If you don't already know this you should be looking into what good design can do for your brand. These days people know what looks nice and what doesn't. The same as customers can tell the difference between a DIY designed leaflet to professionally designed print.
Research! Good graphic designers with a strong creative process will research your products and services to find out what the client demographic is that you are trying to sell to. In other words, your perfect customer. Then, armed with the researched info a designer can start putting together the best way to attract these people.
Realising who you actually want to sell to is liberating. Once you have worked that out it all becomes a lot easier to sell/aim your business at these people. The colours, the type, the culture, age, sex all have a part to play in finding out who your perfect client is. You all probably already have a business page on social media right? Are you using the right social media platform? When you know who your customer is you may want to look at that? Selling B2B ? Then Linkedin or Twitter is probably for you. Perhaps the audience is very young? Look at being on Instagram or Snapchat.
Professional design is not cheap you are right but DIY/ poor design is much more costly when nobody connects with your brand. Talk to your designer, you may be able to barter by offering your services or products in exchange for graphic design work.
Ask about instalments, at Branding Expert we offer instalments over the period of a creative process. Starting with a deposit then break points at intervals agreed with the client at certain times throughout the design at these milestones a preview is delivered and a payment made. We also offer a designer subscription. This a retainer amount paid each month and you are designated a designer that will produce anything you need each month for a fixed amount.
Another cost effective way is to take one job at a time. Pick a couple of the most urgent graphic design jobs you have then set a timeframe to complete. Then the following month do the same, it feels like surprising less time and you are actually moving forwards, thinking about how expensive it will be gets nothing done, so finbd a way to improve the business brand by using one of the above ideas.
There is a scary amount of business owners that have a pc or a mac, a printer and a laminating machine. They then "design" their own signs, posters, flyers and even business cards but I'm afraid graphic design is not that easy. Graphic design has to have a reason behind it, it has to solve a problem. Whether it's gaining more customers, positioning a company in the marketplace, delivering an audience that want to buy your products or numerous other problems businesses face everyday. It's basically communication. Fantastic, profitable outcomes won't be achieved by a business owner copying other designers work, over using typefaces, colours and images but it can be achieved by using a strong creative process. "That looks nice" just doesn't cut it and it usually isn't nice at all.
There is a lot to consider when designing anything from a logo to a full brand. The brief from the client is studied and considered to decide on the best way to deliver a solution to the problem.
Researching is key and this involves spending time looking at and finding out who the business is aiming at selling to. Researching the competition, finding out what works and what doesn't for them. Building a good solid picture of the perfect client and then sketching concepts that would connect emotionally with that particular audience. All of this happens before we get anywhere near a mac to start designing .
Reflection means giving a concept time to breath. time to receive feedback and allows the design to mature. The presentation, usually via email presents one or two final ideas to the client. Once agreed the final outcome is refined and delivered to the client in various formats for use online or in print.