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How to Start a Business

by Mark Sarsuelo

The world of online marketing is highly competitive and volatile.
Things change so rapidly that your efforts can be rendered useless
practically overnight, leaving you to start over from scratch.
That is – if you manage to become profitable in the first place. In
such a competitive arena, most people do not.
However, there is one way to make money with your online
knowledge without having to compete with all of the millions of
people who are trying to scratch out a living just like you.
Local businesses are suffering in this bad economy. Even
when the economy improves, they’ll need help getting more
business at a reasonable price.
Yellow Pages advertising is becoming more and more ineffective,
and the prices have skyrocketed. It’s becoming harder than ever
before for local businesses to compete, especially when they’re
competing with online companies for business.

You can help those businesses survive and thrive while making
money in the process. You can use the skills you’ve learned for
promoting online businesses to help offline companies and get paid
upfront for the work!

Finding Clients :

The first thing you need to do is find clients. This is a lot easier than
it sounds, and there are several ways to do it. You don’t even have
to use cold calling if you don’t want to.
You’ll probably want to set up a website for your business so you
can send potential clients to it for more information. Your URL will
be on any printed material such as flyers, brochures, and business
cards.
Your website should include the following information:
• Examples of sites you’ve built
• A page about the type of marketing you can do
• A contact form so people can get in touch for a quote or to
request your services Once your website is set up, you’ll probably want to get some
printed materials done. This can be anything from business cards
and flyers (which are relatively cheap) to full-color brochures. If you
can’t afford any printed material, don’t worry. It’s not

necessary, but it will help a lot.

Walk-In :

Once you have a website set up and you’re ready to take clients, it’s
time to start finding them. The best way to find clients is by walking
into businesses during slow periods and asking to speak to the
owner or manager. Ideally, you want the owner. Sometimes
managers don’t have the authority to purchase advertising.
The slow period for restaurants is usually 2 PM until 4 PM. This is
the best time to walk in for most restaurants. Other businesses may
have different slow periods, but generally, this is a time when people
are at work and most companies don’t have as much foot traffic.
If you visit and the owner or manager isn’t available, leave a
brochure or business card. This is one reason you should ideally
have printed material. You can make a note to come back to this
business in a few days if you don’t get a call from the owner.

Cold Calling :

Cold calling isn’t ideal, but if you have no way to get to local
businesses, it can work. Simply look through your local Yellow Pages
for businesses that either don’t have a website or have one that
isn’t ranking well. Give them a call and let them know you want to
help them get more business.
If possible, set up an appointment to com toe visit with the owner or
manager in person. Meet them at their place of business, if possible.
It’s polite to save them time by meeting them on their turf.

Brochures, Flyers, Letters :

It is less effective to send printed material to a company than it is to
speak to them in person, however,r it can still be effective if you
reach a large number of companies.
It’s a good idea to print at least 500 pieces, whether you use
brochures, flyers, or letters:Postage will also cost a fair amount, so
be sure to take that into consideration. Choose businesses that are
more likely to need your services, and don’t just send material out
to every company you can find.

Business Cards :

Business cards are a very important tool for this type of business.
You’ll want to have a business card on hand with your name, phone
number, URL, and a very brief message about what you do every
the time you meet a business owner.
Local marketing consultants have met business owners in
unbelievable places. Some have met clients in the waiting room at
the doctor. Others have made huge deals while walking their dog.
You never know when you could meet your next client, so it pays to
be prepared!

Chamber of Commerce Meetings :

Most areas have a Chamber of Commerce or other similar business
organization. You’ll want to go to every meeting you can possibly
make it to. These meetings are full of business owners looking for
ways to increase their business. Networking for business purposes is
the major reason people attend these meetings.
Don’t forget to take a large stack of business cards with you. If
possible, take a laptop computer with mobile internet access. This will allow you to show potential clients some samples of your work
on the spot.
Make sure you don’t go for a hard sell at these meetings. Ask
people what they do and listen to them when they talk about their
businesses. Wait until they ask about you before you give them your
card. Keep things casual. This will boost your credibility.

Craigslist :

Craigslist is a great place to find clients. Just post an ad in your local
area. Don’t forget to pay attention to ads placed by others, because
sometimes businesses post that they are looking for a website
designer or a marketing consultant.
If there is no Craigslist for your area, you could post in a large
metropolitan area and seek work via the internet, however, it’s much
more effective if you can visit the businesses in person. It’s easier to
sell a company on your skills when you’re face to face with the
owner.
You can also try placing an ad in your local newspaper. If your local
paper is read by a lot of business owners, this could work.

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