Cheap Small Business Planning & Design

10 Steps to Successful Business Planning

  1. Identify a need.
  2. Determine product/service.
  3. Specify a target audience.
  4. Develop a mission and vision.
  5. Market test value proposition
  6. Recognize customer buying behavior.
  7. Evaluate needs and assets.
  8. Explore marketing opportunities and platforms.
  9. Prepare a budget.
  10. Launch business and test

Business plans communicate your value proposition to prospective stakeholders. Your business plan proposal is your primary marketing tool to solicit investers, to attract vendors and it acts as your guide to successfully implement your business model. Your business plan should be an accurate depiction of what your business intends to do. It should identify what the purpose of your business is, who it will serve and how it will serve this group. The key to developing a solid business proposal that wins every time is in establishing trust early on in the document. For more information on how you can ensure you write a winning business proposal that easily gains the trust of its audience, read this "It's All About Trust" article.

Design on a Dime

This particular section is speaking to the design and layout of your brick-and-mortar small business, not its web design. For more information about building a brochure or e-commerce website, visit Your Cheap Small Biz on the Web.

7 Tips to Save Money on Quality Web Design

One of the most common mistakes I see new entrepreneurs make is overspending for website design.  Eager small business owners on the most limited budgets shell out hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to get their sites aesthetically pleasing before going live.  While there are many quality professional designers out there, most are way overpriced and under deliver well below expectations.  It is also often difficult to maintain control of your website’s content once you put it into the hands of an outsourced service provider.  Simple updates like changes in sales prices can take days to implement depending on the size and capabilities of your web designer.  If you do decide that you simply have to outsource your web design, here are seven tips to prevent you from shelling out the really big bucks:

 

1.      Price shop: get quotes from each designer along with a full description of the scope of service they will provide.  Use the quotes to negotiate lower prices.

 

2.      Use college students: this talented group is eager to build their portfolios and will often perform the work for free or really cheap as long as you allow them to use your business as a reference.  You can usually find an abundance of advertisements requesting clients on sites like www.craigslist.org.

 

3.      Check references: take a look at portfolios and visit their completed jobs.  Check for congruency, site feel and ease of navigation. Contact the site owner for feedback pertaining to the designer’s customer service policies and response.

 

4.      Provide your own artwork: many designers will charge extra for providing stock photos.  Take your own pictures and stipulate their use within the contract terms.

 

5.      Get a contract: too many times I have seen small business owners stuck with crappy, dysfunctional websites with little recourse for compensation due to the lack of a written contract.  Make sure the contract covers every conceivable item including S.E.O., future updates and job turnaround time.

 

6.      Write your own ad copy: many web design companies offer full service packages that include copywriting.  Don’t do it!  First off, nobody knows your business better or more passionately than you and secondly, this service can run your bill into the high heavens.

 

7.      Just say NO to flash: I know it’s cute and very tempting but guess what?  It is usually annoying to your site visitors and EXPENSIVE!  Furthermore, flash presentations are not search engine friendly and since these are usually used on your gateway, or Home page, your site could be completely overlooked.  How many times have you seen a flash animation on a first-page Google search result?

 

Web design can get pretty pricey so your best bet is to do it yourself.  Most hosting services include a free page builder program and a variety of user-friendly templates to get you started.  You can also use simple programs like Microsoft FrontPage® or Adobe DreamWeaver®.  There is usually some type of a demo version of these programs included in the original software package that came with your personal computer.  Whether you choose a web design service or do it yourself, the important things to consider are maintaining control of your content and keeping your costs down.

 © 2007 by Niquenya D. Fulbright - All Rights Reserved


 

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