My new company name, at last!

Hard to believe that this is only my second post of the year for my blog. It was definitely not for the lack of something to say. Indeed it has been an extremely busy few months. After the 2010 Winter Olympics, my business activities started picking up. I finished a peer mentoring program and it overlapped a bit with a 2-week intensive business development program! In the processĀ I met some wonderful people and got to know a few of them in the 10 days we were together. I believe that things happen for a reason. This program helped me think through my business. As a result, I applied for and got accepted at a self-employment program which started in September. It also helped that my entrepreneurial spirit showed. After a few weeks of workshop, I’m now in the process of writing my business plan and will be presenting it to a panel of advisors later this month. One of the items I struggled with was coming up with my company name. As a designer, I knew I could get away with naming my company with my name and simply adding the word “design”. I wanted something more. Something that can grow. Allow me to present my new company name …. Third Leaf Designs, visual designs that work for you!

More new things coming up in the next few weeks! This coming new year 2011 will be exciting!


Market research for new ideas

I recently started doing some marketing for this idea of creating Modern Silhouette Portraits. Simply put, it a traditional art with a modern twist. It can also be a wonderful addition to the annual family photos, adding a touch of nostalgia to memory keepsakes.

For any small business owner or freelancer or someone just starting out an new idea, it makes good business practice to research your market very well. I created a postcard for this new product/service on a trial basis as part of my market research. I distributed it to trade shows in the area over the last month. Sometimes, one just has to show it to the public to see if it a “nay” or a “yay”. One thing I learned from recent experience is to do just enough to get started and find out more rather than to do the research so deep and then have to start all over again. No one really knows when an idea will take off and how well it will be well-received but at least doing due diligence on the market research can save time and money.
This kind of smaller scale promotional material is also good to target very specific markets. The more specific your target is, the more it is important to take the time to tailor your materials for them. This can be in many forms like printed promotional material to your newsletter subscription content, or your email marketing. Check out my website for some samples of specific marketing promotional materials.

Niche Marketing for Your Small Business

As I focus my energies in marketing my creative services, I have been reading books, attending seminars, and networking. One of the things I got out from a recent seminar was finding my niche market. As a small business I need to identify my niche markets, pick three from that list and develop the different marketing for each.

It is sometimes tempting for a small business owner to reduce expenses by creating a generic printed promotion material. I believe this can be a costly mistake. It is far more cost effective to develop different messages for each niche market, identify your unique selling point, and print in smaller quantities initially. This is one area I can truly be of help to a small business or a business starting out. My design and print bundles are reasonably priced and won’t break the bank!

As for my own niche markets/specialty, I have identified the following:
1. Home-based, freelance or small businesses
2. Specializing in books for publication (print, web, and e-books)
3. Artists requiring promotional materials
Check out my current design and print bundle here.