This was originally supposed to be a short reply to a post but I got in the zone and couldnt stop typing, and when I finished this was the product! Ive added a little more to this one. If it deems a sticky, so be it! :)
Advertising for your company:
1.) If you have the greensheet where you are, that would be a wonderful place to advertise. I have before, and since its a free paper, you get alot of readers. The pricing is also very reasonable! Don't go for the chronicle at first, unless you want to spend massive amounts of dough. There are better and more efficient ways to spend your hard earned money.
1.) Business cards (Of Course!) You can get 1000 printed in color for a cool 100 bucks.
2.) Flyers - Go to resturaunts and other establishments, ask them if you can post them up on thier doors or bulletin boards. You can give incentives such as 10% off with Code X and a 15% off for all employees of the establishment.
3.) Neighborhood monthly book advertising, those are usually pretty cheap to advertise in. You can also do, as it came to affectionately be known to me, a flyer run, which is where u go door to door and put a flyer on there. I used to go to Walmarts and put stacks of my flyers on the free paper stands or stick one in each Greensheet.
4.) For big companies, try calling them, you'd be surprised at the responses you can get. You can also offer to send them a package, witha flyer and info on your company along with some pictures of your products or even a sample, which could help with your chances of getting a face to face meeting.
Things to remember and learn:
1.) Remember to back your stuff up with contracts, trademarks, etc. Always watch your back!
2.) Also, presentation means ALOT. Your flyers should be color if possible, and on good paper.
3.) Your package that you send the big companies should be on a custom package, not a manilla envelope. Typed and not handwritten.
4.) Your company info and stuff should be on good quality paper, such as resume paper.
5.) The folder in which you send to them should be a custom folder, and get creative with it. Scent it if you can, because smell is one of the things that people remember the most. There are companies that sell folders with slits in the pocket where u can put your business card in, put 2 or 3. Ideas for the folder can be like a pop up style, etc. Think outside the box, these companies get generic stuff all day long and you want yours to stand out more than the rest.
6.) Diversify your advertising, grandma was right when she said not to put all your eggs in a basket. Marketing is funny like that. Smart marketers market thier product or services in various avenues, then measure the results and narrow down to the marketing avenues that work best. Foolish ones have one avenue, and when it fails, they are stuck like a duck.
7.) Which brings me to this one. Track your marketing. When I advertised in the Greensheet in 3 different areas, I put one of these 3 on the bottom for each area, 'Ask for Ben', 'Ask for Mr. W', 'Ask for Mr. Win'. Then when they called in and they asked for the respective name I knew where it came from. Your flyers could have a promotional code for each location, to help track your results.
8.) Cell Phone : Try to get a number that is easy to remember, I dont know how my cousin does it, but he can somehow get the numbers he wants. Give the negotiating a shot, threaten to cancel your service or something, tell them something like, 'This is going to be my company number, and if you cannot give me a number that is easier to remember then I might have to find a provider that will'. Note that you cant demand a specific number, they will most likely call off some numbers they can get you and help you find one. If you can't thats ok too, dont go cancelling your service...unless you really want to.
9.) Voicemail : Make it professional. It should have some type of hello, your name, company name, request for thier name, number, and a brief message, and a thank you. Preferably in that order. Example: 'Hi, you've reached Benjamin with Centercorp, I am currently unavailable to take your call at this moment however, if you leave your name, number, and a brief message, I will be sure to return your call as soon as possible, thanks and have a great day.'
10.) Always answer your phone with your name. Example: 'This is Benjamin'. You can also add a how can I help you or something. Never answer your phone with just a 'Hello' or 'Hi'. In the business world that's suicide.
11.) Try to get 2 cell phones, one professional, and one for personal. This is preferable, but optional. Your friends will just have to get used to you greeting them in a different way.
12.) It is mandatory you remember thier names for future conversations. It goes a LONG way. Get in the practice of asking for thier name close to the beginning of the conversation, then incorporating it into the conversation, this way it becomes personal and more professional. Example: 'Can I get your name sir? Hi Benjamin, how can I help you today?'.......'Well Benjamin, this is what I can do for you sir.'...'Thanks for calling Benjamin, Goodbye' It sounds much better and personal than, 'Well, this is what I can do for you sir.' or 'Thanks for calling, Goodbye'.
13.) Write everything down that you can. I usually always carry a spiral or notebook of somekind with a pen handy. Client name, Company name, representative name, number you can reach them, notes about the conversation, and time called are all good things to jot down.
14.) Keep all your promises as much as you possibly can. I can understand having to reschedule a meeting, but anything else is no good. If you say you are going to call them at this time, call them. Following up on calls is very very important.
15.) One step at a time. Don't get too far ahead of yourself, you dont want to be overpromising and underdelivering. Take well planned steps.
16.) Don't bite off more than you can chew. Everyone starts at the bottom, even the self made millionaires.
17.) Plan everything. Get a Franklin planner, a good one. A good planner will keep your priorities straight and your tasks efficient. It's a life saver and helps prevent the stress of unorganized, crowded thoughts.
18.) Records...Keep them. Don't throw away any of your old planners or notes. They are a record of all you have achieved, your hard work, and the lessons you've learned. They show how you have grown, much like a diary or a journal.
19.) Financials....Keep a record of all your business spending and earnings...I cannot stress this enough!! Keep it separate from your personal spending, and try to have a separate bank account. It helps tremendously in preventing confusion of where certain funds went, not to mention that Uncle Sam isnt nice to people who dont have thier money records straight.
20.) As I said, presentation is everything. This not only includes your product, but yourself as well. A nice car is good, but not mandatory, just wash your car and clean it up inside and out. A lot of deals can go through the hole if your buyer sees you roll up in a messy ride. I recommend hand washing and cleaning it yourself, my motto is that no one can clean your car better than you. As for you, your clothes and how you look and smell are very very important. If you are in the clothing industry, im sure a potential client doesn't want to see a guy in plain jeans and a white t-shirt. Dress according to your product. Usually that means business casual (Slacks or NICE Jeans and Button up Business shirt with an overcoat) to straight up superfly business man. If you are like me in the old days, then 'GQ' magazine helps out with the fashion ideas. Oh, Don't forget the Shoes!! If you want a decent pair go Steve Madden, or to Ross. Trust me, Ross is the best clothing store EVER invented. You can get a whole wardwrobe for about 300-500 bucks. Just check it out, the ladies have been gettin you guys clothes from here forever, and you thought it was from nice fancy expensive store....the secrets out ladies!
All of these will help you look very professional and help people remember your company better and in turn will help you in achieving your end goal: getting your company out there. You want them to think, wow, that was very professional, nothing less. Anything less gets forgotten, and can even hurt you. You dont want someone you spoke to talking down on your company when they hear someone else mention it. Good Luck with your company!