Business on Toast
When starting your own business you seem to get bombarded with companies cold calling you to advertise on Website’s, in directories, on TV screens and such like because they know that one of the most important things is getting clients or customers to buy your products or services.
So where do you start? In most new businesses you can’t afford to throw money at every marketing opportunity but how do you know what will work for your business because what works for one industry may not work for another.
My approach has been one of using a variety of methods to market my business and trying to be cost effective, but to also ‘try before you buy’ when ever possible to see if something is right for you.
I think the first thing to get right is ‘the look and feel’ of your business – make sure you give the right message out from day one. I was lucky in the respect that a friend of mine is a fantastic freelance graphic designer so he designed my logo – I am quite difficult to please but we got there!
Business cards ready I decided to go to a few ‘networking’ events to get my business name recognised and to meet others I thought would want my services. My first meeting was ran by a firm of local solicitors and cost £20 but the food was amazing! The meeting was good and whilst I was there a few people all mentioned ‘business on toast’. On my return to the office I decided to look at their website and contact them. Straight away I received an email and was invited to my first meeting for FREE!!!
The atmosphere was brilliant, I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of this network and soon began to learn what networking was all about… I wasn’t selling my services to the other businesses in the room I was selling them the business, I was selling them my trust and personality so that they could act as my sales team and promote me to their customers and other people that they knew that may need my services. However, I was able to attend another 3 meetings without becoming a member at only £15 per meeting.
Business on Toast doesn’t stop at a meeting once a week though, it provides connections with the University of Derby through the Mentoring Scheme, it provides a Business Academy to develop business skills and allow you to pass your knowledge and skills onto others, it provides me with a support network of colleagues – the one thing you lose when you move from employment to running your own business.
Through my meetings I have developed key relationships and have had this fantastic website built by another member baseline creative, I have had banners printed by fastsigns and asap promo have helped me with my printing requirements… the list goes on!
For only £575 per year I am able to meet other businesses to promote my business and already I have had three new clients and some great introductions into other Accountancy firms not to mention the money I have saved from my new suppliers.
In addition to this I have advertised myself on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and various other free advertising sites on the web. I have also paid for an advertisement in a local directory which I measuring the results currently, but again I negotiated the price to below £250 for the year.
So far…so good…I don’t think you need to spend a fortune, I just think you need to chose your marketing tools wisely and use a variety of media. I would certainly say that for a local business attracting local clients word of mouth and social media are the best routes to market your business.