Category: General

Create Connections and Build Your Business Through Networking

Networking is an invaluable, inexpensive, and effective tool for building your business.

Despite the digital age, people prefer doing business with companies they know and trust. Networking provides potential clients the connection and trust they need to later make a purchase.

According to Oxford Economics USA, 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success. Because of this, 41% want to network more often. Networking may seem daunting, especially for those not naturally inclined to talk with others, but a little uncomfortableness outweighs the benefits.

A First and Lasting Impression

Before getting started, it’s important to look the part.

First impressions are important. After all, people are constantly judging and forming opinions of others. Once the initial opinion is made, it can be challenging to alter it.

Before networking, practice creating a good impression. This means focusing on a professional style of dress, creating good posture, practicing a firm handshake, and focusing on professional mannerisms. These all may seem insignificant on their own, but they add up to how others view you. Be professional, but be sure to remain confident and trust yourself.

Search Out Events

Next, find events where you can network, such as business seminars, networking groups, professional associations, and community events.

  • Business seminars are commercial programs that deliver information or training about a specific topic to the attendees.
  • Networking groups are a great way to exchange business information, share ideas, and offer support.
  • Professional associations are made up of members who are within the same industry. It’s a great area to network with others in your field and receive and share the most current methods and ideas.
  • Community events enable you to meet local people who care about their community.

At any event, it’s important to make connections first and worry about the potential profit later.

People don’t want to be seen as money. However, people do like to talk about themselves. That’s why some of the best connections are made when you hardly say a word. Instead, ask lots of questions and let them do the talking.

Business Cards: The Ultimate Networking Tool

Business cards are an invaluable marketing tool to always carry around with you.

It’s an affordable way to promote your business by providing the potential client with something tangible they can hold onto and view later. Plus, the size is optimal for its ease of use and display.

Business cards are convenient for carrying around in your pocket and sharing at networking events. Best of all, business cards create a lasting professional impression and provide the most important information to the potential client.

Networking may take a lot of time, work, and effort, but the business it provides is worth it!

7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

Just like any muscle in the body, the brain can also get tired.

According to Medical News Today, a human’s ability to make decisions can worsen after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued. This can lead to an emerging phenomenon called decision fatigue, which can cause mental fatigue, increasingly worse decision making, impulse buying, procrastination, decision avoidance, lack of focus, pessimism, and lapses in judgment.

And it could be the reason you find it hard to get stuff done. It’s not your fault. It’s just your brain’s natural defense mechanism.

When the brain becomes depleted, it shuts down non-essential services, including the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for complex decision-making.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs can be affected by decision fatigue because they make many decisions throughout the day, feel greatly affected by the decisions they make, and make stressful and complex decisions.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to alleviate the mental toll of constant decision-making.

7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

1. Simplify

Find ways to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a day by simplifying your life and creating habits.

For example, create a minimalistic wardrobe. Food prep or form consistent meal plans. Develop habits, so you no longer have to decide whether or not to do something. You start to do it automatically.

2. Plan Ahead

Plan the night before for the day ahead.

This will limit the number of decisions you’ll need to make during the day. You’ll no longer have to decide if you should do this or that. It’s prewritten. You just need to follow the script. Much easier.

3. Hard First, Easy Second

Tackle the hard stuff first when your brain is the most energized.

Some may find it tempting to take on the easy tasks first in order to ease into the day. But, when you reach the more challenging items, it will be much harder to complete because your brain is already depleted. You’re not doing yourself any favors.

4. Take Breaks

Small breaks energize your mind and make you able to continue working optimally for longer.

These breaks could include a meditation (focus on breathing for a set period of time), a short walk, or even a power nap. You’ll come back energized and ready to conquer the rest of the day!

5. Self-Care Matters

Take care of yourself.

Your brain and physical body function optimally when you are eating right, sleeping well, and not overworking yourself.

6. Don’t Go It Alone: Outsource

Reduce the number of decisions you must make by outsourcing them.

For example, hire virtual assistants to cover the simple business decisions or hire extra employees to tackle more complex decisions.

7. Stand Firm

Once a decision is made, stick to it!

You already spent quite a lot of energy making that decision. There’s no need to go back, spend more energy, and change decisions. You’re just increasing your workload and decreasing your mental energy.

It’s Start with Your Mindset

Interestingly, it could be beneficial to change your view on how mental energy is used.

A study was conducted comparing Westerners and Indians. The Indian participants believed that exerting willpower was energizing, while the Western participants believed that exerting willpower was draining. The Indians performed better. Therefore, perhaps just changing your mindset regarding the brain’s energy could affect your energy levels.

A world full of decisions can be draining, but luckily there are multiple strategies to help you combat decision fatigue.

Shape Crystal Clear Lead Generators with Three Building Blocks

Presidential campaigns are a time when passions run high and candidates jostle for the spotlight.

Avid supporters of each candidate put signs in their yards, wear buttons, or put stickers on their bumpers. Politicians who use simple, repeatable slogans have a higher success rate and a longer shelf life in the public square. Can you finish any of these popular mantras?

  • Tippacanoe and __________ (Tyler Too/William Henry Harrison)
  • A Chicken in Every Pot and __________ (A Car in Every Garage/Herbert Hoover)
  • Happy Days are ________ (Here Again/Franklin Roosevelt)
  • I Like ____ (Ike, Dwight D. Eisenhower)
  • Make America ________ (Great Again/Donald Trump)

A good presidential campaign slogan is memorable, meaningful, and highly quotable. More than a phrase, it builds a heart connection with the dreams and needs of listeners.

And it is often a candidate’s key to victory.

Why Confusion Scares People

Voters and prospective customers aren’t so different.

Both are weighing decisions and navigating information overload, so strong messages should be short and sweet. Customers will not progress when in a fog because no one likes being confused. If you are confused about the rules of the road, you could smash your car. If you are confused about a medication’s dosage, you could poison yourself. Feeling uncertain about an idea leaves people feeling vulnerable.

The human brain is designed to experience delight when it understands something and resistance or fear when it doesn’t. This is a basic survival mechanism and a way to logically categorize information. When someone feels uncertain, they naturally move away from situations that confuse them and toward places they feel more in control.

Many companies miss this point and underestimate the emotional weight of precise, repeatable messaging. They overcommunicate, bury the lead, or complicate the storyline.

Lift the Fog and Move Prospects Toward Action

Want to eliminate uncertainty and move your prospects toward action?

From a direct mail postcard to an email drip campaign, here are three basics that every lead generator should include:

1. Pique Curiosity

In the header of your brochure or the beginning of your proposal, pique curiosity with a poignant phrase, like:

  • Save $500 a month and buy your next car with cash
  • Put a stop to this before it puts a stop to YOU
  • Increase your ACT score by 4 points in 4 months
  • Own your own little piece of paradise

Strong hooks work to draw people in, press the pain point, paint a compelling future vision, or appeal to the selfish desires of key customers.

2. Preview a Solution

After the hook comes your pitch.

If your lead statement draws them in, the next idea you communicate should answer the “but how?” question.

Like this:

  • Save $500 a month and buy your next car with cash . . . with our Freedom Finder Debt Consolidation plan
  • Increase your ACT score by 4 points in 4 months . . . with one-to-one Varsity Tutoring
  • Own your own little piece of paradise . . . Unlock the world with thousands of hassle-free timeshares

3. Offer a Next Step

Businesses are meant to be transactional, and it’s not pushy to ask for a sale.

Having a “Buy Now” or “Schedule a Call” button on your sell sheet or website helps your customer understand the kind of relationship you are inviting them into. Make your next step to put prospects in the driver’s seat.

By adding clarity to your lead generators, you’ll build customer confidence, make your brand more memorable, and ultimately close more deals.  The better your hooks are, the more successful your sales will be!

Use Collaborative Design Blasts to Craft Show-Stopping Ideas

It happens.

The design deadline looms, your mind is adrift, and your page is blank. How can you generate creativity and move out of this slump? Two resources to leverage are your time and your team

Often the longer you spend on an idea, the less productive you become. Especially if you are working alone. With an open concept and no firm timeline, designers may sit at their desks for weeks, spinning endless variations of a vague concept or completely losing sight of the project goals. This is a dead end that can drive everyone mad.

Instead, apply a simple process to prompt stunning ideas efficiently:

1. Gather a team

Everyone has good ideas, not just designers.

Who could you pull – account assistants, content writers, a family member – to brainstorm for a brief stretch of time? Use a pen and paper and spend time thinking aloud together about names, word pictures, or image ideas. Keep it short and sweet but have fun!

2. Review the design brief and project goals 

Amidst the flurry of creativity, stay focused on your target.

When you gather the team for an initial brainstorming session, always review the project requirements. Be sure you understand what the client wants, the project parameters, and the goals for final outcome. This task review and initial brainstorming should last for no more than 10-15 minutes.

3. Launch a 60-minute development blast

Time to send the troops into battle!

If you are the sole designer, it’s all you. If not, send a small batch of people to work for one hour. The group has 60 minutes to come up with ideas. No more! The abbreviated timeframe forces your brain into green light thinking, prompting more spontaneous creativity. Typically pencil, pen, and paper are best for stretching ideas without inhibitions.

After an hour, meet again to chat. Give comments or suggestions to develop the full potential of the best ideas. Usually, a handful of ideas emerge as the best candidates. Now a final concept can be clarified, assigned for full development, and kicked into the digital realm.

If you can’t decide which idea is best, pick the top three and draw scamps to a higher level of finish. Pin them to the wall, talk about the pros and cons of each, and see what the collaborative process brings. Just a little team mojo can make a mediocre idea magical.

4. Keep early and rejected work

Often when you pitch ideas to clients, some of the best ideas get cut.

This is unfortunate, but not all is lost. All good designers will build up a collection or rejected work. Whether it’s an early stage scribble or a fully developed logo, keep a printout of every piece of work. Scan sketches and scamps and clearly label them, so they are accessible later and easy to find.

You invest lots of time shaping a concept, so don’t let an initial rejection close the door on your idea forever. Down the road, these ideas may be a catalyst for an even better spinoff design!

Delicious Fonts: The Bread and Butter of Appealing Designs

For every Olympic Games, there has been an accompanying logo that brings a unique identity to that particular year while allowing the host country a special place in the global spotlight.

A good Olympics logo should reflect both the host country’s culture and the time period of the games. The 2012 Olympic logo caught a lot of flak for failing in both of these goals. Composed of bright pink and yellow colors, weird shapes, and a jagged, angular typeface, it smacked of an 80’s funk vibe rather than British culture or the London lifestyle. When it was revealed in 2007, a petition circulated Great Britain (signed by over 48,000 citizens) to have the £400,000 logo scrapped a redesigned.

Ije Nwokorie, managing director at the design firm that created the logo, defended the bold look:

“We wanted the logo, in particular, to make people reconsider Olympics, to think about them in a different way,” he said. “London is this kind of dissonant place that you discover new angles and new dimensions to things. In its highest level, this brand was an expression of that.”

Overall, the logo and font sparked more dissonance with the viewers. Many believe it went down in history as a failed experiment.

How to Pick the Best Font for Your Page

Typefaces are the personality on the page.

The way you represent words shapes the style and readability of your content. A font choice can have far-reaching effects, which is why brand style guides are extremely helpful.

But if you don’t have a grid to work from, the endless choices can feel daunting. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips:

Set the Tone

What is the style of the document? What vibe should the content communicate?

Often the audience you target will shape the personality of your font choice.

Keep it Simple

Unless you are designing an art piece, stick to one or two typefaces. If you are designing for a document, like an annual report, you might need a sans serif and a serif for variety and legibility.

If you need lots of different headings and subheads, choose a font with a variety of weights (like Bahnscrift or Sabon). Display fonts are fun but don’t offer many choices when it comes to weights.

Make the Best Even Better

Want to inject personality in your text without getting too weird?

Customized fonts work beautifully for logos, headings, or a tagline splashed across the page. Try customizing your favorite fonts with tiny alterations, like this:

  • Shorten the descenders on letters like y, p, and q
  • Make the crossbars on a letter stop short on one side and cut the corners off letters at an angle (like a capital ‘A’ or a lowercase ‘e’
  • Use a bold header and a blurred, slightly transparent subhead
  • Erase or add to the font by uniquely featuring something relating to your brand (for example, a baker might use a font where a bite is taken out of every ‘B’)

Don’t Be Trendy

Marketers often choose a typeface because it seems cool at the moment, but the flair can quickly fade.

Like bad wallpaper in your grandma’s kitchen, faddish designs don’t age well. One rule of thumb is this: “If a typeface is quirky, your design might be a turkey.”

Classic fonts that have endured over decades include Bodoni, Bembo, Caslon, Clarendon, Helvetica, Gill, Univers, Baskerville, Perpetua, Futura, News Gothic, and Optima.

From selling products to creating brand loyalty, fonts create a smooth, intuitive journey for people to follow. A little adjustment to your fonts can go a long way!

Creative Ways To Use Print Marketing to Boost Your Business 

There are many ways to increase business through marketing with print.

Although the world has experienced an unparalleled technological revolution, print media’s importance in reaching customers remains an uncontested force.

According to Forbes, print marketing is more recognizable, memorable, and decipherable to consumers than its digital counterpart.  

As old as advertising itself, print media is an invaluable resource. A host of strategies have yielded results over time; however, unique print marketing campaigns have ultimately proven the most successful. 

Utilize Social Media’s Simplistic Design

Most companies have adopted digital media into their marketing repertoire.

Customers enjoy simplistic layouts, separating information and graphics. Plus, it has become a recognizable feature of this media-minded society.  

Easy ways to incorporate digital inspiration into print marketing include (but are not limited to): 

  • Signage on or around your business
  • Business cards
  • Mailing materials
  • Promotional handouts 

Incorporate the Magic of Multiple Mediums

The Louvre famously employed a simplistic roadside billboard campaign in 2017.

It emulated the orientation, scale, and minimalism of a typical social media post that billions of users are familiar with. However, the museum also took the additional step of including non-conventional aspects to complement their high-way gallery. They set their roadside advertisements up to sync with three local radio stations. The audio component allowed drivers to hear a 30-second artist introduction. Along with attracting more visitors, the Louvre also gained international recognition for its creativity. 

There are endless undiscovered frontiers companies are exploring every day.

One of the best parts of print marketing is its versatility. Virtually anything can become a canvas to market your business. Marketing can also be seen in other lights. For example, a print media campaign does not have to include conventional forms of print advertisements.

While signage, business cards, and mailers are fantastic ways to reach customers, marketing can also be done through creative and more indirect ways. 

Printing Is the Best Marketing Route

Regardless of the methods you employ, finding the right printer to begin your next successful and innovative marketing campaign is simple.

To truly transform your business, join forces with an experienced team of print marketers. We’re here to help.