily basis it is ludicrous to expect the same results. You see examples of businesses sticking to outdated and unimaginative approaches to marketing and then being surprised with declining results.

In a recent marketing analysis I did with a local business owner I did a very poor job of keeping a poker face. His business was now in such dire straits that they had gone from a fancy office with many employees to a few employees working from the kitchen table at home. His company had tried “cold calling” as their main strategy to build their business. The results were dismal.

What was the logical response to their poor results? You guessed it, they hired more people to cold call. They lost more than most small businesses will earn in the next 5 years. When I asked him why they would pour more money into something that was clearly not working he responded with, “We figured we just needed to get our name out there more and eventually things would take off!” The only thing that took off was their money and eventually their employees.

I’m not going to beat this fellow up because we are all guilty of hanging in too long with an ineffective strategy or two. That is why it is so important to be able to step back and evaluate your marketing efforts. Are they working? Are they cost effective? Are they getting you the results you want? If not, how long do you plan to continue using them before finding something better? How long can you afford to stick with something that isn’t working?

Building an Online Business – Four Keys to Success

There are many aspects of running a successful business. Here are four vital components to building a successful online business.

Education:
There is so much to learn about running an online business. No one knows it all in the beginning. Take the time to learn a new principle, and then apply it. Give it a try. See how it works. There are many great free resources online to help you learn the things you need to know. Spend part of every workday learning something new. Sign up for free newsletters and ezines (online newsletters). Many of them have great information on running a business. Find someone who has been successful and ask lots of questions. Having a mentor can smooth the road ahead.

Marketing:
Every day do something to drive traffic to your website. There are many methods of driving traffic to your website that are free or very low cost. Check into ezines. You can write articles for them or place ads in them for very little cost. This is a great way to find targeted customers for your business. Choose the ezine that your typical customer may be reading on a regular basis. If your ad is backed by an ezine that they trust, they are much more likely to trust your ad and buy from you. There are free ezine directories listed online, which will give you many different options to choose from.

There are classified ads online that are very inexpensive. You can do a press release. You can combine traditional methods of advertising (newspapers, direct mail, magazines, radio) with your online advertising to reach new customers. If you have the budget, Google AdWords is a great advertising method. After looking around for a little while at all the different traffic generating methods, pick one and really go after it to become an expert at that method of driving traffic to your website.

When you find something that works, do more of it. Keep doing it and increase how much and how often you do it.

Patience:
Once you have made a decision on a business, stick with it. Don’t give up in a few days or weeks. Work at it every day for a full six months. Then look back and decide if this is going to work for you. It takes time to build experience and knowledge and get some marketing going for your website. The amount of traffic you have your first week or two has nothing to do with your future traffic. With time, you will get better and better at driving traffic and turning visitors into sales.

Focus:
Don’t get distracted by the billions of offers out there. There will always be someone telling you that the grass is greener if you buy a different program. If you really believe your business idea is good and will work, give it a shot at success. Stick with it for at least six months.

With time, effort and patience, your dreams can come true. There are over 1.5 billion people on the Internet. The world is your customer pool. Think big. Dream big. Work hard and your dreams can come true!

Business Card Design & Print – Tips For Businesses

Regardless of your business area, your business cards are a reflection of your company and its services. You need to spend time and effort in creating the perfect business card, it’s style, design, texture and even font to be used has to be be meticulously thought out to ensure your business is reflected in the manner you want.

Card Design & Print – Which Colour to choose?

Handing over your business card to a potential customer is one of the most defining moments in your business relationship. Make sure you present your best foot forward with every customer and business card you present. We recommend using colour on your business cards. The use of colour engages the customer and ensures they react to the key messages you want to promote. Experts advise you to avoid making your business card look like a bag of skittles fell on it however, and focusing on your key corporate colours is also recommended. If however you don’t have corporate colours defined just quite yet, then here are some pointers for their creation.

Purples and Creams or gradients of soft colours will adopt a more creative feel while the use of strong solid colours will promote the thought provoking side of your business. Vibrant and bright colours ultimately present your business as creative and forward-thinking.

Card Design & Print – Which font?

As with the choice of colour, picking the right font is critical to presenting the right corporate image to potential businesses and clients. It’s probably best not to overcrowd your card with different fonts and with this in mind, no more than two should be used. Possibly a normal font and the bold version of this for business title. Depending on the nature of your business, you can select the right type of font to suit your needs and business goals. Contemporary, young and vibrant businesses stick to bolder and more slick fonts, whereas traditional businesses tend to use more contemporary fonts.

No matter which font you use, make sure all your detail and text on your business card are clearly understandable on the card. There is no point having a well designed card with illegible text.

Card Design & Print – Got a Logo? Use it!

At this point your probably going to ask, why would I not put my logo on my business card, well some businesses may not have one designed, others may not recognize its importance, and finally, others may have just have forgotten to use it. Let this be your reminder. Forgetting to put your logo on the card is the cardinal sin, havent got one designed yet? Well that’s another matter. Prominently position your logo on the business card, but remember there is only a little space on the card, so don’t make it overpowering. Ensure you use a high resolution version of 300dpi or more as this will ensure you get photo quality representation from your printer.

Design & Print – What size is my business Card?

If your in the United States the general business card size is 91mm x 50mm, however in the United Kingdom it is 85mm x 55mm. On occasion people differentiate from these general sizes, but where they gain in creativity, they lose in usability. The average size of pocket in a purse or wallet in the UK is 87mm x 60mm providing just enough space for a few business cards in their wallet. Differentiating from this size will more likely result in your business card being put in an unfamiliar position and being misplaced.