Small Business Advice: 30+ Ways to improve the profits of your Small Business"?¦. Now!!(Okay 30 days) Part Three
10. Contact your local Small Business Administration/Library about consulting or teaching classes.
Okay, I´ve mentioned the SBA a few times in previous columns and it´s still worth repeating. While the Small Business Administration will not pay you for your services it is still an excellent way to get your firm´s name in front of a targeted audience and add to your database. After all, these people have come specifically to hear your views and gather info on your area of expertise. Once you´ve gathered contact information be sure to follow up with a thank you e-mail and basic info on your services. Be sure to follow up that e-mail with a phone call to make sure they´ve received and read the e-mail. Some e-mails are never read because they wind up in Spam. I must caution you however. While the SBA encourages the private sector to create workshops that educate new business owners, they can not endorse any one company and frown on too much self promotion.
A relatively new function of your local library comes in the form of Small Business Workshops. Be sure to ask for the person booking the business workshops for the library. Here´s the great news. Most have a budget to pay their instructors and pay can range from $25-150.00 per hour.
11. Contact your local business newspaper or magazine about offering your prospects discount coupons
Because I promote the San Francisco Business Times and Crain´s Chicago Business at my workshops, I´ve managed to build a wonderful partnership with both publications. Offering coupons serves several functions.
A. It adds value to your product/service
B. It keeps you firms services/products in the fore front of a prospect´s mind
C. The publication will often give you a certain percentage off your subscription making it virtually free (SF Business Times deducts several weeks of my weekly newspaper subscription for every coupon they receive with my name on it. So far the publication has cost me nothing this year.)
D. It´s a great way direct mail stuffer and makes it more difficult for a prospect to toss your information.
12. Post on www.Craigslist.org and other free on line postings
Check on www.craigslist.com for prospects looking for services. While most of us use Craigslist to post a free ad, many of us forget to mine the ads listed for prospects looking for your services. This makes these leads warm instead of cold. And yes, while many of the postings request not be contacted by companies, many of them don´t mind at all. Why? Think about it. If you´re looking for a telemarketer and have posted an ad for over a month without much luck and you receive info on an affordable alternative, would you toss the info? I thought so. I´ve heard from many people that they post and never get a response but here´s why. Consistency has to play a role in generating business. You can´t post a few times and expect to generate tons of leads. You have to post on a regular(weekly) basis to get results.
13. Search job postings like www.monster.com for leads
Leads come from many different sources and while many companies that post are looking for employees, it doesn´t hurt to send information on your services as well. Decision makers have become more flexible when it comes to finding the right person to handle projects. And while they may want to keep everything in-house or hire an employee sometimes it´s just not feasible or practical. In which case hiring an outside contractor makes more sense.
14. Contact prospects outside of your geographical area
I gotta admit. This tip has become more and more important to my companies well being over the last few years. As small business owners we´re not taught to think in terms of international or multi-geographical sales. Often we´re aware of the potential only after we figure out that people outside of our city or state is willing to pay for our services. This became apparent recently when the economy was still in the toilet and very few firms in California were making money (many went out of business.) Which is why tele-seminars work so well for my firm. Lots of profits with none of the travel expense. It also allows me the chance to market my services globally and expand my market.
15. Contact www.comcast.com 415-863-8500 to lease air time for a commercial about your event/company
This tip can get a bit pricey but trust me it does work. If you´ve ever thought of advertising and have Comcast Cable in your area, it´s worth the expense to do a series of 30 second spots on television. The great thing is that Comcast has a Small Business Division which means that advertising rates are lower (they can range from a few hundred to a few thousand.) and spots on the Food Network are more affordable. If you don´t have Comcast in your area check your local cable company to see if they offer advertising for small businesses.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column, please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com