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Are You Taking Your Small Business Seriously?

Jane McKay Communications business card

I have created professional business cards and a website for my small business, have you?

As the owner / part-owner of two small businesses I am a very busy person.

Combining a part time job with motherhood and two business ventures leaves me very little time to do anything that isn’t absolutely essential to running my business(es) or my household!

In the constant buzz of activity small business owners can neglect to pay their own small businesses the attention they deserve. I know this, I do it. Constantly.

For my clients I am a stickler for planning: making lists, checking them twice (that reminds me, I must write my Christmas cards…), outlining projects, defining milestones, researching, site mapping….

For my Communications business alone (don’t get me started on how many cookies I need to make!) there is a list a mile long of things that keep getting shunted down the “to do” list to wait for another day.

For example my website (not my blog, my actual website, yes I have one, the link is just there) was hurriedly thrown together one night in Fireworks to do “properly” another day. What is supposed to be the online showcase of all things “Jane McKay Communications” has myriad issues and oversights I’ve been meaning to attend to (none that are necessarily apparent to the end-user but I know they’re there). At the top of the list is migrating to whole site to a more user-friendly, responsive WordPress template, integrating my blog and including testimonials and a portfolio (any volunteers?).

So, to all small business owners I say the time has come to treat ourselves as we do our clients. Roll out the red carpet and give ourselves the Rolls Royce, gold star, top-of-the-line treatment. And it starts now.

But where to start?

While it’s easy, when you work from home, to drop some of the professional elements that you might take for granted in a corporate environment, there are simple things that I do to remind myself that I am running a professional business; a very important one at that and I owe it to myself to take it seriously.

Here are first steps to take to give your business a more corporate feel:

  • Have a professional logo designed. And by professional, I mean by a designer. Use it. Everywhere. Email signatures, business cards, letterhead, etc.
  • Incorporate said logo into your corporate Style Guide. Define your colours, your fonts and logo use. Use a uniform look and feel across everything you do for your business.
  • Have professional business cards printed (see my new, shiny artwork above which I finally had printed after creating my new website). The feel of your business card is just as important as the look. Don’t underestimate the power of stock and how potential clients and customers judge your business by the weight of that innocent-looking (and hopefully beautiful) 55x90mm piece of paper in their hand.
  • Have a professional website designed. There is a lot to be said for a slick online presence.
  • Create templates for your business documents. Proposals, quotes, invoices, etc.
  • Create a gorgeous HTML newsletter to send to your email subscribers each week/fortnight/month. Even if you start with a subscriber list of one, it is the first step.

The next steps?

For me, as a marketing business I’m going to allocate some time in my (very busy) weekly schedule to attend to the things that will help my business grow. Without growth your business will stagnate.

There are things on my list that are going to help my business get exposure, gain new clients and further develop the professionalism that I aspire to.

After all, if you don’t take your business seriously, how can you expect anyone else to?

And of course, if you need someone to help you with any of the above logos, templates, Style Guides, etc. Contact me, I’m always here to help!

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About Jane McKay @janemckaycomms

I’m Jane. I write. I design. I create. In 2009, following a tree-change to sunny East Gippsland, I realised a dream and started my own business through which I have freelanced my marketing services ever since. I understand that marketing your business can be overwhelming, overcomplicated and often overlooked. That’s why I’m here. With a range of expertise built on a Masters in Media and Communications and derived from more than 8 years’ industry experience working with small companies as well as large multi-nationals, I help businesses grow. A creative soul with a strong geek side, I combine my love of wordsmithing with an interest in all things design- and tech-related.The perfect combination of skills for my career in creative marketing.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Are You Taking Your Small Business Seriously?

  1. Hi Jane,

    Good points, all. Especially with regard to a professionally designed logo. So many business owners skip this or simply go the el-cheapo route. Not a good idea.

    But the best point is a style guide, because any business spending money on a logo, stationery, collateral, etc. needs to match this stuff with electronic presentations or anything they produce on their own. The guide is a necessity in my humble opinion.

    Posted by Craig McBreen | October 25, 2012, 2:11 pm
    • Thanks for the input Craig. I think (in my very own humble opinion) if you’re going to go to the effort of creating a professional business then employ professionals to handle your image. As I’ve said in a previous post, consistency is the key. Use a font/colour and stick with it.

      I’m also a huge one for templates. I have templates for everything but it’s easy for me because I know how to do it. I also have a logo for every occasion and application as I hate receiving emails with 2MB attachments (especially on our poor rural mobile network) because people are using a huge logo and sending things in Word.

      Posted by Jane McKay | October 30, 2012, 10:24 am
  2. Well said Jane and once again excellent food for thought. P.S. I love your business card design!

    Posted by Merryn Padgett | October 25, 2012, 4:06 pm
  3. I’m torn up. I was just at Craig’s house saying something similar about being self-employed for eons. Today, I have a few short hours left to snuggle up to my iMac and let the mouse take me like a ping pong ball all over the place whilst my mind is whirring with ideas for the website I want to redo and calls to action I have to incorporate and the budget I have to set aside because I am unable to do it myself — see Craig, I didn’t say “I can’t!”

    I’ve never been a good housekeeper; as a single mom with a huge house and leaves to rake and dust to vacuum, and a business to keep growing…uhmm. Help?

    So, it’s unfortunate I’ve not launched a podcast or written an e-book. It’s unfortunate, I’m not GP’ing everywhere like I’ve been asked. It’s just gosh darn awesome that I have that much business to take away my time to dust the cobwebs from the corners of my humble abode.

    Posted by Jayme Soulati (@Soulati) | October 28, 2012, 3:21 am
    • Well look at my bad manners, Jayme! I thought I’d replied to you but it either didn’t post or I imagined it. My apologies, very poor form.

      There is the capacity there to do so much more in many businesses, not just my own I see. But without 2 extra (child/housework-free) days in my week I realistically can’t do any more. I keep threatening to get a cleaner! That would be a luxury! At the moment, my blog which has been such a source (of inspiration, connections, exposure) has been left idle because I simply have too much paid work to do. A wonderful situation to find myself in!

      I’m working on the slow build-up theory. In my other small business we had somewhat explosive growth when we first started and I wasn’t even able to enjoy Christmas (my favourite time of year) because of all the orders!

      I find it amazing that you and Craig catch up. Bizarre…..

      Posted by Jane McKay | November 27, 2012, 11:21 am

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