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Your small business is never static. Either you are growing or falling behind. Trying to tread water and stay at the same level of business is not a good option.
The reason for this is based on a simple truth. Sooner or later, you will lose every customer you have. They move away, they outgrow you and your products and services, their brother-in-law goes into a similar business, you drop the ball in customer service, and so on.
Your business environment is always changing. What worked last year falls flat in tomorrow's market. The marketplace moves and you must move with it.
Example: Greg is trained and certified in acupuncture. He set up his place and attracted a growing list of clients. To promote more, he offers talks and demonstrations at business and organizational meetings. In addition he arranged to do a brief workshop at the local medical clinic. These activities began to attract more clients to the acupuncture treatments Greg offered. He was promoting--and educating--by reaching out into the community.
Example: Cheryl runs a fitness center. No heavy lifting here--she targets people 40 years old and above, using treadmills, cycles, and the like. To spread the word, she joined several networking groups but the success was limited. She went to MeetUp.com and formed her own group--people looking to solve weight problems, get in better shape, and deal with post-surgery problems. She also used Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media to spread the word. This has resulted in promoting her fitness center far beyond the small circle of regulars she served before. Social media put Cheryl on the map, plus referrals came.
Example: Vicky opened a small neighborhood restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. She knows her reputation is spreading, because new faces are showing up. To promote, Vicky had coupons printed offering one dollar off on any meal. These were designed to suggest the size and color of real money. (You cannot print a dollar bill unless you want a visit from the federal government.) Vicky hands out her coupons to everyone as they pay their bill, encouraging people to take a couple of extras for their friends. Her regulars helped Vicky promote the restaurant. A dollar amount coupon works better than offering a percentage off.
Inexpensive promotional ideas are everywhere. Put on your thinking cap and home in on what works in your business.
Promoting your business is a never-ending activity. Try one method and see how it does. Then try another. Home in on what works best.