The MOST Expensive Mistake You Can Make

Most people who own a small business have a huge passion and talent for the product or service they provide. Some people have a business degree. Some even have MBA's or PhD's. But, most who own their own business just have a passion for what they do.

So, they try to make a difference...and a profit.

But, running your own business is very hard. We all hear the in five don't make it, every third small business fails, one out of two flop and on and on and on. Plus, small business owners have to wear a lot of hats: sales person, marketing manager, accountant, janitor, customer service representative, human resource department, etc...

You name it, small business owners do it.

The learning curve is great. And business owners make many mistakes. Some mistakes are just part of the growing process, while other mistakes may cost only a few bucks or thousands of dollars. But one mistake I am about to describe can be the MOST expensive mistake you can make in running a small business.

What's the mistake?

It is the very simple, but VERY costly mistake of having your logo, stationery, brochures, web site and all other marketing materials for your small business look cheap, poorly designed, thrown together and unprofessional.

Every single week, I see a multitude of small business owners who are making this very mistake. They just don't get it. They don't realize the cost of this mistake. They don't realize how much damage they are doing to their business and brand by using these unprofessional and poorly designed marketing materials. Essentially, what they are doing is creating a sub-par first impression that is burned into the mind of new prospects forever.

The old adage is never get a second chance to make a first impression. In running a small business, you cannot afford to look thrown together, cheap and unprofessional.

Why is this mistake so costly? Simple. It's because most small businesses look alike. Most look cheap. Most look unprofessional. In an effort to "save money", most just throw their marketing materials together or hire the cheapest person they can find to design them. Because of this, they don't stand out from the crowd. They don't look like the experts they are and they don't attract clients, which is precisely why this mistake is so costly.

Is this how you look? Is this what you do? Is this what you have done? If you have, you have made a HUGE mistake. You must stand out from the crowd. You must be different. You must look different. You must show the world that you care enough to invest in professionally designed marketing materials.

If you don't stand out, if you don't look professional, if you look cheap, amateurish and thrown together, a few things will happen. Prospects will pass on your products or services and go to your competitors. You will not earn the price you are worth. You will not be trusted as the very best in your field. Prospects will view and judge you as someone you are not. You will have a very hard time building your reputation. Most importantly, you will lose money. Period.

The only way to stand out in the highly competitive marketplace and correct this mistake is by having a professional, reputable design firm create and produce all of your marketing materials. Having these materials professionally created is an investment, NOT an expense. Professionally designed materials will brand you as the expert you are, attract clients to your business and position your business over your competition.

Don't make the same mistake so many other small business owners make. Hire a professional design firm. Do it right the first time. By having a professional image you will be light years ahead of your competition. You will stand out from your competition and project the image of your expertise. This worthwhile investment will net a valuable return over the life of your small business.

Jeanna Pool is President of CATALYST creative, inc., an award-winning graphic design, web design and marketing firm located in Denver, Colorado. She helps small business owners who are really good at what they do, but struggle to market their services effectively to attract more clients on a consistent basis. She can be contacted at or call 303.380.9100.

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