Did you make a New Years’ resolution to ramp up your small business? Did you make that resolution before your credit card bills came in? Here are a few things you can do right now and for little or no money to get your itty bitty business out there for the world to see.
1.) Get out of your house. Go out and find another person. An actual one, with a face that you can see and not just a screen name. Meet them. Speak with them. Get to know them.
It’s so easy to get so caught up in life online, between Facebook
and blogs and forums and message boards and who knows what else. It’s imperative that we remember, though, that there is a huge world that exists outside of the internet. Real people have real dollars. Don’t ignore them.
2.) Get out of your virtual house.
I write a marketing blog
for freelancers and owners of very small businesses. I read a lot of other blogs, and up until recently I was pretty confident I had my finger on the pulse of the small business blogosphere.
Then someone new came. They commented. I went to their blog. I looked around. Lo and behold, they had friends that I (gasp) didn’t already know. Who knew? One blogroll led to another and I made a chilling discovery: I did not, in fact, know everybody on the internet.
Do not let this happen to you. Do not get complacent. Do not get so busy chatting with people you already know that you’re not there meeting people who could potentially put your kids through college.
3.) Be a joiner. One of the ugliest parts about living in North America is that everyone you meet, from your bus driver to your temporary bowling partner, asks you what you do for a living within the first 133 seconds of meeting you. It’s a disgusting habit we have, but until it changes, you may as well use it to your advantage.
Join something. Stand near people. Wait. They’ll ask the immortal question. If they don’t, ask them. Then they’ll ask you back. Tell them. Give them your elevator speech. Repeat with other people. Bask in your success.
4.) Go on a campaign. Somewhere in your house lives a massive stack of business cards. (If this is not true in your case, you obviously didn’t pay attention to Start-Up Rule Number 71 -- Order More Business Cards Than You Can Possibly Hand Out In Your Lifetime.) Take this stack of cards somewhere -- where isn’t overly relevant. Bookstores, coffee shops, bathrooms, courthouses, whatever.
Then leave them there. Not in a big pile, but strategically. Leave them on tables. Leave them on chairs. One in each book in a pertinent section seems to be a popular choice. Leave them in magazines in doctors’ offices. Doesn’t matter – just get them out there.
Sometimes this doesn’t work, but sometimes it does. Keep in mind that six-figure TV ad campaigns sometimes don’t work either. You have nothing to lose and if you gain even one more client, that’s more than you had before.