Startup Diaries: Creating a Brochure

[Startup Diaries is a new original series of articles from Yahoo! Small Business Advisor that chronicles the day-to-day and week-to-week struggles of a variety of startup and new small businesses.]

Business-owner-to-be P. Query is in the process of starting Angels' Rest, a small private-care residence for the elderly who seek an alternative to a nursing home.

Our name is official, so creating a brochure is the next step to getting our name out there. We did not want a dull, institutional pamphlet that lists improbable goals for the patient. We wanted a warm, pleasing-to-the eye trifold that accentuates our familial atmosphere. Our wording must reflect our sincere intentions for each resident.

We gathered various brochures from nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our community. Many of them lacked creativity and pop. Certain colors and spacing draw a person into a brochure. We also realized early on in the creation process that it's best if we design it ourselves. No one else knows better how to convey the purpose of Angels' Rest more than us. No one envisions the future of our residence like we do.

The wordage is very important. We do not want to mislead potential residents and their families by providing exaggerated or false information. The majority of the other brochures neglected to state the true ratio of patients to caregiver. Large institutional settings average 12 to 1 in our area. There is no way a patient can get the care they need when staff is overworked. By emphasizing our care and the size of our residence, we offer a level of dignity to those who will reside at Angels' Rest.

Other brochures seem so impersonal. One lesson we learned is by taking the time to write and rewrite our message, we expressed compassion and understanding of the needs of the families, not just the patients. A brochure is often the first impression someone will have about our home and the reader should easily relate to our words and pictures.

We saved several hundred dollars by designing the brochure ourselves. Call your local printing company and see what format is compatible with their computers. We would have saved time had we known this in advance. Make several designs on paper and lay them out on a table. This allowed us to choose the best layout for the brochure because we were able to look at them side by side.

Creating and designing a brochure might seem like a daunting task, but it's actually very fulfilling. Conveying a dream in writing and photos provides a sense of accomplishment and only you can put your heart into it.

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