By Bruce Freeman The Small Business Professor
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of "Birthing the Elephant" and Eileen Bergman, a professional organizer, have some practical tips for entrepreneurs starting a home based business.
The Small Business Professor
Q: I am thinking about setting up a home-based business providing cleaning services to homeowners within a 20-mile radius of my ZIP code. I have the skills, contacts, drive and cash reserve needed to get me through an anticipated startup window of six months. How do I get started marketing my business?
A: First, let me congratulate you on your decision to start your home-based business. If you are starting out without any client base, you may want to schedule a launch party to announce your new endeavor to your friends, family and former business associates. You will be happily surprised at the amount of business you get just from sending invitations out to your database.
Be prepared: Starting up will be very challenging, and you will be working long days. Your first few months may be slow in bringing in income. You may have to offer some deals to get your foot in the door of homes in your target market. And speaking of your target market, make sure you know who you want to sell to and if they can afford your services.
Eileen Bergman, a professional organizer, has some practical tips:
-For your own sanity, put together a one-page marketing plan and refer to it weekly. Keep it simple, keep it clean and keep it fluid. It may change over time.
-Research your competition online and in local publications. Know who they are and study their websites. How do they present themselves and how do you want to model your online presence to stand out from the crowd?
-Research different networking groups in your area. Some examples: chamber of commerce, Business Introduction Group, Business Networking International, Toastmasters, et cetera. Spend the money and join these organizations for at least a year. Attend every meeting you can.
-Follow up with every person you meet. You can do so by email, phone, text or good, old-fashioned postage. Just keep getting your name out there with a positive message.
-Always be willing to meet new people. Strike up conversations at the doctor's office and the supermarket.
-Choose which social media you want to market your services on and do it well.
-Join the national organization that supports other professionals in your business. You may get some great ideas from other people.
-Stay strong, keep smiling and stay focused. And be sure to schedule down time for you. Go get a massage once a month. It will be like a mini vacation. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of "Birthing the Elephant" (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications.