I often see business cards and other marketing materials that let those particular small businesses down.
When you start out it is tempting to get your business cards printed using one of the web-based print companies offering free cards, like Vistaprint. They do provide a low cost option to get you started but due to the format of the cards (American sizing – smaller then the UK standard for business cards) and the limited design options, they can also convey a ‘cheap’ and unprofessional message about your new business. Sometimes you do only get what you pay for!
Often your business card is the first impression you give of your business and what you stand for. Potential customers will judge it in seconds, rightly or wrongly.
Don’t get me wrong, your business ‘brand’ isn’t just the logo on your business card. Your brand does include your logo, but it includes much more than this alone.
Your brand is about ‘what you say’ and ‘what you do’ as a business.
These need to be consistent – in everything you say and do, no matter what method you are using to communicate to your customers. Your brand is everything within your business, from your letterhead design and website, your messages on Twitter/LinkedIn, right through to how your staff are trained and then interact with your customers.
And there needs to be a good ‘Brand Fit’. By this I mean, if you say one thing in an upbeat way and have contemporary colours and images in your branding but when a person meets with you, (or your staff) and you are shy and quite old-fashioned – well the two things just don’t stack up! It will create a poor impression of your business. It will actually confuse your customers and will not inspire them or give them confidence to do business with you.
Building a strong business brand is vital for a successful business. There is often so much competition for what you do, that you really need to build your brand to make sure your business can stand out from the crowd.