Your Stuff is Really Ugly

I work with a lot of small businesses.  I own a small business.  My friends are fellow 8pm Warriors too.

I see a lot of stuff.

Unfortunately, your stuff is really ugly.

I know, I know I know.  It sounds mean.  That’s why I was too nervous to tell you directly.  I feel bad.  If you found this article on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin, your friends probably feel the same way.  Everyone (including me) is afraid to tell you, so they nominated me to be the bad guy this time.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • The visual elements on your website look old and worn out.
  • Your logo looks like it was designed on Microsoft Paint 10 years ago.
  • The fonts you’re using say more than the words you’re using.
  • Your videos look like a 13 year-old made them with a webcam and iMovie.
  • Your background music is cheesy.
  • Your clever designs aren’t clever.
  • Your photos are dark and grainy.

Your stuff is really ugly.

It used to be endearing….a right of passage for new entrepreneurs. “Just design it yourself,” they’d smile and say.  I was an enabler, nodding in agreement while adding:

“Entrepreneurs can’t afford great design.  Creative people are too expensive for small businesses!”

However, that is poor advice in an online world dominated by Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other visual media sites.  I’m embarrassed to share your site. I don’t want to buy from you because I mistake your ugly stuff for a lack of competence.

Good design is achievable for the average small business now. All you need to look good is put an ad or two in Craigslist, use countless crowd-source design websites, rely on templates, find hungry design students willing to intern, or look up tons of design companies that are slow right now.

Your stuff doesn’t have to be so ugly.

With so much ugly stuff out there, it is a crying shame that there are so many creative 8pm Warriors unemployed or underemployed.  I see them everywhere I look…I get resumes upon resumes.  We had to take our career page down. I feel bad.

For you.

This is your chance to look like a million bucks without spending it.

There is no excuse for ugly stuff.  It hurts my eyes.  It hurts your reputation.  It hurts your business.

Get a decent designer tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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TMI: Two Phone Numbers is Too Much

I’ve been talking a lot lately about personal branding, and it’s time for us to reconsider the way we use phone numbers on email signatures, business cards, and websites.

These days, why does anyone need two or more business phone numbers?

It’s too much information, but at least once a day I see a signature line or business card that has two or more phone numbers.  Here are some of my favorite examples:

Fairly common email signature:

John Smith

Director of Finance

Acme Inc.

Direct: 234-456-7890  x. 4321

Mobile: 234-111-0000

Fax:  914-921-2155

Fairly common business card:

Three phone numbers:

Two numbers, no labels:

Three phone numbers, two emails!

There is no reason a client, colleague, or loved one should have to waste time wondering which number to call, or worse yet, calling both.

Do they leave a message after the first one, or wait until they can’t reach you on the second one?  Should they leave messages on both?  Is it a bad idea to call your mobile phone during the day or your direct number during the evening?

Too many questions, too much information!

It is confusing, irritating, and problematic from a marketing standpoint also.  We’re throwing too much information at each other, and extra phone numbers only add clutter to your email, business card, or website.

Furthermore, we’re just giving ourselves one more voicemail to check.  It’s time to take a step back and reconsider what we’re doing.

I can only think of two scenarios, and both require just one phone number:

1) If you want to be available for your clients when they need you (recommended), share your mobile number.

2) If you want your clients to contact you during your office hours only, share your direct line.

Less is more.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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