So You Don?t Believe in Outsourcing

Entrepreneurs are hardy stock. But sometimes hardiness can get you into trouble.

Especially when you're over committed and could use a little help.

All too often, new business owners decide they don't need to hire any outside services. You know how it goes?."I can do this myself. How tough can it be? It's just a simple direct mail campaign."

Big mistake! Trying to do it all yourself ?unless it's your area of expertise?.usually costs you more in the long run. And most of the time, the work looks pretty unprofessional.

Here's the scenario?

You're starting a consulting business. You decide you need business cards, a logo, a handout of some sort and a website. Pretty basic. You figure you can hire the right people and manage these projects yourself.

So you do. You brainstorm some names for the company, run them by a few friends and select one for your business. Next you find a designer whose work you like and meet with her. You describe the services you'll offer and what colors you do and don't like. Maybe you'll even have some sketches of what you think your logo should look like.

So the designer (working with minimal direction) starts to work. Unless you've given her detailed information on your target market, your niche, how you see your identity developing, this designer is pretty clueless. But she comes up with some designs. Once again, you go to some friends and family members for feedback. Based on the general consensus, you select a design (hopefully, it will fit with your company name and what you do). You can now either leave it up to the designer to get printing quotes for your business cards and stationary. Or you can do it yourself and get some price comparisons. You'll need to know what type of stock you'd like, paper weight, quantities, etc.

Next you want to start on some sort of handout or brochure. Do you stick with your logo designer? If so, better make sure you've seen some samples of brochures she's done. Often designers specialize in one product or another. I've worked with great logo designers who can't do other collateral.

And what about your web site? Is your logo designer also able to do site design? What about development? Not all designers are developers. In fact, most aren't. The best developers I've found started out as web folk, whereas my best designers are sticking to what they do best ? graphic design.

You also need to decide how many pages your site will be, what they are (the menu), how you want the site to lay out (site map), whether or not you need a dynamic or static site, what elements need to be included, etc.

Still happy with your decision? Better make sure you nail down the costs on all of this so you're not surprised upon completion.

Lastly, don't forget about the copy. You need some for your brochure. You need different copy for your website. They're different types of marketing tools and the copy needs to be written in a different style for each. But everything needs to work together (be integrated) so you don't look like a fractured company. Your brochure and website should have the same look and feel?.but the approach is different.

If you're still managing this yourself -- kudos. Especially if you have time to do any selling or networking or research. Because you've taken on full-time work as a marketing person/project manager.

To think?. you could have saved yourself a lot of aggravation and time if only you'd called in a marketing specialist at the beginning. Then you'd have one person who could manage all the above projects for you:

? working with the designer (or designers) and developers to making sure everyone involved understood what you do and who you do it

? reviewing, rejecting, and/or approving designs before you ever see them

? writing copy appropriate for each product

? proofreading ? overseeing all the various vendors to make sure workflow is on schedule and work is correct

... and only calling you for selection, fact verification or final decisions.

Then again, maybe you like a challenge. Or maybe you just need to micromanage everything. Because by the time you're done, you're likely to end up with a disjointed marketing "program" (for lack of a better word). And when and if you finally do call in a marketing person to revise your marketing material, you'll probably find that turning everything over to a specialist -- who does this all the time ? would actually have cost you less than doing it yourself.

At least you'll know better next time.

Rickey Gold & Associates is a small, hands-on marketing communications firm that helps clients identify, reach, entice and sell to their target markets. http://www.rickeygold.com
[email protected]
773.348.4973

In The News:

Experience NYC  Time Out New York
A Way Forward for Small Businesses  Harvard Business Review

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