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New Home Business Help

    • 48 posts
    May 12, 2008 7:12 AM EDT
    BRanson -
     
    if I understand what your overall goal is, you need to do 2 things:
    1) work like hell to grow your cusotmer base  (I`ll explain better in a minute)    AND
    2) manage your growth
     
    Let me make a quick point about #2 because it`s a shorter lesson. As you grow...or work to grow...you are going to take on more/larger expenses. The tempation will re-occur to buy newer/bigger/better things. You`ll be tempted to work outside of your budget. (You HAVE a budget, right?)
     
    So my point about #2 is to contain your expenses and gradulally-but-steadily increase sales.
     
    Let`s pop back ot #1. Doing more business.
     
    You have to get your name out there. This does not strictly mean `advertising` in the sense of ads in the newspaper and the Yellow Pages. On a broader scale, you need to get your name in front of people. Outside of the conventional methods (print ads, radio, etc) you could:
    1) join networking groups, like Le Tip or the Chamber of Commerce.
    2) offer discounts/bonuses to happy customers who provide you with referrals or return business
    3) comment on blogs who write baout topics you are educated on. While blogs can be National/Global, you can still get noticed locally by like-minded people in your area that read the same news articles.
     
    Since you offer a large sphere of services, you can also offer package deals to increase your AOV, or discounts to returning customers who have used 1 service and now need another.
     
    Great Customer Service is the best form of advertising, I have found. If you make a positive impression on people, they will do business with you again and they will give you referrals. And don`t by shy to ASK for referrals. I like to call back a customer 1 week after I have sold him something and ask how he likes his purchase. When they give me positive feedback, I ask if they know anyone ELSE who could benefit from my products. (likewise, when they have a concern about their purchase I address it right away!)
     
    And this takes you back to point #2.
    As you provide great customer service, and more and more people want to do business wiht you, do NOT take on an office that you cannot afford (or better worded, you are better in small office you CAN afford than a large one you hope to) or invest in high quality stationery you cannot afford if `regular grade` will do....or advetise in more expensive media without knowing what your return on investment will be...etc.
     
    This is a tough economy and customers have a lot of choices. Grow slow and smart.
    • 8 posts
    May 8, 2008 2:46 PM EDT
    Hi,
     
    I am 18 and I have been running a small home based business for about 6months just part time and I have been doing reasonably well! However I have decided to go full time now.
     
    I do computer repair, maintenance, web design, graphic design, print services  and photography for weddings etc / modelling / families etc.
     
    I would like help or some information on how to make myself achieve success on a bigger scale, to make more money, but I work from my bedroom in my parents house, could some people give me some tips and advice.
     
    Thanks to anyone who replies.
     
    Thanks
  • May 9, 2008 9:46 AM EDT
    I started a web and graphic design business about a year ago. It`s been very successful, and I attribute most of it to networking and word-of-mouth. If you do good work and give great customer service, people will start talking. I suggest getting out and meeting people, telling them what you do, and forming strategic referral relationships. For example, I`ve teamed up with a local IT company, and each time they do a sales presentation they include a pitch for my web design. If you think of what other businesses have the same target market that you do, you can set up mutual referrals. If there`s a BNI group near you, you may want to get involved in it. In my experience, referrals are the way to go.

    Also, I`ve found that people take me more seriously now that I have an office downtown, rather than working out of my home (which I did for the first 8 months). You may want to consider getting an office, even one in an office center of some sort. When I first started my company, I heard the advice--"look as big as you want to be." It`s very true. If you look big, people will think you`re big and they`ll want your services.

    Best of luck!

    Laura MacPherson
    Northstar Creative
    www.northstarcreative.net