Running a business in the 21st Century is one of the most difficult tasks you can undertake. It seems like there has never been a better time to run a business but it has also never been more difficult. With the help of Internet resources, you can create a business, develop a customer base, and move forward in a matter of weeks. You don’t need to go through the byzantine regulations and restrictions of the past. Having a brick and mortar location is nice, but it’s not absolutely essential. Since brick and mortar locations are not absolutely essential to running a successful business, more people are able to get into the act. However, that means even more people are going to be competing with you for the same share of customers.
That’s why it is the best time and the most difficult time to be a business owner. The Internet is making it more possible to create and grow your business in many different ways; however, you have to compete with businesses all around the world. In the past, you had to compete with whichever businesses were in your area. You also had to compete with the one or two major corporations that sent out annual or semi-annual catalogues dealing with your business. If you were in a service industry business, you probably competed with one or two chains. These days, competition has grown exponentially. For example, if you are in the business of selling trainers, you face brand new challenges. You have to compete with every physical store selling trainers in your area; that means specialised shoe stores as well as big-box stores that also sell trainers and football boots. Everything within about thirty minutes of driving of you is competition. Additionally, you have to compete over the Internet. More and more, people are choosing to shop online instead of actually driving to a store. If they know what shoe they want and what size they want, they figure they can get it easier and cheaper online. That puts you in competition with every shoe seller who has a website. In 2016, almost every store has a website. You’re essentially in competition with the entire world.
How do you compete? You establish a network of local connections. People want to feel like you are a part of their community, so you need to give them something they can’t get from competitors halfway around the world. That’s where your marketing strategy comes in handy. If you hand someone a business card, a flyer, and so on, they know that you are nearby; you’re not some faceless avatar selling your product over the Internet. That helps create the feeling of a relationship; those bonds of trust can yield very profitable results. Some of the very best online printers can help you create your business platform.
An old adage says you don’t get a second chance at a first impression; so often, handing someone your business card is your first interaction. You want to hand them something they’ll remember and hold onto. That means your business card needs to be an attractive card on a very nice paper. It needs to be informative but not cluttered.
In truth, what’s right for your card depends on your personality and your business. If you’re a visual artist, you probably want a very bright and colourful business card. You might want a card that has your information on one side and an example of your artwork on the other. That artwork needs to be printed by a quality printer who understands the importance. If you are proud of your work, why would you ever print it in low-quality? That would ruin the appeal of your work.
On the other hand, if you’re in the finance business, you might want a card that is subtle and understated. You might pick a card that is a soft off-white colour with black print. You’ll want the card to be informative and printed on a very nice paper.
What’s most important with business cards is that they leave a good first impression and someone doesn’t throw them away. You need a card that is attractive enough that someone saves it. Once someone saves your card, you’ve made your first victory in that interaction.
Coffee mugs are one of the best ways to network. They’re a little more expensive than business cards, but they’re an incredibly effective marketing tool. Have you ever thrown away a brand new coffee mug? No. They tend to clutter up cabinets and counters; many people take their extra coffee mugs to the breakroom at work or donate them to charity. Whatever happens to it, it probably won’t be thrown away. If you print your logo and your business information bright and bold on a coffee mug, you’ll be getting your name out there.
If you hand out coffee mugs at meetings or trade shows, someone will take that mug home. That person will probably put the mug in the cabinet with all the other mugs, so every time he or she opens the cabinet, your name appears. Every time that person drinks from your mug, he or she will see your business over and over. If you’re selling trainers, for example, that person might think of your company when the time comes for new trainers.
If that person puts your mug in the breakout room at work, even more people will see it over and over. They’ll think of you when they want trainers.
Banners are another great way to market yourself. They’re like miniature billboards that you control. If you have a brick and mortar location, you obviously want to put the banner there. You want to put it as high as possible so everybody can see your business. If you don’t have a brick and mortar location, you can still earn benefits from a banner. Oftentimes, you can rent space in public areas where you could hang your banner. Certain places such as parks even offer some space free of charge.