Attention New Business Owners. Is VistaPrint really the right choice for your new small business?
Published by: http://www.GraphicDesignByVictoria.com
Let me first say that I have nothing against VistaPrint. On the surface they seem great. They are cheap and have some really nice designs. If I were a start-up business trying to cut costs I might consider using them. But I’m not a start-up. I’m a graphic designer with nearly 15 years of experience in branding and advertising. I’m writing this article to inform my audience about the importance of a personal identity when starting their new business. Simply put, I want to see you succeed.
Just yesterday I was meeting with a business associate who uses VistaPrint for her business cards. When I asked her what her goals were for her business she replied, “I want to make my company a multi-million dollar company.” “Wow! That is fantastic!” I replied. I love that kind of ambition.
What my business associate did not realize is how using a stock design to promote her image would hurt her in the long run and possibly hinder the growth of her new company.
For instance, the guy down the street may use the same stock business card from VistaPrint. It does happen. I’ve witnessed it on many occasions. He may offer a completely different service. Or even worse he may be a very poor businessperson. If the latter were the case, would you really want your audience or potential customers identifying with that company when you hand them your business card. The first thing they are going to think about is how awful there experience was with this guy and not want to do business with you. Things are hard enough as is out there without putting up our own barriers. Lets say that he offer’s a different service…what does this mean for you? Well, it would cause confusion about your business and the services you offer to your target audience. Both would hinder the growth of your business into that multi-million dollar business you’ve dreamed of. And as my dad always says, “Pay once now or pay twice later.”
O.K. so you have earned some money and you are ready to hire a graphic designer to design your logo and business identity package. The worst time to change your identity is when your business is growing. Why? Because your audience has established trust with you as a businessperson. If they start to see changes in your identity they are going to begin to wonder why. They may think that your company is under new management or has been sold. The trust value will be gone. All that hard work that you’ve done to build your business up to this point will have been wasted. All of this could have been avoided in the very beginning.
What do you do if you have been using VistaPrint all along and you want to hire a graphic designer to re-establish your own personal business identity? I would first interview several graphic designers and see if they can help you integrate the changes without loosing your clients. But that is a whole other article.
The savvy businessperson knows the importance of hiring a good graphic designer to create a strong identity that targets their audience. And if the cost seems overwhelming, talk with a graphic designer. They might be able to help you establish a plan of action that will help you create your identity in a very cost effective way.
Victoria Grigaliunas, Freelance Graphic Designer.
How to Network Successfully
Published by: http://www.GraphicDesignByVictoria.com
I’ve been building my freelance graphic design business for a few years now and I’ve been quite successful at it. When I first started I would ask other graphic designers “How did you build your client base?” Their response was often vague. I suspect that is was because they didn’t want to give away their trade secrets for fear that they might loose business. I understand how frustrating this can be for new freelancers and I believe that there is an abundance of opportunities for us all. This is why I am sharing my networking tips with you.
First you must establish your niche. For me it was working with small businesses and start ups in helping them establish their identity. Once I knew this, my path was obvious. I had to put myself in front of these people so that they knew I existed. I joined my local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is all about networking and helping businesses grow. I discovered a variety of opportunities and networking events to choose from.
I soon discovered that just showing up to these events with my business card and promo pieces was not enough. In fact it hindered my credibility. The truth is, you will be more successful if you treat networking like a back yard bbq. You wouldn’t show up at your neighbors house soliciting your business to everyone you met and then walk away. Why would anyone want to do business with you? People do business with people they know and trust. So get to know the person you are networking with. Networking is about building relationships and being committed to help other business professionals. When you help someone by creating value, they will remember you and either do business with you or refer other business to you. Networking is also about consistency. The best is to belong to two or three groups, attend their events regularly, get to know the other members, and in exchange they will get to know you and trust you. When you see the same people over and over you develop a strong relationship with them. The benefit of building relationships with a committed group of people will result in new leads for your business. It takes time, but if you stick to it you will succeed. Most of all have fun with it.
You can google “Networking” in your area to get a list of events. Other networking venues would include BNI and your local Chamber of Commerce. Don’t forget the fast growing venue of social media networking. Remember, all ROE’s apply for social media networking as with traditional forms of networking.