Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Money, money, money

Do you have a clear idea of how much you need to spend on your business? I recently attended a seminar held by the Women's Venture Fund, a non-profit organization that provides loans to female entrepreneurs. Betty Yee, who led the presentation, pointed out that most women that start out businesses are underfunded. That means that they either fail to get funding or the funding that they get is too little.

That made total sense to me because I'm always worried about spending money, but that type of mentality won't get me very far. Playing small does not help the world, as Marianne Williamson would say. To create a company we need to dream big, and for it to operate, we need to spend money. But the question is how much? And how do we allocate those resources? That's where the business plan comes in. So I'm booking a session with one of the friendly business counselors at my local Small Business Development Center to help me figure that out.

But thinking big doesn't mean I can't run a lean operation. One way I saved money recently is by designing my own business card. Microsoft Publisher, which comes built in with Microsoft Office, is a great tool for this. I picked one of their templates (loved this retro/modern look, see below) and changed the color and added a few details to it and... ba-da-bing!

I took it to Staples, bought some of their business card paper and had them print the cards in their color printer, which is much better than my old clunker, but you may be able to use yours. In the end it may have cost a little more than Vistaprint (about $14 for 100 cards) but the big advantage is that I can change it anytime if I need to and don't have to wait around for the order to get shipped to me when I need more. I can also use the same template I created for other marketing materials, like flyers, banners, etc. Very nifty!

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