I’ve consulted with many owners of small businesses who have had little or no financing to grow their business. As a result, I’ve had to come up with ways and methods of getting exposure for them at little cost.
Here are some low cost things I had them do…
Do seminars, symposiums, workshops, give talks, sponsor clinics, provide in-store or in-office demonstrations, even hold open houses or receptions.
All of these functions were designed to bring prospective clients or customers together and to build a relationship to do business.
Whenever you do any events like these, you should put together a press release for the local media. So, create a file of all the key people at the local newspaper, radio, or TV station that you can send press releases to.
Many service specialties lend themselves to in-office or in-store clinics.
SERVICE SPECIALTY IDEAS…
A landscape architect would find an eager audience for a workshop on easy-care plantings, especially if it were offered to recent home buyers in a new subdivision.
A financial planner or accounting firm might sponsor a Personal Finance Fair, a consumer show providing pertinent seminars, speakers, and attractions.
A real estate salesperson might do the same.
A suitcase retailer could give a demonstration on how to efficiently pack a suitcase.
A travel agent could give a workshop or webinar on how to choose the right cabin for the type of cruise you are planning.
Any company can sponsor a free public seminar to generate exposure and patronage.
Here are some more…
Chiropractors can put together a program about the spine, veterinarians a short presentation on how to keep your dog or cat healthy, a child-care facility might sponsor a nursery school art show, and so on.
The possibilities abound for individuals using imagination to discover topics of general interest that also correlate with their business.
Any of these activities can often be held right in your place of business. If that isn’t practical, consider renting a local hotel banquet room or a private dining room in your favorite restaurant. Other possible options are schools, community centers, banks/savings and loan companies, or even the conference room of a business associate.
Of course, you can also do some of these activities via teleseminars and webinars, depending on your audience.
Conventional wisdom says that business and pleasure doesn’t mix. I disagree, so let’s explore my reasoning.
Corporate entertaining can help differentiate your company from its competitors. Parties give you a chance to talk with prospective clients as well as thank current customers.
Many executives and salespeople recognize this form of hospitality can save them countless hours of individual breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Mass entertaining allows you to reach many people at once. It really is cheaper than one-on-one entertaining, and I feel much more effective from a time viewpoint.
And, when employees are included, business socializing often enhances the company in the employee’s eyes, forging a deeper bond of loyalty.
Whatever kind of gala function you have in mind, planning is fundamental to having a successful get together. So let’s go over a few items relating to that.
PLANNING YOUR FUNCTION…
First, consider timing. It’s wise not to conflict with other events that are occurring at the same time. Also avoid religious holidays.
Compile a guest list with input from key staff members. The guest list should include current customers but also prime prospects you would like as customers.
How about including major suppliers, such as your attorney, accountant, banker, or even your landlord? Perhaps you should also include local government officials or area association executives.
Invite more than you hope will attend, as not everyone can or will come.
Here’s a very important item. It is more personal if invitations are hand-addressed and a regular stamp is put on the envelope.
Have you ever thought of turning your office into an art gallery? Many local artists and artists’ organizations will welcome a chance to hang their work on consignment. You can then have a “showing” complete with refreshments and a small printed catalog.
Some firms find that this is such a good policy that they schedule event-driven marketing activities about every three months. In the summer, it might be attending a sports activity or picnic. Because selling has to do with relationships, many find it makes sense to socialize with prospects.
But, regardless of the type of event, you must always make sure that a press release is created and that you send it out to the local media. This is free publicity that will enhance your company over the years in the eyes of prospective customers.
To your success,
(Ken Varga supports The Business Online Directory by coaching and mentoring The Platinum Members. He is the author of “How To Get Customers To Call, Buy & Beg For More”. He has built 35 companies and generated over 6 million customers. Visit www.kenvarga.com to get his free Marketing Tip newsletter and
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