Monday, November 8, 2010

Read before you start a business

Do You Look Cheap?

Many clients buy the least expensive Web site, newsletter, or brochure they can find because they don't see direct results from it. That's bad thinking. If the impression you make on people relative to your competitors is unfavorable, you could be losing business. For instance, If I was online shopping on the Web for cutters for my electric shaver. One site I went to didn't have pictures of the products and the site was ugly graphically--just a bunch of text thrown on a page without any planning or regard to aesthetics. The other site I went to was slick. It had pictures of all the products and was better organized. Its prices were about the same. Guess which company got my order? The one that made the better impression. And that's when I'm buying new shaver blades. People are going to be a lot more careful when they check you out on the Web looking for a financial advisor. Looks do matter. Sure, that sounds shallow, but making a good impression is critical. You can refuse to believe that people evaluate you that way. If so, you're just fooling yourself.

Don't Hire Cousin Vinny

In the Hollywood version of life, "My Cousin Vinny" showed Karate Kid Ralph Macchio being defended successfully by Joe Pesci on charges of murder. Vinny, played by Pesci, had never tried a case. He was not even a lawyer. But that's the movies. In real life, clients rely on a brother-in-law, spouse, or cousin to design marketing materials. But just because your cousin dabbles in graphic design does not mean he or she can do a credible job of creating your marketing materials. Even if your relative is a full-time marketing pro, she probably doesn't know anything about the financial advice business. Even if she does, she probably won't spend enough time on getting the job done right.

Me! Me! Me!

Probably the most common mistake clients make is to fill their brochures and Web sites with self-centered copy. It's as if you think that telling people about your technical skills will convince them to do business with you. Good marketing copy addresses the reader. It's about the benefits your clients get from working with you. Instead of telling people about what you do, tell them about the benefits of working with you. Tell them how you can help them.

Talk to Your Mom
Avoiding jargon in marketing copy or when you're talking to people helps them understand what you're talking about. If you speak in clear terms, it helps you to be perceived as an expert. Try to speak and write in language that would be understood by someone who doesn't work in the industry. Ask yourself: "Would my mom understand what I'm talking about?" It is all about education - educate your clients.

No Logo? No Clients

When you see the hood ornament on a Jaguar, you know it. When you see golden arches, you know you just passed a McDonald's. You, too, can create a strong brand. Everyone has a brand--moms, dads, doctors, barbers. We all put our distinct imprint on what we do. Your logo is a graphical device that stands for your brand. It is your seal of integrity and acts as an implicit promise from you when people look at it. It captures the quality of service your firm gives and the intelligence of the advice you provide. This simple graphic device helps spread the word about what you stand for. Your logo should grace all your marketing materials--the banner on your Web site, the masthead on your newsletter, your stationery, brochure, and the pens you give to clients. They should all feature the same colors. Themed materials support your brand, and a logo is a central part of the effort.

Have a Marketing Budget

The great irony about people who start up their own companies, when it comes to their own business, they don't plan. Do you have a marketing budget? Do you have 12-month marketing goals? Have you written a formal plan outlining who your ideal clients are? Do you know who your most profitable clients are and how you plan to get more clients like them? To make money on your business, you will need to set aside money to achieve your marketing goals.

Guts Equals Glory

If you want to get press, you need to have some guts. My advice: Read the newspaper. Know which reporters cover areas you care about and read all their coverage. Then, call them up and tell them what you like about their coverage and give them ideas about how to make it better. It's that simple. The dentist soon was being quoted in The Wall Street Journal on a regular basis. That was his local paper. Call a reporter. They don't bite, and you have the ideas they need.

Have an Elevator Speech

Can you explain your business in less than 20 seconds? You must be able to tell a stranger exactly who you are, what you do, and what's unique about you in one concise 20-second statement. Write it out and then practice it. While your elevator speech takes only 20 seconds, creating it could take years.

Do it With A Pro

Some clients think they can write their marketing copy. Some think they can produce their own newsletter. Some believe they can script their own seminars. But writing is a skill professionals spend years mastering. Creating your own marketing materials is the same. Write a first draft or spend an hour or two outlining ideas for your brochure. Then hand the draft to a pro. There is a good chance you wouldn't find the time to finish the job anyway.

Most of this info is from a smart -Editor-at-Large Andrew Gluck, a veteran personal finance reporter, is president of Advisor Products Inc. (, which creates client newsletters and Web sites for advisors. Advisor Products may compete or do business with companies mentioned in this column. He can be reached at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Please watch this video as it will help you understand why your logo can't be designed in Adobe Photoshop - and why your logo can't be a photo. Maybe back in the day your logo could have been an image file, now in today's world imagine your logo moving and becoming an animated gif on your website. If this is something that interests you then you need Vector artwork.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

College & NFL Work

Before I ventured out on my own in early 2009. I worked for Conder Flag Company where I was laid off because of the down economy. Conder Flag works with a ton of sporting associations and very large format printing. Although it was sad to be laid off for the first time in my life, while I was there I got the chance to work with the ACC as we transformed the Time Warner Cable arena into the ACC 2008 Arena. Having the ACC Tournament and the Carolina Tarheels come to Charlotte was not only my brothers dream to get to attend the tournament by awesome to be able to create all graphics for the players and attendees to see. Not to meantion the exposure on TV. I went and took measurements of everything square inch of the arena and designed banners and layouts for the entire event all to scale. It was something that I will never forget.

I was also given the job to redesign the Carolina Panthers sidelines. How awesome is it to attend a game or watch a game on TV and see my designs on the sidelines. Check out the link below to see my pictures on Myspace. You don't have to sign up to see them. Really cool stuff.

Before I left the company I also got to work with the Charlotte (Lowes) Motor Speedway's new ZMAX drag strip. I designed the layout of the poles at the entrance and the flags that we printed for them. They were 5' x 20' giant printed flags using the Zmax graphics and colors.

Moving on now to new ventures. My next blog post will be about teaching!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Partnerships for 2010

Announcing a new partnership for my partner Kim Hughes of 704 & Hibiscus Graphix are working together in 2010 to offer additional support for events posted through With my graphic help each event will only be better represented because now the possibilities are endless with this growth of a new partner...

So, without further adieu, I am proud to say that and Charlotte are partnering media reaches to deliver to you what we do best – News, events, and entertainment.

Why FOX Charlotte and Both are the same page in business and in life - both are vibrant, fun, spunky, down to earth, and truly love the Charlotte community and we are committed to aiding our supporters, fans, visitors and viewers live the best lives they can, while being positive and cutting out the negative junk! Our mentalities are in line and they both have a lot of respect for each other, so it is just natural that we work together to make our services better, which directly benefits you, the people that we work tirelessly for each day!

So this is YOUR time to shine, Charlotte! Let us know how you want us to partner together - What do you want to see us do? How can we cover news and event promotion to the best degree for you? Should we do videos, events, special promos targeted to you? How can we make our websites reflect our partnership the best for you?

Email your feedback to or leave your comments on TheBLOG.

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