As I mentioned in a previous post I took a month or so off from taking on any new projects after my mom’s stroke. During this time I worried a little that business might stall too much and that I would have difficulty picking it back up once I felt mentally able to get back into the swing of things again.
I know this sounds like a ridiculous concern-I mean, isn’t business always out there for a business owner?
The answer is yes-and no.
This is what I have found this first year of business: In order to make sales, you must become an effective marketer.
Actually, beyond this, I’d have to say you must constantly market your skills and your company to others.
It is not enough to sit back and wait for business to come knocking at your door. You need to get out there and make it happen.
Shy people have difficulty with this. Some do not want to seem as though they are using hard sales tactics to make a sale.
Yet it is important that you understand you are the only one who cares about your business as much as you do. Make sense? And in order to get new business, you have to constantly tell people why your company is so great and why people should shop or work with you rather than Company B. And remember, Company B may have a lot more money to spend on advertising, and if they have it, they will do it: So you need to get on the ball and try to out-advertise Company B.
I use a variety of methods for marketing my company and seeking for jobs. I attend networking opportunities such as NAWBO meetings or workshops and seminars in my local area. I am a frequent visitor to numerous online message boards, where people post questions and look for web designers or writers. I hand out business cards and I talk, talk talk about my business.
I believe this last part – talking – is key. When you meet new people, shake their hand and tell them what you do. You don’t have to make it a sales pitch. You don’t have to tell them what you do in order to get a sale. But you never know their needs, or the needs of their friends and family. You might be a freelance business writer talking to someone who needs a press release written about their company. You may be a cake designer talking to someone who will be getting married or throwing a birthday party in six months. Simply talking can get you a number of jobs that you may never knew existed.
When I sit down and think about how my time is spent, I would say that at least half of it is done marketing my company. While this may seem like a lot, I believe that many new business owners probably face the same thing. I’m guessing that once your name becomes more known and you have been working in the field for a while you don’t need to advertise yourself as much. Perhaps you have enough money to spend big dollars on high ticket ad campaigns, or perhaps word of mouth is enough. For now, though, and for all of you new business owners, it is important that you learn -and continue to-market yourself.