Mirror, Mirror…

The following is a guest post by David Gash.

When starting a new business, entrepreneurs invariably face the brutal moment when they realize something needs to be done and they just don’t know how to do it. We let dentists fix our teeth and mechanics fix our cars; so why do we expect that when running a small business we can do everything ourselves?

The key to a successful business, especially in start-up mode, is the ability of the owner to look at the wall and say, “Mirror Mirror, on the wall…what should I hire someone else to do?” Ok, it doesn’t rhyme but it also isn’t a fairy tale. By carefully selecting professionals to support core functions of your business, you will ensure things get done right the first time and allow you the freedom to do what you do best.

When we discuss things like taxes, business leases and legal documents, it seems a no-brainer to hire someone educated and even licensed to handle these things for us. When you start thinking about things like marketing and advertising, the lines begin to blur and you begin to wonder if you should try to save some money and wing it. As a new business, you will get calls from everyone from the yellow page sales rep to the local newspaper.

How do you know which is right for your business? How do you know what you will ultimately need? One of the best places to start is to look at your competitors. If you offer a service like landscaping, chances are you’ll need to be found in the yellow pages or local phone directory. If you offer personal care products that are available online, chances are that you will do just as well skipping the ad in the phone book.

Now, when it comes to things like business cards, brochures, color ads, and flyers, being cheap shows and this definitely isn’t the place to cut corners. Consider the money you will spend hiring a professional more like an investment in new business. Your business needs to look confident and the best way to do that is to hire a professional graphic designer to put together a comprehensive branding package. Before you invest, spend some time deciding what things you really need. Just about everyone needs business cards but very few businesses need, or use, printed envelopes. Decide what you need before you begin talking to a designer.

If you’ve never hired a professional designer before, don’t worry. Graphic designers aren’t expecting you to have all the answers. They should listen to your point of view, get a feel for your business and its style, understand what colors or themes you have in mind and then be able to put together a professional logo and assorted materials for you to use throughout your business. Companies like Prova Advertising take it a bit further and add in the element of fun. Imagine running a contest that lets professional, freelance graphic designers compete for your business. You get to set the budget and reap the rewards. An approach like that can definitely take the drudgery out of getting your marketing materials in top shape.

Whatever decision you are facing as a business owner, consider the impression that you will give to the outside world and hire a professional when that decision will make a difference between you gaining the confidence of a new customer or making them wonder if you’re really serious about your business.

Your job as a business owner is to decide what you do best and do it. Any time you spend outside of those tasks ultimately will lose your business money. You need to focus on your core strengths and hire employees or consultants to handle what they specialize in. When you have everyone focused on their core responsibilities and not distracted with other tasks, your business will take off and allow you the freedom to enjoy being an entrepreneur.

David Gash is the founder of Prova Advertising, a company that is revolutionizing the way that businesses meet their advertisement needs. Prova promotes crowdsourcing with an ingenious approach that allows small to medium sized businesses to launch Ad Design Contests in order to find the best design talent at YOUR price.


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