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Small Business IT- What you need to know and where to begin. – Step 5: Business Cards

Congratulations! You now have everything you need to create your business cards.

This is a good subject for me to discuss because I need to be reminded of this step.  There are many times when I am out and about and people ask me for my business card or I go to give them a card and I DON’T HAVE ONE. This is because I either didn’t put them in my wallet, car, backpack, etc. or I ran out of them. (Insert palm to forehead.) I wish I could say I learn from my mistakes but that isn’t always true. It is hard for me to look back on the missed opportunities I could have had for business. (Insert another palm to forehead.) But the past is the past and I guess I should take my own advice.

When companies are small and just starting out, business cards are one of the things that get put on the back burner as too expensive and something they can’t afford. I also hear the excuse, “I don’t have all my stuff so I can’t make my cards yet.” BUT they are important.  If you have been following along with the steps, you should have a logo, a phone number, and an email address. “But I don’t have my website built yet, ” is what I hear next. You have a domain name (www.yourdomainname.com). You don’t have to have your website set up. It can be a work in progress. (We will get to this in another step.) You do have the information people need to contact you for your services and you are ready to get your cards.

There are many options for getting business cards. You may need a lot or a little. That will depend on your business. You can print them yourself. You can order them from somewhere for a more professional look. It is all up to you. I choose to get mine from Vista Prints. They have a good selection and they make ordering easy. There are more companies than I can count that can help you. It depends on what you want.

The point is, don’t be like me. Don’t let yourself be caught without a business card when you need one. Get them. Keep them where you can find them. Use them. They are a great way to help your business grow.

 

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Small Business IT- What you need to know and where to begin. – Step 4: Logo

Now for the LOGO step. This could be the most expensive step (or not), depending on the options you choose. This is what you will use for branding. This is important because it is the way people will begin to recognize who you are and what you do. It could change as you go.  You can design one yourself. A lot of people just grab a word art and use it. You need to be careful using some of these because of copyright. There are a lot of rules and you just need to make sure you are following them.  If you are one of the many less creative people, or someone who does not want to deal with designing your own logo, you can have someone do it for you. There are many options to choose from. When I did my logo, I chose to use 99designs. Yes, it cost more than some, but that is the way I chose to go.  It was about $200, and I now have the copyright for my logo.  There are other places you can get logos and their prices vary.  FIVERR is another good place to get help.  You can have a friend draw one for you.  Whatever you choose to use, remember that it is important for you to choose a logo that is suitable for your line of work and business.

 

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Small Business IT- What you need to know and where to begin. – Step 3: Phone

Today let’s talk phones. We need them. We all have them. It seems like we can’t live without them.

This one might seem like a weird discussion since everyone has a phone, right? This step could be considered optional….. but hear me out. If you are going to interact with the consumer in any way at all, I suggest that you get a different number from your personal line. The options are endless really. Here are a few suggestions. You could use google voice or Godaddy business line. This might cost a few bucks a month. I even sell IP phone systems with numbers that can be forwarded to your cell number. This is cheaper than having a dedicated phone, and it will allow you to separate your business calls from your personal calls. I mean at 11 pm you probably don’t want to talk to an angry consumer, but you may want to hear from your kids, friends, or parents. Deciding what you will use should be done sooner than later. You could wait, but then your customers, website, business cards, etc. would have your old number and it would take some work and cost to change things and let people know of the changes.

So decide if a phone number is something that you want. Seriously consider it. It will help you in the long run.

 

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Small Business IT- What you need to know and where to begin. – Step 2: Email

Congratulations! By now, you should have a domain name.

The next step is to set up your email account.  You are going to want to have a way for people to communicate with you. Because you have a domain name, you can now have an email address at whoever@yourdomain.com. Doesn’t that look professional?  It is simple to use. The mail sent to this address can forward to an email account that you use now. It looks a lot more professional than  whoever@gmail.com.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Gmail. It is great. It is just not great for your business.  It looks low key and gives the impression that you are not committed.

Now, this email address is not an email account. You cannot send email from this account. This may not be necessary for your business and it is completely fine. If you want to go a step further, you can get an email account  for $1.99 a month. This will allow you to SEND email from your email address instead of just receiving them.

So let’s do some math. You spent $10-$15 for your domain name for the year. Now you spend $1.99 a month to be able to communicate with your customers. You are now sitting at $34-$39ish for the year. Not bad. That is under $4 a month. That seems pretty affordable to have a professional way for your customers to find you and for you to communicate back with them.

Set up can be simple and if there are questions, I am always available at my email address,  Irving@TryonComputers.com.  (Doesn’t that look professional?)

Go ahead. Take the next step today and get yours here. You will be glad you did.

 

 

 

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Small Business IT- What you need to know and where to begin. – Step 1: Domain Name

Thanks for coming  back!

Let’s get started.

The first thing you need for your business is the name. Yes, the name is very important.  With the way people use the internet, you will also need to look online for a Domain Name for your business. You do not want to be without one. Your business will have more opportunity down the road to grow and more accessibility if you have one.  It is a simple investment. They run between $10 to $15 per year. That is a few cups of coffee, a few sodas or a lunch out. That is a really cheap investment that will benefit you in the long run. That will also allow you to see if someone else already has the Domain Name of the company that you would like to begin. It saves headaches down the road with duplicate names. It is easier to figure it out now instead of trying to fix it later. My wife and I have done this when we have talked about doing business on the side. Before we did anything else, we first looked at available domain names.  Later, if something did not come from it, we were only out $12 or less.  That’s not to say that we do it on a regular basis, but it has been helpful a few times. If you are going to start a business, don’t skip this step.  If don’t have at least this much to invest in your new startup, then you may want to reconsider starting at this time.

In the next step, you will see why the first step is so crucial. Really. I promise. Come back and find out. You won’t regret it.

 

Go here to look for your Domain Name.

 

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Small Business IT- What you need to know and where to begin.

Hey All,

I talk to people all the time that tell me, “Hey, I am going to start a side business.” That is great! What they don’t always understand is how to get started on the IT side.  I am going to begin a series of posts on How To Get Started.  Stay tuned so you don’t miss out.  There will be plenty of useful information to help you in the New Year.

Irving