This topic can be the most stressful part of opening and operating a small business. Particularly for a service oriented business.
You simply cannot sit and wait for customers to find you. Be pro-active and go out and get them !
Consider joining and participating in a business or social organization in your community. But simply joining is not enough, you have to be active and make connections with other members. It is these personal connections and relationships that will pay off with new customers and referrals. At the same time, you will be giving back to your community!
Friends and Family
Enough cannot be said about the importance of the support new businesses reap from friends and family. Yes, they are often the first paying customers and clients a business will see. But it is the support they provide in spreading the word and helping to create a personality for your business. Be sure to help them in helping you. Give them a few business cards that they can hand out, tell them how much you appreciate their help, host a special “Friends & Family Only” celebration opening. They will always be your strongest supporters.
On Line Advertising
New businesses do not always have significant dollars to advertise, but there are many ways to get the word out for a reasonable cost. Not advertising is not an option.
In this day and age being on-line is a no brainer. Applications such as facebook, instagram and even a basic website can be done with little to no cash outlay. They will however, cost you in time. But it will be time well spent. Choose the platforms that your target customers are using. Choose a couple of platforms and do them well and consistently. If you choose too many, you will have to limit your time to such a degree that none will be well done and ultimately your business personality and brand will not be promoted well.
Almost every business needs a website. Many people use their smart phones and tablets to look up contact information, addresses and even shop before physically going to purchase the product, so be sure that you choose one that will also be mobile friendly.
Don’t forget that even though you are using online methods to advertise you still require traditional advertising as well. Depending on your target market, newspaper or radio may still be very beneficial for your business. Having a well rounded advertising and marketing plan is imperative to being successful.
Advertising must be a continual activity for any business owner. Once you stop advertising, you will start losing ground to your competitors and lost ground is difficult to regain. Sit down, set up a plan, and then follow it – you’ll be glad you did!