With Small Business Week only a few weeks away, I thought it might be a good time to offer my readers some tips for improving their small business profits in 30 days. It´s Spring cleaning for your business if you will. You’ve probably read a few of these tips in previous columns but trust me there are some definite new ideas to consider. Here´s the point. If you get one or two useful ideas that help improve your firm´s profit, that´s the point. Not every tip will be applicable to your firm. Choose those that fit your specific needs. However as always I ask that you keep an open mind and think outside of the box. So I challenge you with a task. For the next 30 days, try at least 3 of the tips listed. All of the tips are cost effective and practical (you won’t spend more than $500 if that). After which write in and tell me how or if they worked. No one ever became successful by running a stagnated business"?¦.
1. Send out 2-500 Direct mail pieces
With Small Business week quickly approaching it´s a great reminder to begin generating new accounts. One way to do that is by getting written information in the hands of your target audience. Make sure that your list of prospects is current (see tip 2). The direct mail approach is still one of the best ways to reach new prospects. You can do something as simple as a flyer or as complex as a corporate identity piece. Once again I suggest going to www.vistaprint.com for your materials. They offer everything from postcards to business cards to web site creations, all for a nominal cost. By sending out 2-500 pieces you’ll usually get about a 1% return by not calling afterwards but a higher percentage by following up on each and every one you send.
2. Warm/Cold Calling
Follow up on those dm pieces that you’ve sent with a phone call. It´s amazing how many people send out direct mail but never follow up on them. It’s also surprising the number of business owners who think sending literature is a waste of time. To me sending literature is only as effective as the energy and willingness to follow up on it. You always want to make sure of three things when you do follow up. 1. Make sure the prospect has actually received the piece. 2. Make sure the prospect has read the piece. 3. Make sure you ask what the prospect thought of the info and services. It makes no sense to address envelopes, buy stamps and send pieces if you’re not going to determine that the prospect has even read your information. And while you’re at it, go through your database to mine it for prospects you haven’t contacted in a while. Be sure to always verify contact info before sending literature. It´s a great time to update your database also.
3. Call your local Mayor´s office to see when/if they will be celebrating Small Business Week
This is a great way to network with other small business owners on a larger scale. Because most cities celebrate Small Business Week chances are your local Mayor´s office has a Small Business Commission. The city may have an SBA sponsored series of events that you can take advantage of and most of them are free or very low cost. This is a great way to not only network on a large scale but also throughout the week. Don’t forget to bring lots of business cards etc. Also find out if you can showcase your company by buying a booth at any of the events.
Next column: Part two-more tips
Tony Wilkins is the author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms´ available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at email@example.com or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column, please contact Tony Wilkins at firstname.lastname@example.org