How to Create Your Own Small Business Press Kit

In last week’s article, we talked about why your small business needs a press kit. Because they’re not just for the press, I prefer to call them small business information package. To recap, you need a small business information package to augment your business card, which has only limited information about you and your company.

Your small business information package is the printed materials to give or send to prospective clients to tell them who you are, where you are, how to contact you, what you do, how to buy, and why to buy from you instead of your competition.

This week, we’re going to discuss what you should put inside your information package. For all intents and purposes, anything that promotes your company can go inside it. Some of the more common things include:

o Business card

o Small business brochure

o Letter of introduction

o Product or service review

o Price list

o Press releases

o White papers

o Recent articles written by you or about your company

o Biography of key officers

o Flyers, coupons or direct mail pieces

o Information pamphlets

So, let’s talk a bit about each. And let’s start with the big one–your small business brochure. Your small business brochure can stand alone. If you decide not to have a complete small business information package, at the very least, create a tri-fold brochure so you have detailed printed information to give clients.

If your prospective client reads only one thing in your whole information package, it will most likely be your brochure. Why? Because it captures the reader’s attention better than any other item in your information package. Most of your other items will be letters, articles or reviews. They’ll look good, and they’ll all match because they’re on your letterhead, but they won’t jump out at your readers like your full color tri-fold brochure will.

So, you want to make sure it’s the first thing people see when they open the front cover of your information package. If you can capture their interest with your brochure, they’re more likely to read the rest.

The first page of your small business brochure should have your business name and logo, and possibly a photo or some graphics. Make it colorful. Make it interesting. Add a slogan or motto on the front that will make people curious as to what’s inside. You don’t want them to just look at the front cover and put it aside!

Inside, try to introduce yourself and review your product or service briefly. If you can, keep the introduction and review to the length of the first inside page or so. Adding a few graphics or photos throughout the whole brochure, together with informative text helps keep your readers’ interest. And, make good use of your headings, remembering that most readers will scan from left to right, stopping at graphics and headings, and sometimes reading the last paragraph.

Now, this part is important, and is possibly the biggest mistake most small businesses make with their brochure–at least some of the other two inside pages could be better used to show prospective buyers how your product or service can benefit them, rather than to describe your product or service features.

I cannot stress this enough. Too many times small business brochures are used simply to talk about you, your company or your product/service. Most of your readers simply won’t care who you are, what you do or how you do it. What they really care about is how you can benefit them. How you can save them time or resources. How you can make their lives just a little bit easier.

Often, the last outside page of your brochure summarizes the inside pages, or lists products or services in point form. You could even add a price list, if you have one.

The next several items in your small business information package are all written on your letterhead, and the sky’s the limit as to what you can use.

You could put the letter of introduction just behind your brochure, or you could include it outside the information package cover if you’re mailing it. Usually this is just a short, one-page letter introducing yourself and your company, and thanking the recipient for taking the time to look at your information package.

Your product or service review could be long or short, depending on what you’re offering. This is not the place to stress benefits, but simply to list and describe your services or products. You can combine a product or service review with your price list very effectively.

Include any press releases about your company, and articles written by you or about your company. If you don’t have any, don’t worry. You can write some specifically for your information kit. Include announcements of your grand opening, for example, or a new line of products, or your new location. Or write an article about one of your products or services.

White papers are becoming increasingly popular. Are you an expert in a particular area? If you are, you might want to write a white paper to include with your information package. A white paper discusses specific business issues, products, technology or other such topics. It usually summarizes information about the topic, and then suggests a proposal for action, referencing research data to justify the reasons for the action. It explains your topic in terms most people can understand, with the goal of educating consumers and marketing your product or service. White papers help establish the writer as an authority.

The biography of your key officers is basically a resume. Include short one-page biographies of key officers to highlight areas of expertise and level of experience in your industry.

Fliers, coupons and direct mail pieces can also be included in your small business information package. Fliers and coupons emphasize current specials or discounts. Here’s a few tips. When you’re thinking about specials or discounts, try to create a sense of urgency with them by making them time- or quantity-limited. And, consider the 10/10 rule, which theorizes that people are most likely to buy when they see discounts of 10% or $10. Or, better yet, offer something extra free.

Recent direct mail sales letters can also be included. There’s simply too much to say about them to really give justice in this short article, but some things to remember are: to stress benefits, create a sense of urgency, the 10/10 rule and a bolded P.S. including a call to action.

Keep direct mail sales letter simple and relevant. Be enthusiastic, know your product, use your imagination and understand your target audience. Establish trust and credibility. Include testimonials. Give free nuggets of information. And, just like in your brochure, write your direct mail sales letter for how people will read it, scanning left to right, and stopping at graphics and headlines, and the P.S.

Now that you’ve gotten all your information package items written and printed, it’s time to put them all together. You can buy covers in your company colors and have your logo and business name printed on them. Put your business card in the front slot and your information in the inside pockets, making sure your brochure is the first item they’ll see. Then send it out, and sit back and wait for responses you’re sure to get!

Small Business Web Hosting That Costs Very Little

If you have a small business on the internet, there are plenty of things that you need to consider when it comes to choosing the best business hosting. There are plenty of options and plans that are available at your disposal and it might be a very good time that you get educated about each and every individual aspect about web hosting and small scale businesses on the internet. The most important thing that you need to ascertain will be based on the particular needs of your website.

Websites may be categorized into three types – small business or personal, information websites and e-Commerce sites. These are the three categories and your business will fall into one of these. The small business that you have might be related to small business information and this is one of the reasons why it is important that you know the best type of web host for the situation that your business might be in. if you do not have a large website, it is not necessary that you need to have a very expensive web hosting plan. If your business is small, you will not be needing a huge space on the disk or very high bandwidth that some of the e-Commerce sites require in general.

Some things that you will need to consider for web hosting plans if you have a small business:

Unlimited Space: When you notice in a plan that you will be given unlimited storage space and transfer facility, be sure to check out the Acceptable Use Policies because in most cases, these are advertising ploys and you might just get offloaded if you end up using too much space without upgrading.

Setup Fees: There are plenty of web hosting services for small businesses that will hide the fact that you will have to pay a signing on fee before you actually go in to sign the agreement.

Email accessibility: There are some small business web hosts that tend to allow you access only into the emails of the sites.

Monthly traffic limitation: Some companies for small businesses will limit the number of hits that can be received by your website, thereby harming your business.

Customer support: You will also need to consider whether the small business web host will be of assistance in case of any problems 24×7 and whether they will provide support on weekends and on holidays as well.

Control Panel: if you are not an experienced enough webmaster, you will require the control panel and there are some small business web hosting plans that do not offer that.

You also need to know whether you need to make any commitments for the long term. There are some small company that allow you to renew your subscription every month. There are plenty of other aspects apart from these few that you need to consider and in order to do that, you need all the help that you can gather for the best running of your online business.

Small Businesses Benefit From Managed Services

The economy is showing signs of recovery; however, many businesses are still reeling from the effects of the recession. From start-ups to multi-billion dollar businesses, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs while turning a profit. In fact, many companies are just trying to keep things in the black, however that does not eliminate the need for practices that will improve and grow these businesses. Since few people have the expertise to manage much of today’s technology, a certain percentage of their budgets should be allocated to IT and software applications maintenance. Here we will cover how managed services can benefit small and medium businesses.

  • Increased productivity- Businesses are established to fill the need for a product or service while providing a livelihood for the business owners and their employees. In order to do this, businesses have to ensure they are working at full capacity at all times. Downtime or work performed at reduced levels is time and money wasted. Managed Services can help businesses not only quickly repair problems when they occur but also act as a proactive measure to spot and treat potential problems before they have an impact on productivity.
  • Supports in-house IT- Many businesses do not want to relinquish all IT maintenance control to an outside party, and small businesses do not always have the resources to support the type of IT department needed to keep their business running at full speed. A majority of businesses can benefit from adding the expertise, tools and availability of a Managed Services Provider to help support in-house IT departments.
  • Remote services- Managed Services Providers work from a remote location, providing desktop, email and back-up and recovery support services without adding to the actual number of “employees” on site. The services provided are unobtrusive and in the majority of cases, have no impact in the day-to-day activities of current in-house employees.
  • Affordable- Generally when you bring on a Managed Services Provider, a consultant will perform an onsite assessment of the company, its workflows and processes and the current state of its supporting technology to determine what services are needed to meet organizational goals. Business owners often have a choice between several different levels of service, making it possible for a company with a limited budget to choose a package that best suits their needs.

Security is a big concern for business owners and individuals alike. In the past, business owners have been reluctant to entrust secure or private information to a third party, offsite vendor. As Managed Services Providers continue to prove their value, more companies are realizing the benefits and value of their services. Managed Services Providers continue to improve technology to provide secure, quality services for businesses of all sizes. As a result, smaller businesses which operate with leaner budgets find themselves in a position to reap the benefits of these services. Business owners often have to make difficult decisions regarding how they will improve their business while sticking to the budget. As the market for Managed Services experiences continual growth in the next few years, this method of IT maintenance and service delivery will likely become the “norm” for small to mid size businesses looking to reduce costs and improve uptime and business continuity. Companies that recognize the benefits of Managed Services will have a jump on their competition.