When I first embarked on my small business venture, arguably the biggest challenge I faced was the endless hours spent designing my first set of documents. From proposals, to legal agreements, invoices and receipts, I spent an enormous amount of time creating the perfect design and making sure the content covered everything I needed.

Hindsight being 20/20, I really should have looked into some snappy template solutions to get me started. The time I saved could have been spent getting new business and thus making me even more money.

When I opened up a small consulting practice on the side earlier this year, I wanted to make sure I didn’t make the same mistake twice. This time I did a little digging and found something that worked a lot better than me staying up late hours formulating templates and plans.

Word, PowerPoint & Marketing Templates

TemplateZone seemed to have nearly everything I needed. Created for PCs, it offers Word, Excel and PowerPoint templates – as well as useful templates for marketing plans. You can use Word templates to create brochures, flyers, invoice/notices, reports, white papers, quotes/proposals and other useful forms and sheets. You can also utilize the program toward creating business agendas and a variety of business stationary.

The OfficeReady Marketing Plans let small business owners be at the helm of their marketing department. Use templates to create outlines and presentations while using the Excel program template to create formulas, present data and create other worksheets showcasing tables and charts. A built-in PDF publisher and a free e-book guides you through the process. TemplateZone’s Marketing Plan has kept the globetrotting business owner in mind – or even the business owner who remotely does business globally. The plans are compatible with international markets by adapting to the printing and currency needs of other countries.

The benefit here is that you get a program researched and written by professionals to help you look more professional while saving you time.

The business templates aren’t expensive per software, but if you’re in need of multiple programs then the bill can certainly add up. My advice is to go for package deals or split the cost with a colleague who may also be in need of the service. If you simply don’t have enough funds, then start with the program you need immediately and then slowly build your library up. Don’t forget that all this expenditure will be a tax write off.

As great as TemplateZone is, I didn’t use them for email templates; rather, I went with Benchmark Email. If you’re looking for newsletters and email marketing solutions, you should start by checking out Benchmark. I started using their smart email marketing solutions after I saw how poorly my passionate email campaigns were doing. After understanding the importance of a solid template, my results were markedly improved in a few months. Keep in mind that any template used for marketing requires a consistent effort. You can put your all into it one month and forget about it the next. Don’t fall into that trap.

It’s really easy for small business owners to get caught up in doing everything themselves. We have to remember that we don’t get paid for most of the back office work and so it’s really important to limit the number of hours you spend there.