I started a global marketing firm 16 years ago and I recommend NOT spending money on things like fancy brochures, letterhead, business cards, etc. Until you know your business is launched I would say to put your budget into things that help fill your pipeline with customers.
Getting your URL and a website up and running is key. I created online stationery for proposals and invoices, ordered my cards online and made downloadable materials as leave behinds for people looking for more information to help me find clients more quickly. I know other business owners who spent thousands of dollars on these things and found it was a waste of money.
Your story will evolve as you find your market, you need to look professional and have a website to be taken seriously but embossed paper with watermarks and heavy card stock is not going to accelerate your sales cycle. Find those reference customers quickly, use them to get testimonials and referrals . There is plenty of time later to dress things up!
The majority of my business comes from networking. Here are a few tips based on my experience it does not need to be a chore:
- Give before you get
- Stop selling start listening
- Find a buddy to go to event with so you can work the room together, it makes it much more comfortable and fun
- Check registrations online if possible and arrive early to check name tags so you know who is coming
- Bring plenty of business cards
- Send followup notes to best prospects after the event
- Monopolize people’s time or let them do it to you, chat briefly and exchange info so you can follow up after
- Overshare, let them do most of the talking
- Get into political discussions with people you do not know
Hope that helps happy to chat further if you are interested. These tips have helped me grow my business!