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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back to School... Back to Business!

By now, the kids are back to school, classes have reconvened and life as we know it has resumed for another semester.  So now it's time for you to get back to business.

Okay, so you sort of slacked off this past summer . . . business was way off, customers were away . . . you or your staff were on vacation . . . and besides it was too hot! . . . ENOUGH EXCUSES already!  It's time to get back to work!

Just like when you were a kid, you played all summer, had a great time, hung out with your friends, got a nice tan, etc.  Somehow, you always knew come September, it was time to buck up, assess your priorities, concentrate on the task of getting good grades and excelling.

It's exactly the same in business . . . you can simply show up and just slide by, or you can apply yourself and make a valiant effort to advance your company and come out with honors . . . (or dollars, as the case may be).  Getting left back or failing has far greater consequences than you can realize.  I've been running a successful printing and promotion business for over 28 years and I'm here to tell you . . . FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!

Over the years I've learned a few tricks of my trade (both old school and new) that will most assuredly help you increase sales, develop new markets and help build your customer base.  The following ideas are extremely effective, yet can be achieved with little effort or expense on your part.

Before each school year began we had to run out and get basic school supplies; pencils, pens, rulers, notebooks and oil cloths (boy am I dating myself).  If you have kids like me you know the drill, not to mention the expense.  In the world of commerce, you need basic staples to show that you seriously mean business.  Everything you say or do can and will directly affect your business.  It may sound simple and may be redundant, but business cards, letterheads, envelopes and  a brochure that grabs attention are the prerequisites for success.

You can have the greatest company in the world and yet look like Mickey Mouse working in Goofy's garage.  Conversely, you can work from your kitchen table at home like so many home-based businesses today and come across as a major player or blue chip conglomerate.

Your business literature should reflect exactly what you do with each item being colorful, eye-catching, effective and consistent.  They should have the same overall look with matching logo, typestyles, color of ink(s) or shade and quality of paper stock.  You must positively project yourself through your sales literature as one powerful, coherent unit.  You are establishing you and your company as a recognizable, powerful force to be reckoned with.

The more advanced courses would entail flyers, post cards, mailers, calendars, and catalogs, but today, our focus is on the NEWSLETTER.

Growing in popularity, the newsletter is ingenious.  It is cost effective, incisive and a great medium to promote your company/organization and its offerings.  Just imagine picking up a newspaper and reading all about yourself!  You can push new products and services or give a fresh approach to the same old story.  No one can read your mind . . . You may have the greatest product and offer the most incredible, time-saving service, in fact, they may be desperately searching for what you have to offer, but you have to tell people that you exist . . . that you're alive!.  Tell them you have just what they need.  Newsletters are a powerful medium for non-profit organizations and trade associations as well.

How do I know that newsletters are amazingly effective?  You are reading this article right now.

The best way to start is by jotting down some ideas for content such as products, services, sales, special offers, hours, etc.  While it is possible to do it all in-house, there are some things to consider.  Printing technology is highly complex and you may be taking on a job outside your area of expertise.  The capital expense for equipment including computers, software and printing presses is enormous.  You also will need to hire a skilled operator.  You could elect to photocopy  your newsletter, and sometimes this may be cheaper but the quality of the finished piece is considerably poorer, especially if you include photographs and screens.

To be fair to those techno enthusiasts out there, e-mail newsletters are also very popular.  However, not everyone is computer literate and besides, how long can anyone sit in front of a monitor?  People and I include myself in this category still like to hold a paper in their hands.  They like to highlight items and tear out pertinent articles.  Unfortunately, with my busy schedule about the only time I get to read is in the bathroom and I will not wheel my computer into the toilet.  Yes, I know there are laptops or in this case I guess you could call it a "crap top," but I still prefer holding the physical publication in my hands.

Again, you can produce the entire newsletter on your own which would tie up your and your staff's valuable time, or seek the expertise of a professional who can completely customize your newsletter incorporating creative design, easy-to-read typesetting and graphics, not to mention quality printing.  The entire process is very easy and you'll save time, expense, aggravation and best of all, you can produce an attractive, eye-catching newsletter at a cost lower than you think!

Create a newsletter today, the returns will far outweigh your expectations.  BE sure to include all of your latest information . . . address, phone numbers, toll free lines, web sites, e-mails, hours of operation, etc.  Tell new customers have to find you.

If you wish to advance your company through the course of success, a newsletter is a "no brainer," This is your business - to paraphrase of line of the popular Kevin Cosner movie "Field of Dreams" "if you build it . . . they will come."

About the author:

Barry R. Rosenblatt is president of BR Creative Graphics, Inc. celebrating 30 years in the printing industry.  He has strong roots in communications and marketing and helps companies grow via creative graphics, quality printing and innovative promotional ideas at affordable prices.  Whether it be a growing commercial company or a non-profit organization, BR has the solutions to your printing and promotional problems.

BR Creative Graphics, Inc.
215 -947-5851

barry@brcreativeprinting.com or visit: www.brcreativeprinting.com

Tue, October 21, 2008 | link