Finesse on a Budget

Small businesses can’t get away with not looking slick anymore.

As Swann shared in ForbesAdVoice, maybe we have Apple and Ikea to thank. All customers now expect good design. But who can spend what design firms command for a great, fresh marketing approach and consistent brand?

You can try getting by in the hope that your assistant has some savvy to handle nice-looking materials for you. But an assistant that savvy could really drain your payroll! So with design aids like Microsoft Publishing and VistaPrint, I do often see sad examples of strapped business owners, desperately trying to handle their own marketing themselves.

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As I’ve said in another blog, it can be possible for each of us to tap in to the artist within and be creative. But there are matters of time and inclination to be considered. Of course not every business owner is trained to use the tools (no, not MS Publisher!) of a graphic designer. If you haven’t had much experience creating good-looking marketing materials, you’re much better off getting help from someone who has.

Several wonderful things come about when you go with a small-scale graphic designer to get a nice look for your business or non-profit.

1) Collaboration. They can really take your creative input to heart, injecting your ideas into their creations on an ongoing basis. It’s as if you did it yourself, only you used THEM as the tool to express yourself better.

2) Inspiration. You may not have a clue where to start the approach, but they’ve done it all before. And it’s not rocket science – one fresh idea brings a whole new life to your identity, and together you will find that magic.

3) Easy simplicity. Making a statement is just their thing. Some designers’ goal is to stay small as a business, and you’ll find that they don’t have an attitude about the work – just experience and a desire to help. So you can focus on your thing: Growing and looking good so you can get bigger!

Why flounder trying to learn yet another aspect of growing your business – doing creative promotions yourself? Your current regular office assistant doesn’t even need to know this stuff, if you take advantage of a publishing expert that works for you on a project basis and won’t drain your budget.  Farm a little of that document work out to a graphic artist and virtual assistant who knows her calling and is within your reach. Not a big high-dollar Michelangelo design firm, with prices and an attitude meant for corporate royalty.

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