Are you asking the right questions – to get the right answers? We’ve recently chosen a new consultant to work with us on a rebuild of the ExcitePrint website and to assist us in the coordination of our online marketing. I’m excited now but the process of choosing the right supplier, understanding exactly what we would get for our money, and ensuring that the outcomes will be what we really want was daunting. Choosing key suppliers is a critical mission for any business and sometimes, it’s hard. I know it’s just the same for small business owners when they buy printing. Many of you have little experience with buying print. As with anything that’s unfamiliar, it can be intimidating being the decision maker when you don’t understand all the detail or have all the information you need to make an informed decision. We’ve found there are 3 key problems which get in the way of effective print buying:
- Unclear product description Not being sure exactly what you want to buy. A business card, or a postcard, or a brochure, can come in many guises. If you’re not clear on your product specification, you can’t really compare suppliers.
- Don’t know Quantity, Budget, Timeframe You’re not sure about the quantity required, budget available and timeline that applies to the project. So you may end up spending more than you needed to, throwing unused product in the bin, or missing a critical deadline
- No Advice You don’t have access to helpful advice, for design and/or product selection, so you’ve made quite a few assumptions about what is possible. These could be way off the mark.
If you don’t have the knowledge and information to confidently answer #1 and #2, and you’re missing #3, it’s easy to waste a lot of time — and quite often, money — while you’re not achieving the outcome you really want. Ready for a quote? Here are 5 essential pieces of information you need to have available to allow your print supplier to give you an accurate price – and if they’re worth their salt, to advise on any variations that might improve your outcome or cost effectiveness.
- Artwork Who is creating the artwork? Print prices generally assume you will supply a print ready file If you’re not able to create this yourself, or you don’t have a graphic designer, some print businesses have an inhouse design service. Unless you’re skilled, please do get help here.
- Product Description Provide as much detail as possible, including size, colours, number of sides/pages, any special finishes or binding
- Deadline Exactly when do you really need it? And what’s the delivery location
- Contact details Email and phone. Make it easy for the supplier to ask questions – that way you’ll tap into the expertise of your supplier most effectively.
Dig a bit deeper and you’re much more likely to get the best possible result for your business.