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A Tale of To Do or Not To Do:
Part II - The Brochure Story

Eyes on the world

Two weeks ago I started writing about how this blog and WME, my publishing company, came into being. I promised Part II last week and...as with many good intentions, the week got away from me. So, here is Part II - with some insight into the pitfalls of being an entrepreneur.

Getting an LLC for my company wasn't all that difficult. I recommend an LLC (Limited Liability Company), as opposed to a DBA (doing business as), only because it's more formal and shows a commitment to your work. At that time, we were really fortunate to secure capital from the SBA, and to secure office space in a local technology incubator. We were off to the races, so to speak. You couldn't find happier, more excited people anywhere!

The excitement did not stop - after we moved into our offices and hired two employees and began getting serious about the company, that excitement still moved us every day. When Tom and I rose in the morning, and prepared to "go to the office" - we pinched ourselves for such good fortune. We began growing the business, signing clients, attending conferences and getting the word out.

One way we decided to get the word out was to create letterhead and a brochure. Here's where I'm going to upset and maybe even shock some people because...that was the first truly bad decision we made. We wasted a large amount of money on the brochure, the letterhead, and a small insert we created to add to special notes. The designer was terrific, and she "got it" when I explained who we were, what we were about and how we wanted the brochure to look.

But, what I failed to recognize is that we are an Internet company, for the most part. We work on the web. Our publishing company uses print on demand (thank you, Rich Selby for working with us to make that the success it has truly become), and our blog business consulting is also done primarily online. So, why did we need - or 'think' we needed - a brochure and letterhead and some little insert????


I can tell you that I worked at several companies that created brochures and I was of the mind that I needed one, also. A brochure would be the main way prospects would take me seriously, I thought. It would be a great introduction, something we could take on prospect calls, send out, carry to conferences, and basically use as a replacement for us. How I could not have seen that we were stuck in the 20th century, I don't know. 

Because that brochure was a costly mistake! We have hundreds of those brochures leftover, now. They are useless, out of date, and an embarrassment. The letterhead - we used it occasionally. But, since our work is mainly done online, we had to create a digital version and that's the one we use the most. The insert? Again, used occasionally but now turned into scrap paper.

The lesson here is that you don't need a brochure when you begin a business. You're still learning who you are and how your business will grow. It may become something totally different than you imagine, today. Save your money. Use it wisely to attend conferences, webinars, and events designed to teach you how to grow your business. Save the brochure development for next year, or the year after.

Or, never. If you're a small business owner, as we are, you don't really need a brochure. You need to be the brochure.


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Mary Schmidt

Don't be too hard on yourself - you were simply too close to your own marketing. And, brochures have been a "requirement" for years and years.

Like Michele, I've got a digital file and print stuff as needed, including customized service descriptions. Other than that, I send them to my web site so they can see how I think. Saves everyone a lot of time (and quite a few trees. ;-)

Aged Corporations

Excellent services Aged Corporations for sold to individuals interested in owning an established company with a clean history.

PeggyCoonley/Serendipity Traveler

Excellent green advice for start ups. Travel clients still want brochures, in fact travel shows consume lots of trees. We wanted to start as a green company and therefore limited our printing and publication efforts. Women love our website which is our brochure.

Michele Miller

Great post, Yvonne. I was fortunate enough to have a graphic designer who said, "You're not going to want to print that letterhead. Let me give you a digital file and you can either use it via email, or print up one letter at a time."

Isn't it funny how some "old ways" are just ingrained in us? Doing a brochure for example. I'm in the middle of creating a PDF download for those folks who want to know what I speak about and teach. Other than that, my BLOG and BOOKS are my brochures!

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