Most, if not all, small businesses are built on a budget. Available funds must be used to buy technology, additional phone lines and marketing materials such as business cards. In this article you will find ten low cost or no cost tips that will help you get your first customer and build your business.
1) Obtain low cost business cards online through companies such as www.VistaPrint.com. Add an explanatory tag line to identify your product or service. While you are running your normal errands drop off a business card at every business you see such as drycleaners, restaurants, gyms, etc.
2) Have a new or rebuilt shopping center opening in your town? Attend the grand opening and chat with the business owners and staff and hand out your free or low cost business cards.
3) Create flyers with your phone number on tear off tabs and place them at the library, grocery store, coffee shops, etc. Carry a few in your car with push pins so you never miss an opportunity.
4) Hold a contest. People love freebies. When you're handing out business cards and designing flyers highlight your contest for a limited time. Anyone who books at least two hours of your time during the contest month is entered into a drawing for a gift basket. Put together an inexpensive gift basket with sample size coffee, a coffee cup, a business book or best selling novel, cookies and crackers. Put the names of the qualifying clients in a hat and have your child draw the winning name. Take a picture of the gift basket and your child drawing the name out of the hat, scan the pictures and put them on your website and social media pages along with the name of the winner.
5) Write an article that would appeal to your target audience such as small business owners, add a four to five line biography with your e-mail address and web site address. Post the article on your website or LinkedIn Pulse, then promote the article on social media.
6) Create an informative presentation around your topic area and contact your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to speak at a monthly meeting.
7) Create coupons offering a free or discounted product or a free hour of service for every two or three hours of paid service. Give them out to prospective clients and to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce to use in contests and give aways. Give the recipient an incentive to by your product or use your services by giving the coupon an expiration date.
8) Use the time you spend sitting in traffic to gain new clients. Magnetic signs are a good way to put advertising on your car on a budget.
9) Create a press release announcing the opening of your business or some other milestone event. Send the press release to editors at your local newspaper and to other free area publications.
10) Ask for referrals. Give your business card to your family members, neighbors, hair salon, etc. and ask that they pass them on. Offer an hour of free service or a free product to anyone who refers a client who signs a contract for services and give them a link on your web site.
(c) Davis Virtual Assistance
Bonnie Jo Davis is a Virtual Assistant working with small businesses to increase efficiency and profits. You can reach Bonnie at http://www.DavisVirtualAssistance.com or by calling (949) 709-2670.