The fourth article in our five-part series, “5 Key Steps of Home-Based Businesses: Moving from Start-up to Mainstream” is “Growing with Magic Beans.” This step keeps the doors opened, so to speak, and the cash flowing. The “magic beans” required to grow your business through increased sales are marketing, networking and building a customer base.
The third part in our five-step series on home-based businesses, Keep on Tracking, focuses on the importance of staying on top of competition, products, services, operations, and record keeping. This is where entrepreneurs really need to take a step back and view their business with an objective eye (from customers’, accountant’s, and business advisors’ points of view). In essence, this is an analysis step.
In order to compete effectively with competitors who may look better, provide more services, have a bigger marketing budget, etc., every detail should be examined in the home-based business, from image to quality of services. Things like branding, packaging or presentation, availability of product or service; and in general, good customer service (returning calls, following up, making good for any dissatisfaction, putting the customer first, etc.) should be worked out long before opening for business.
Starting a business is often like “feast or famine”. On one hand, there is the entrepreneur who has over-researched, planned, tested, borrowed, and sought out people “in the know” before making the big leap; on the other hand, there is the small business want-to-be who has done nothing but is ready to plunge just the same.
In response to the severe credit meltdown and ensuing economic repercussions that have been felt across all sectors around the globe, many businesses – from large corporations to small companies – are dialing back their marketing budgets as part of their cost-cutting measures. As companies search for ways to spend their limited marketing resources more efficiently, more and more businesses are shifting their focus from traditional mass media spending to online media. Despite the weak economy, studies continue to show evidence of growth in the internet marketing industry. In uncertain times, one thing is certain: smart companies are relying more on inbound marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), and social media to save money and create revenues.
Across the country, traditional media (newspapers, magazines, television and radio) have cut resources to save money. Today’s reporters begin research online and you can help them by providing information they can access 24/7 on your website. In this article, Mary Ellen Merrigan shows you five sectors where you can start getting the word out about your business for free.
Whether you’re looking for a job or looking for new clients, having a presence on LinkedIn means that people who are looking for someone with your experience will be able to find you. Knowing how to leverage LinkedIn to its full extent can help you connect with people who can make an introduction that might eventually lead to work. The key, of course, is knowing how to make the right connections.
It was certainly the case nearly 50 years ago with the unintended creation of the business incubation industry. The international business incubation movement began in New York with a businessman, an empty building and an idea of mentoring young companies through their early years – the most vulnerable period of their lives. That idea has grown worldwide to over 6,000 incubators, 1400+ of which are located in the United States.