You have just started your home-based business. Your excitement is almost palpable. What’s next?
In order to have a successful business instead of a non-profit hobby from the discomfort of your home, you must have three essentials: a positive mindset, persistence and effective marketing.
Decide right now that you will focus on your reason for starting the business, your “why.” Create a mindset that focuses on all positives. You will receive more of whatever you give in terms of your time, energy and focus. Focus on your success. Focus on “How can I?”
Failure is not an option. Be determined to be persistent and consistent for as long as it takes. Create a workable schedule for yourself and be accountable for maintaining that schedule. The responsibility for your success is yours, not your sponsor or the company.
With those two elements firmly in place, it is time to start marketing. I hear your bank account protesting, “But almost all of the money was spent to purchase the business.” Welcome to marketing on a budget.
Marketing Requires Time and/or Money
Both money and time may be issues, especially if you are still working your day job while the new business is in its infancy.
Assess your skills, time available and monthly budget. Create a marketing plan, one that you are committed to following.
What are your strengths? Do you enjoy speaking with people face-to-face, posting on social networking sites or conversing on the telephone? You will always be more productive working in your area of strength.
If you have more time than money, jump into social media with a passion. Learn Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Select a user name that can be used consistently on all of your social media sites.
When I first started social media, a friend set up the accounts for me and used a different login name for each one. Neither one of us knew better at the time, so she used whatever was available on each site. Words to the wise—that was a big mistake. Use the same login name for all sites. Plan to post value-laden content, not a sales pitch, at least four times per week, per site. Every tenth post per site can be self-serving sales. The goal is to attract people to you and to your valuable content. Attract and retain followers. (Hint: You will create better results and have less gray hairs by mastering one site before moving on to another one, rather than attempting to learn four new sites at once. You can set up all four at the first, but master them one-by-one.)
Keep a tape recorder in your car or use the voice recorder on your smart phone; it is not smart to write or text and drive. Record ideas for tweets and posts. Keep a notepad on your nightstand. Keep a notebook (electronic or paper) with your ideas and a record of the dates you posted or “tweeted” various content.
Use the camera on your phone to record exceptional scenes that you think would be of interest to your followers. Collect quotations to post. Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, Success magazine, and Zig Ziglar are only a few excellent sources for quotes.
Read publications like Inc., Entrepreneur, Success magazine and Success book summaries. Highlight significant passages to share.
Attend networking groups such as Chamber of Commerce events, lead groups, meet-up groups and community gatherings. Come prepared with an ample supply of high-quality business cards and postcards with helpful information that your new acquaintances will retain for future reference. Flyers or postcards with helpful information will set you above others who are strictly selling. It will also increase the retention rate of your name and materials.
Time and Money
Purchase leads or a mailing list. When I started my property management company, I obtained mailing lists from the Chamber of Commerce (inquiries from individuals moving to the resort or vacationing), the County Assessor’s office and realtors. Why realtors? It was easier for the agent to sell a second home if the purchaser could be assured of top-quality management during their absence. Look at your industry and see where you have a match in interests.
In the case of new residents to the area, providing a list of resources such as dentists, doctors, florists, electricians, utilities, window washing, handyman services and lawn care proves valuable. Print the list and include your contact information; they will keep the list and therefore keep you top-of-mind.
Use the list again to mail a series of postcard campaigns. Include a special bonus for opting in to your website, joining your mailing list, texting you, or contacting you by email or telephone.
Where is the time factor? Follow up on every inquiry.
Set up a coffee date to learn more about what your potential customers need and how you can assist them the most. Don’t forget to leave them with your business card. (High quality business cards speak impressively about you and your business. My preference is high gloss on the front and aqueous matte finish on the back to allow for notes.)
Stickers are inexpensive, fun and colorful. They add a unique splash to marketing media.
Create a workable marketing plan that matches your skills, time available and your budget. Start it immediately, and follow through with every lead. Just like the shampoo bottle says, “Review and repeat.” As your budget increases, more options can be added.
Elaine Love writes for PrintPlace.com, Small Business Examiner and Elaine4Success.com. Her areas of expertise include small business, marketing, mindset for business and speaking coaching. Elaine’s credentials include a Masters Degrees in Communication, 35 years of entrepreneurial awards, including “International Innovator of the Year” and World Class Speaking Coach. She is also the author of three books. Contact Elaine on Google+ at +Elaine.