Friday, June 26, 2015

Less is More: Simple Business Cards that Pack a Punch

Being the business pro that you are, you’ve got your company set up, your financials on point, your goods and services perfected. Check, check, check. You’ve had to become a master of a lot of things, so how hard could designing a business card be?

Turns out, there are an infinite number of ways your creativity can go, and it can be frustrating trying to come up with the perfect design that embodies everything that your company does and represents.

Keep it simple. Sometimes, the more you try to cram, the less you get your message across. People respond to uncomplicated images and symbols that succinctly communicate an idea. And simple, clean designs have the added appeal of not needing too much time or effort to look world-class.

If you’re still banging your head trying to find a design for your business card, consider these beautiful no-brainer designs.

1.)   Say Something

Make your business card the start or follow up of a conversation. All you need is a pop of color and friendly text, and voila, you have a business card.

2.)    Shorthand Symbols

Most people are visual learners, and the brain processes images and symbols a lot faster than it processes letters and words. The card below is very clear about what the business is about without having to explain anything.

3.)  Smart Use of Color

It’s funny how one bold color can elicit an immediate reaction from the viewer. And that’s what you want to do – grab their attention. The judicial use of a very few colors in your design, especially if you can tie it in to the actual work you do like the design below, is both simple to achieve and bold to behold.

4.)   Take a Picture

There is a reason people say a picture is worth a thousand words. You can stand out from the crowd of the oh-so-hot minimalist designs by using one stunning, visually interesting photograph, like this template from Not only is the image both interesting and arresting, it can add a personal touch as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Promote Your Business with Postcards

Although digital marketing is the hot trend for advertising businesses, direct-mail marketing remains a powerful promotional tool that can actually reap a greater response when targeted at the right people. Online advertising just can’t quite replace the personal touch and hard-to-dismiss presence of the marketing postcard in the mailbox.

Want to drive up sales and increase your business’ visibility and likability factor? Consider employing one of the following ways the businesses can use postcards to attract more customers.

Offer Discounts and Coupon Codes

We get plenty of promotional offers in our e-mail inboxes, but most of them are seen as junk or spam that we click away in mild irritation. Out of sight, out of mind. But postcard marketing can target people who are interested in your product and services and more local. Make sure to put your company website with your special coupon code, which you can also track and see what people respond to.

Event Invites

A cute or striking invite in the mail will always flatter the recipient. People like feeling like VIPs, and you should treat them as such if they are particularly loyal customers of your business. In-store special events that is only open to a select group of your clientele is a great way to introduce new products and services to the subsect of your customers with a high chance of taking you up on your offers. It’s also great for word-of-mouth marketing and free social media exposure, as people will likely share their VIP experience.

Appointment Reminders

Do you provide services that your clients should be doing regularly (such as physical check-ups, cleanings, etc.)? A gentle, thoughtful reminder from your business can work highly in your favor. Upon receiving your postcard reminder, people will be more inclined to call your office and make an appointment. You’ll also come off as a business that cares about its customers and keeps track of their visits.

Birthday Wishes and Gifts

If you’re company collects private information like birthdates, you can use that information to send lovely birthday card wishes via postcard with an accompanying gift or discount at little cost to you. Seeming like a friend as opposed to a money-hungry entity will go a long way in inspiring customer loyalty and boosting your company image.

Thank You Cards

Another way to encourage repeat business is sending the occasional, ever gracious thank you card. Always show your clients that you appreciate their business, because their patronage keeps your doors open and your employees available to serve. You can also include coupon codes as a token of your gratitude.

Updates and Newsletters

Going back to the original purpose of postcards – giving people updates on where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to. The purpose of the newsletter style of the postcard is to purely keep your business in the public consciousness and establish yourself as the go-to business in your industry, a company that’s always on the move and striving to improve itself for the benefit of its customers.

Postcard marketing can be a powerful, cost-effective call to action that will attract people to your business. Businesses large and small still rely on them to keep in touch with customers in a meaningful and noteworthy way. Postcards function more than a method of advertising. When incorporated as part of your business routine, recipients will appreciate them as your communication style – thoughtful, pleasant, and personal in the best of ways.

Friday, June 12, 2015 is a new company for entrepreneurs and businesses to get business cards, flyers, and other print they need to be successful.

We've got better quality at better prices than the other online printers you've used, with a simple and easy to use, yet powerful design creator. Or just choose your favorite from our 100's of templates and personalize it to your needs.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Communication is Key to Your Success

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Whether we’re talking about contact between managers and employees or about marketing to current and prospective consumers, effective communication will determine whether the relationship thrives or flounders.

A frequent and important problem I’ve observed in communication is that the messenger thinks they’ve communicated to the recipient the importance of the message, but in reality, the messaged lacked clarity, specificity, or succinctness, all of which are powerful attributes of an effective message.

People spend their whole college careers majoring in communication, but the majority of us don’t have the luxury of time to become accredited experts. I’m going to boil this article down to a handful of helpful communication guidelines most useful and pertinent to entrepreneurs and leaders alike.

Frequent and Regular
Depending on the position, people involved, or depending on the need, communication could be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. If you work closely with a team, you should probably have daily touches and weekly in-depth meetings where you discuss happenings and expectations. If you’re running, say, a social media campaign, you could probably increase engagement by posting more than once a day on several different platforms and make the conversation seem more organic as opposed to another item on your task list.

Clear and Specific
When communicating to your audience, give details that are extensive but relevant to the topic. Anticipate questions and common scenarios or concerns. However, don’t give so much information that your message gets lost in translation. Try to “cut the fat” when you talk. Get to the heart of the matter, and only give context with context is necessary. Avoid Information Overload.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes said it best when trying to describe the limits of the brain: “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.”)

Any decent PR firm will tell you that you need to control the conversation in order to get the results you desire. How do you do that? First, make sure you are the Source – don’t confuse your audience with multiple voices or outside third parties who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of your business. At the same time, you need to establish authority. People will trust you if they perceive you as the expert on a given topic. Lastly, make sure your messages are unified companywide – Make sure management and executives reach consensus before letting information trickle down. You never want something to dissolve into he-said-she-said-he said shenanigans

Great people understand that their word their your bond. Hold yourself accountable for the things you say and the promises you make.  In addition, it is in your best interest l to check that any facts and any information you share is correct. If you don’t know the answer to a question or problem, tell your team or your questioner “I’ll find out/I’ll get back to you” and take the time to find the right answers. Don’t just blurt something out for the sake of talking – it’s better to be right the first time instead of having to correct faulty information.
Especially with regard to customer service and employees, don’t let requests or queries fall to the side. Follow up and find ways to get back to items. People will perceive that you care, that you are serious about their concerns.

Different people respond to different methods of communication. You should never assume that one way of talking or one form of communication works for everyone.
Some people need visual aids. Others learn through hands on experience. Then there is the group that responds when there emotional buttons are pushed. Test out different methods and see the changes in feedback and response time.

Let your values come through in your communication. Often, executives will opt for the sanitized “corporate voice” instead of their own, but it’s more important to be real than eloquent. People trust and gravitate toward genuine feelings.

Stop, look and listen. Remember that effective communication is a two-way street. Good leaders and good marketers know how to ask good questions and then listen with both their eyes and ears. Listen and hear what is coming back at you. Look for the nonverbal cues with people or search out shares and reviews for online activities. Also, let communication be open – be receptive to the opinions, praises, and criticisms of your audience, as they will only help you focus and improve.

Friday, June 5, 2015

5 ways to use to print to your advantage

Getting eyes on your brand and message is hard in a saturated marketplace. Here are five ways you can use print to your advantage and gain exposure.

1.) Distribute print at trade shows and meetings of professional organizations.

It is important to have a business card at a trade show, it is, in fact the most important piece of print, but you can still add fire power. A 3x5 or 4x6 flyer or postcard for a handout can act as a "resume" for your brand or company, provide more detailed information about products and services, and serve as a vehicle for eye catching visuals, distinguishing you from the crowd. You'll be more than just a name and a logo to your audience.

2.) Place posters and flyers at local businesses.

Many businesses, from grocery stores to coffee shops, have a cork board or rack for notices, upcoming shows, and other print. Ask local businesses if it would be O.K. to post or leave some print in their designated area. This is an effective way of direct advertising, in essence a miniature billboard.

3.) Distribute print at events

For instance, if you're an artist or musician, have flyers with the date and location of your next show. Business cards with your contact information, and printed CD covers for your album go far to build your fan base. Hand these out to everyone. You can bet the crowd there is interested in future events and other artists with a similar aesthetic.

4.) Carry your business cards in your day to day life.

You've chosen the local pub for a happy hour where others in your industry congregate for a pint, and you've got a pocket full of business cards to help make it a networking event for you. Have a sip to be sociable, and start talking with those around you. People are a lot more approachable in such a relaxed environment, and it's a great location to bring up your company and what you do.

5.) Have print in and around your business!

If you don't have business cards, informational flyers, banners, and posters in and around your businesses' location, you're losing potential customers, it's that simple. Customers want reference material about your products and services, contact information and locations. Sales flyers can give your business a huge boost in foot traffic. You want as many eyes on your business as possible, and a sign on top of your location can only goe so far for exposure.

Speak with other businesses nearby as well, and ask if they'd let you display some of your print material. It can help to offer to display some of theirs in exchange.

IF people know you exist, you will stay in business, and print can help build a solid customer base. Building your customer base is the first step to word of mouth recommendations, and household name status.

Use print; gain business.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Power of Print

Is your marketing primarily, or only digital? While a digital presence is essential in business today, the power of printing can play a vital role in the survival and growth of a business. 

Think about the weekly sales circular you get from the local market. Maybe it's a little farther out than the big box store, maybe it has less selection, but chicken is on sale for half the price of the big box! 

You'll go out of your way to take advantage of the sale, and print was the driving factor in that decision. 

The following is a true story related by one of our team members:

"A few years ago, we had a team that did marketing and promotions for local businesses, concerts and events. We did graphic design and other digital media, had a street team for flyer distribution and posting large print in prominent locations throughout the city.

There was a new club that opened on the very outskirts of the West Loop in Chicago, a popular area for nightlife. It had great decor and a nice atmosphere, but was struggling to stay open. Being a bit further out than the other venues, it didn't have great visibility or foot traffic. 

One of our team members stopped in for a drink and started a conversation with what turned out to be the club owner. He suggested they get some flyers printed and distributed to grow the location.
After some negotiation, and a bit of skepticism, they struck a deal for 2,000 flyers, distributed, for next Saturday's party.

The owner was skeptical, as he had a good fan base on his Facebook business page, with well over 5,000 likes. He would often have hundreds of people at a time say they'd be attending an event, but the real number was closer to 50 who would actually show up. He wasn't sure flyers would have much impact.

Fast forward to next Saturday night. Friday, our street team fanned out to various hot spots around the city and distributed all the flyers. We went to check out the crowd, and the club was packed! 

Beyond capacity, there was a nice line halfway down the sidewalk. The owner was more than pleased, of course, and from that point had a weekly order of 5,000 flyers to distribute, every weekend. 

He went from struggling with one club, to opening a second one, as well as a sports bar.

He's now quite successful, and the turning point was print. At the time he wasn't doing so well, he was contemplating going back to work for his former finance company.

If you'd like to be a successful entrepreneur, I'd suggest recognizing the power of print to drive your business growth. "

Throughout history, print has shaped and influenced the world, and been responsible for the growth of civilizations and empires. 

It can certainly grow your business, as well!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Work/Life Balance: Six tips for entrepreneurs

So, you thought becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business was going to be all about making your own hours and having more time with loved ones, right? This is rarely the case.
Oftentimes, having poured blood, sweat, and tears into an endeavor, it's common for a small business owner to be the hardest working member of the team.
Wake up at work, coffee fueled nights, and groggy mornings. This causes a buildup of stress that isn't good for your health, outlook, or effectiveness to running your business.
How can you achieve a work/life balance that will leave you happier and a better business person? Here are some tips:
1.) Hire people that are good at the things you're terrible at- and then trust them:
Micromanaging something you don't fully understand can not only be frustrating for an employee, but result in a substandard product at the finish.
Save on stress by allowing employees the creativity to flow. You can always give the final ok on the finished product.
2.) Work your best schedule:
If you can't stay awake after 9:00 P.M., you shouldn't be doing your bookkeeping at midnight. Get some rest, wake up fresh, and complete your most important projects when your energy is high and you're feeling your best.
Likewise, if you're a night owl, code that website @ 3:00 AM instead of bright and early. You'll get your work done distraction free.
3.) Document your workflow:
This will help you prioritize your own time and if you ever need assistance on a complex project, the notes may prove to be a valuable resource for anyone helping you out.
4.) If possible, separate duties:
While this largely depends on the size of your business, it's generally a good idea to leave the sales to the sales people, and the marketing to marketing people.
5.) Hire the right people for the job:
Hire qualified individuals who'll pick up new skills quickly. They'll be better equipped to handle the inevitable hurdles that every business will face.
6.) Morale is important
Happy employees and coworkers can be the difference between a "Winning" attitude vs. an "Quitting" attitude when faced with exceptionally difficult tasks, customer interaction, and going the extra mile.

As a team of serial entrepreneurs, we hope our advice can help lead you to a happier, more fulfilling, less stressful life!