Friends: Your first stop for picking up any business should always be friends and colleagues. Remember these are the people who helped you get to where you are today–and more often than not, you’ll find them willing and eager to help. Always keep them posted of changes in stock, new promotions and special events where they can show you support.
Family: Of course your family has to help, right? Well, not necessarily–but if you ask them nicely and make sure there’s something in it for them, you’ll be amazed how many volunteers you have the next time some grunt work needs doing. Your family is the first rung in your extended network, so make sure you keep them posted of any upcoming specials or promotions.
Trade Shows: No matter what your business, there’s a trade show out there for you. These are usually weekend affairs that attract interested buyers from far and wide to browse over what venders have to offer. The registration fee will vary from one show to the next, but for that cost you get a dedicated space in which to display products and information.
Television Ads: Of course if you have the money, advertising is the easiest and most effective way to sell your business. Television ads will work if you’re in a large market with one or more local television stations. Remember to choose your time wisely: prime time commercial slots will always cost more, but make sure before you spend the extra money that that’s the right demographic for you and your business.
Radio Ads: Slightly less expensive than television, radio ads can often be just as effective. Again, the key here is making the most out of the money you spend. Research stations in your area and don’t choose based on price alone. Like TV, you’ll want to make sure your radio ads are getting to the people you want as customers.
Print Ads: If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but want to saturate the market with your business’ name, print ads are going to be your best bet. Spending advertising money is tricky–you want to make sure your investment pays off in more store traffic and new customers–but print ads tend to be a safe bet.
Cross-Marketing: Along the road to success you meet a lot of people, many of them small business owners just like you trying to meet a niche need and make ends meet. You can both be more successful when you join forces and take advantage of each other’s customer base: see what kind of cross-promotions you can come up with.
Targeted Marketing: Take the time to really understand just who would be interested in your business. From there you can decide just how to reach those people. For instance, if your business appeals to home owners, you should try passing out flyers in a new subdivision.
Internet: Don’t be afraid of the internet! An up-to-date website with email and other contact information is absolutely essential in today’s market. If you’re no wiz on the computer, ask around–you’re sure to find a friend, family member or colleague who knows their way around HTML.
Donations and Sponsorships: It costs money to make money, right? But if you spend it wisely, you can make a name for yourself and your business that customers will know and trust. Be creative when you choose the kinds of events or promotions you could sponsor and you’re sure to see a return on your investment.