Since the pandemic, entrepreneurship has been booming in the United States. More than 5 million new business applications were filed in 2021 (a record) and there’s no sign of a slowdown.
You might be surprised to learn that, of all the businesses in America, 99% of those are small businesses.
We see those numbers in real life every day. We’re a small business, and we work with hundreds of small businesses around the Charleston area every day.
We know running a business requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears – not to mention money.
With that in mind, we want to make sure small businesses invest their resources in must-have marketing and promotional products. You don’t have money to waste, so put your hard-earned dollars toward the items that have the greatest impact on your long-term success.
We’ve put together this New Business IRL Starter Checklist so you know what to have on hand for in-person meetings. If you’re going to networking events, trade shows, or sales calls, invest in these items first.
Create Your Company Logo
Every business needs a professional logo. We recommend working with a graphic designer to ensure your logo not only looks great but is developed with printing in mind. [Bonus: we have designers on staff who can help you!]
Design: When it comes to the overall design, think simple. Overly complex or intricate logos with lots of detail don’t reproduce well on printed items like shirts or hats.
They can also be hard to see or read when you need to reduce the size for a business card or social media icon.
Need some inspiration? Check out this blog post we did highlighting a few fun design trends.
Color: The color of your logo is important. Once again, think simple. You don’t want more than two or three colors in your logo as it will be more difficult (and expensive!) to reproduce.
Consider colors that align with your brand personality. Colors convey meaning. Red is used for strength, love or action. Green is the color of nature. Blue is the color of trust and confidence.
Files: Make sure you have the logo in a variety of formats and file types. Ask the designer to create a circle version for your Instagram profile or one-color version (perfect for when your logo is in a sea of other logos on the back of a 5K race T-shirt).
Definitely ask for something called a vector file. That’s what we use for printing. With that file type, we can ensure the logo is high quality and suitable for printing.
Get some more tips in this blog post about how to properly put your logo on apparel.
Must-Have Branded Items
These days you can put your company logo on anything. And we mean anything (looking at you, Oreo cookies!).
That also means you have a lot of choices for branded apparel and promotional products. As a new business, we realize you likely don’t have an unlimited budget for promotional items. So, let’s focus on the ones that you actually need to build brand awareness.
Clothing + Uniforms: Outfitting you and your team in branded apparel is a great way to present a professional look and create brand awareness.
Keep it simple and stick to one or two styles or colors. A basic T-shirt is a great place to start. Gildan is a budget-friendly brand. Or go with Bella + Canvas for a more premium shirt.
Be sure to check out this blog post for more tips on how to choose uniforms that fit your industry, budget and style.
Business Cards: Don’t show up to networking events without a professional business card. And if you’re thinking, “People actually still hand out business cards?” Yes! Trust us, people you meet will want your card. Keep a stash in your bag or even in your car.
Plus, business cards are a relatively inexpensive way to market your business.
Promo Items: When it comes to promotional items, stick to the budget-friendly basics as you’re getting started. The classic items are classic for a reason: notepads, pens, tote bags/grocery bags.
Sure, a lot of businesses hand out these products at events and trade shows, but they work. People use them year-round. (Check your desk or kitchen drawer right now. You likely have a pen or notepad from a local business.)
As your business (and your budget) grows, you can add more products or upgrade your promotional offerings.
We hope this New Business IRL Starter Checklist gives you direction on how to spend your marketing dollars wisely as you get your business off the ground.
And we are here to help! Our team can assist with your design and select just the right items for your budget. Request a quote or stop by our showroom at 1758 Ashley River Road in Charleston.