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damion's Avatar damion damion is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Bradford, West Yorkshire
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Hello guys,

Designers of this forum and any other people that would like to share there experiences in business. Could you please tell me how you and your business survive, and if you come to a stop, how do you get more work in?

And another thing, if you have this great business idea, how do you promote it or even start up, if you don't have any funds to put in it?

Any advice would be great.

Cheers,

Damion.
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SPD SPD is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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I'm sure alot more people on this forum will have better suggestions however one of things I do when I am "quiet" is rather than send out sales letters to random companies, I try and forge partnerships with non-competing companies to refer business to us and vice versa.

I usually send an email and/or letter and follow up with a call. Usually they get back to you within 2-3 days if they are interested.

Gaining business via a business referal proves to be alot more reliable in my opinion. However, you have to actively look at sending alot back. Thats why its best to keep your list of partnerships to something you can manage.

If you make it a non-commital agreement which is based on mutual understanding then you will get far together. Also I believe its best to atleast talk once on the phone as it gives the partnership a virtual handshake so to speak.
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freeform freeform is offline
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Networking is always a top answer but - unless you do already - try spreading yourself around a bit on different forums, breakfast meetings etc... so you get to meet some new faces.

Whenever we're slow I do a lot of MBWA (marketing by walking around) - just introducing myself to other businesses in my area. Not sales, just a chat about my business, about theirs and leave a few business cards.

You might also think about going back to your existing customers and giving them a ring to see how business is going ... again just general chit chat but it can sometimes develop into a job and it keeps you in their minds and develops a good personal realtionship as well.

On the same point you could do a promo or special offer for past clients or even offer some sort of referral incentive to them.
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damion's Avatar damion damion is offline
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Thanks for your comments so far
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stevegibson stevegibson is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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You should be constantly marketing, particularly when you're starting out.

One mistake a lot of young businesses make is that they get a lot of work in (through the marketing they've been doing) and then stop marketing because they're busy.

Then, when their current work ends, they find they've got no new work to do.

So, you should be doing things every week to fill the pipeline so there's work always coming in.

However, if you've found yourself in a position where you're at a loose end with no work to do, you should "shake the tree".

This means picking up the phone and telemarketing, it means physically going out to find prospects, re-connecting with past clients, making special offers.

Anything you can do with your idle time to generate business quickly.

Textstart gave you some good examples of things you can do to "shake the tree".

But, to make sure this isn't a recurring problem, you need to make sure you are constantly marketing.

Hope this helps

Steve
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eimanshalash eimanshalash is offline
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This is a good question and one I think about all the time.

In the education industry there are at least 4 months of quiet times during the year. They are Christmas, Easter, Summer and half terms in between.

So what I do is create projects to keep me busy through those quiet periods.

For example; in April 2006 every secondary state school in England received a mailshot from me consisting of a complementary card game. This was an expensive marketing campaign paid for by my funders (it wouldn't have been achieved without my funder). During March I realised that I couldn't rely solely on this marketing campaign to be successful i.e. there is always a risk with new products, you don't know if they will be accepted by the industry. So I didnt' want to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak.

I needed to continue marketing to schools at least twice a year delivering one free card game per school. So as I am creating more products for schools I need to continue building my project to ensure that the business name begins to be recognised and that I am busy with another income stream. So I began another project which did not rely on the term time dates but still allowed me to produce a product for schools. So they would still get a free card game.

You have to look at generating a number of income streams e.g. it could be by mail order (in my case schools) and website (in my case teachers can buy individually online) plus other ways (the project I did was to get sponsorship from major orgs - I have worked on this from March). Each income stream requires its own structure and method.

Organising, needless to say, each method is vital for the success of each project. Use an online calendar like Outlook to give you regular reminders what to do what when.

The vital part of marketing is imagination. Try entering a lot of competitions too and get your business exposed in the media as much as possible. The Arts Institute in Bournemouth have awarded my business plan a merit award and the opportunity to win through presenting my business to an audience. This is not only exciting but a great opportunity to develop my presentation skills.

I'm glad for the network and community in business forums because they help as well as provide support for each other. So it's important to give back to the community as well. This also improves your reputation as well as more exposure for your business.

Other ways to increase business exposure is to set a competition in your local area and write a press release about it. Or give a free service to a local school or charity and send out another press release for this. As someone said in another forum try to utilise all the free methods to the full and take advantage of it all.
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