Launching a business on a shoestring budget is a common occurrence amongst solopreneurs. The danger inherent in a cost-savings mentality is to sacrifice a professional image – an expectation that many customers have when making a buying decision.
So what are your options?
1. Wait until you have a proof of concept and an interest from the market before you create your image.
Pros: Saves money until you are confident in creating your brand.
Cons: Your friends and family may understand, but can you win enough business by word of mouth alone?
2. Create an image on a budget.
Pros: Still a money saver as compared to hiring on pros for web site and logo creation.
Cons: Requires some investment (<$500) and may keep your clients to the small business size.
3. Create an image with the pros.
Pros: Creates an image that indicates to potential clients that you can keep up with the big boys.
Cons: Requires an investment (>$1500) that you may decide to alter later.
As a solo startup, I suggest that unless you are going after major corporate accounts, you go with option #2. VistaPrint is a great vendor for this solution.
Their name may sound like they are only a print company when in reality they cover a wide variety of business needs.
I started simple. All I needed was a business card. I chose a basic black and white business card, 250 units (minus a VistaPrint ad along the bottom they include if I wanted the cards for free) for $8.66 (with shipping). That equates to $0.035 per card, an excellent deal for any solo-entrepreneur focused on the bottom line. Had I gone with the same format but added their free logo creation and four-color copy, I would have only paid an additional $3.99.
What if you need more than just business cards?
If you check out the “Business” category on the left side of their home page (they offer “Home & Family”, too), you will see a variety of sub-categories including:
- Free Products: Business Cards, Websites, Rubber Stamps, Pens, etc …
- Business Identity: Premium Business Cards, Return Address Labels, Logo Designs, Letterhead, etc …
- Marketing & Signage: Banners, Postcards, Car Door Magnets, etc …
- Marketing Services: Creative Services, Email Marketing, etc …
- Promotion & Events: Pens, Tote Bags, Sticky Notes, etc …
- Accessories: Business Card Holders, Lawn Sign Stands, etc …
You can order everything online. It took me roughly 5 minutes to order my business cards. And, as I went through check out, VistaPrint provided a variety of promotional offerings from name brand companies, without becoming offensive.
VistaPrint is an excellent one-stop, online shop for creating a professional business image for startups. Are you concerned about spending money now while needing to alter your image later on?
True, some of what they offer may not meet your long-term needs – especially when it comes to their web site service. But, if Pepsi can redesign its logo and Pizza Hut can re-brand themselves simply as “The Hut” then you can make future changes, too. Give your business the fair opportunity to succeed by creating a professional image without draining your bank account. Try VistaPrint.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide