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    1 Reply Latest reply on Jul 28, 2008 3:53 PM by snipperred

    5 Ways to Avoid Startup/Small Business Collateral Damage

    rontowns25 Adventurer
      The marketing function in any business has a high expense profile. This is
      due in large part to the need for an array of marketing materials-known in
      "marketing speak" as collaterals--brochures, white papers,
      newsletters, web sites, and other printed or electronic information-intended to
      increase awareness, recognition, and interest about a company in its target

      Preparation and production of collaterals call for specialized skills-copy
      writing, graphic design, web design, printing, to name a few-that require
      outside contractors. Managing these creative contractors to get the best
      collaterals for the best value can be a challenge. The array of skills needed
      and the choices for final output can cause the cost pendulum to swing wildly:


      Pay too little and you end up with stuff that doesn't represent you or, worse, is detrimental to your image.
      Pay too much and you aren't getting anywhere near the best value for your investment, or, worse, your materials end up being held hostage by your contractors because they are too complex for you or anybody else to take over.
      How can you avoid "collateral damage" to your company's image and/or bank account? Here are five strategies, in reverse order of importance, that will stack the deck in your favor.

      5. Resist the DIY impulse. Unless you or a member of your staff really do
      have the skills needed to turn out good (= results producing) materials, don't
      try doing it yourself. Better to have no brochure than one that looks
      "homemade" by someone who doesn't know a font from a hole in the
      ground or who thinks that white space is a snow-covered field in Minnesota.

      4. Get the most skills that you can from one person. Any creative contractor
      you hire should be multitalented. For example, last year I worked with a
      graphic designer who was excellent in both web design and hard copy design-and
      understood the differences between the two. For the cost of his design time, I
      was able to apply his output to multiple items and have hard copy pieces that
      matched the web site.

      3. Only hire team players. Your creative contractors need to be more
      interested in your business objectives and results than in art for art's sake.
      When you are reviewing proposed designs or creative solutions, ask what, why,
      how. What business benefit will this provide? Why a 6-color brochure rather
      than a 4-color one? How is Flash animation going to generate more business from
      the web site? There may be valid business answers to these and other questions;
      if so, go for it. If not, pass on the artsy stuff and concentrate on more
      practical items.

      2. Practice good project management. Any project must be managed, and
      creative projects must be managed even more carefully. Plan any collateral
      preparation with a timeline, milestones, and resources, then manage your
      contractors according to the plan.

      1. Clarify your objectives before you start looking for contractors. To get
      the best possible return on investment from your collaterals, you need to
      clearly understand what you want to achieve from them. The results your
      collaterals produce should tie in to your marketing and business objectives; if
      you aren't clear what those objectives are, attend to those first before
      attempting to create materials.

      Download the excerpts here and get many more tips that may be valuable to your cause...
        • Re: 5 Ways to Avoid Startup/Small Business Collateral Damage
          snipperred Scout
          Nice post Rontown. I don't see a lot of feedback on this forum regarding finances received and managed. Your article presents a good point of reference for inquiring how people are managing their money and how intelligent planning can make a difference. Each point is relevant.

          To the group:

          Any experience with these pitfalls challenges where this advice could have come in handy?

          Any solutions and resources that worked well for you?

          Iwrite- any standard approaches to project management in offering full service marketting?

          Luckiest- do you incorporate internet/ image footprinting as a consideration into SCORE advising for start ups?