Home Business on a Budget
Copyright © Stone
Evans, The Home Biz Guy
When you are starting out in
a new home business and no one knows who you are, one of the
greatest challenges you will face is how to drum up new business.
If there were not people in
your community or marketplace that you knew who needed your
products or services, you probably would not have started
your business to begin with. But, once you have talked to
those who you personally knew who needed your what you offer,
then your next task is to find others who will help keep your
Many people know that they must
turn to advertising at some point in the future, but they
hope that day will be long down the road. For some, this utopian
concept will come to fruition. But for the rest of us in the
real world, we must come up with creative solutions for meeting
our home business advertising needs while working within our
Most people have a misconception
about having to spend lots of money in order to advertise
their home business. When you start out, you honestly will
not have much money available for advertising, and if you
do, you should still spend it wisely.
Before you jump headfirst into
the world of advertising, let me share some of the lessons
I have learned concerning this most important topic.
It does not have to cost an
arm and a leg to advertise your home business, unless you
fail to plan and fail to test.
As much as is possible, you
should always test your advertising. If you jump in and start
dumping tons of money in to advertising without first testing
your advertising, you might find yourself broke and without
sales at the end of the road. Most people who commit this
error write off their failure on the home business they chose
or the economy or any of a hundred other excuses. But, if
they are unwilling to take responsibility for their mistake,
they will never learn from their mistake. Don't let this be
All testing should be done in
blocks. If you begin to advertise simultaneously in newspapers,
radio and television, how will you know which advertising
is bringing people to your cash register? You won't. All you
will know that something might be working, but you will not
know what is actually doing the trick.
Even if you tell people in your
advertising to tell you how they found you, my experience
shows that fewer than 10% of the people ever will tell you
anything --- and those people who do may not even get the
facts straight! You cannot rely on your customers to tell
you what advertising is working for your home business. You
must put in the extra effort to know for yourself.
Only when you have a proven
and solid advertising portfolio should you venture to drop
big bucks in an advertising campaign. Even then, you should
be careful to keep further measurements to determine how much
the maximum advantage of an ad would be. Sometimes you might
be able to reach ten times as many people, but depending on
the kind of media and other factors, the additional exposure
will only generate twice as many sales. Keep your eye attuned
to situations like this to get the most from your advertising
As Lesson #3 illustrates, sometimes
your best advertising investment may actually cost you less
money. When you are first starting out, whether you are running
a home business or a business outside of your home, you need
to be able to get people talking and thinking about your business.
If you are busy testing ads
in media's such as the newspaper, magazines, radio, and television,
you need to learn ways of promoting your business that do
not require large cash expenditures. A few examples are:
· Word of Mouth
· Business Cards
· Press Releases
· Non-Primetime Ads on Radio and Television
Here is more information about
each type of low-cost advertising:
WORD OF MOUTH
This of course is the cheapest
kind of advertising on the planet --- it does not cost you
anything. Ask your customers if they know anyone who could
also use your products or services. When they are happy with
your offerings and service, they will be willing to tell you
whom you can contact, and they will pass the word for you.
You can usually pick up 500
business cards for about $20. When you do, hand them out.
Do not give more than a couple of cards to each person. If
they need more cards from you, they will ask.
Some people are known to network
with others on a regular basis. Some of these people are also
known to be always looking for an extra few bucks. With these
people, you can suggest to them that if they write their name
on the back of one of your business cards and the card is
presented to you, then you will pay a referral fee to them.
You do not have to offer much --- sometimes one dollar is
enough. Look at your home business and your offerings and
decide how much would be a good referral fee.
Press Releases are a good source
for generating news about your home business. The business
editor at your local newspaper is always on the lookout for
a good business story to fill the business news section of
Of course, the business editor
understands the economics of running a paper and is more inclined
to run your story if you buy advertising in his/her publication,
but will still print stories for special events and openings.
The important thing to remember
about Press Releases is that it must be constructed in the
form of a news story. Even if you are a sole proprietorship,
quotes from you should be written in a third person format:
John Doe said, "Your quote here."
A Press Release should pack
the most important information at the beginning of the copy,
and leave extra details towards the end.
You should always provide the
reporter who gets the task a simple and easy way for him/her
to contact you directly. Often the reporter will want to contact
you to get details that will enhance their take on your story.
To learn more about creating
Press Releases, you may check out Rusty Cawley's site: http://www.PRrainmaker.com/
NON-PRIMETIME ADS ON RADIO
Believe it or not, some of the
best rates for radio and television are on the overnight and
non-primetime venues. These target times are not a total waste
as they can easily keep the infomercial people in business.
These off-hours are just less
populated than the primetime hours.
Don't be afraid to check your
local radio and television rates for non-primetime hours to
see what bargains may exist. With television, primetime is
7pm to 10pm. With radio, primetime is 8am to 5pm. This sure
leaves a whole lot of hours available to advertise your home
business at discount rates!
When it comes down to it, there
is a lot to understand about advertising, but when you have
the basic knowledge down pat, everything will fall into place
and bring more dollars to your bank account.
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Reprinted with permission from
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