One thing we advise clients is to try to have a Unique Selling Proposition. This is something which gives competitive edge which rival businesses cannot copy. Our USP is our use of lots of new technology. We are now using a hybrid optical character recognition/narrative prediction system to process bank statements which nobody else has.
Failing that, try to have a Distinctive Product which fixes you in the minds of your customers. Our primary DP is our use of customised colourful accounts and VAT reports. We also send a lot of colourful e-mails and have spreadsheet proformas to be able to produce them. Internally we tend to colour-code anything and everything in a consistent manner. Blue is companies, red is sole traders, gold is partnerships, green is VAT and yellow is PAYE. So if somebody has some VAT to pay, we send them a green notice with the payment details generated on a spreadsheet. The VAT report we send them has a generally greenish appearance to it, and we do use green stamps!
There is not necessarily a sharp distinction between the USP and the DP. What you do should be either impossible to copy, or at least quite difficult. Try to have one of each. Some of our use of colour has a definite purpose, and some is just for fun.
When we mail out accounts, we use colourful stamps to match the season. Summer stamps have eagles and aeroplanes. September and October stamps tend to have autumnal themes like owls and trees. November stamps will be themed by the Night Mail, which is a Carlisle-centred theme. It’s Star Wars for Christmas. We will be using plain stamps in Lent, but even then it will be unusual denominations and then country definitives just after Lent.
We buy stamps online in batches of at least £50 so it’s post-free, and then assign them to the appropriate time of year. The Post Office supplies the stamps in folders of a type used by philatelists which are very handy for this. Greenish stamps are picked out and put in a separate folder. Often when signed accounts are handed back, we get our stamps back as well, and they go to charity.