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Make time for marketing

If you operate a home-based business, there are more demands on your time than time to go around. But there’s one business activity you can’t afford to defer if you want to stay in business: marketing.

For any small business, marketing has many facets, and it’s a more complex proposition than just selling what you’re already offering customers. Marketing is the set of activities that attracts customers to your product. In a home-based business, that’s not going to be signs in front of your house and a parade of customers coming through your doors every day. The challenge is to adapt sound marketing techniques to your business’s unique circumstances and offerings. And that takes time.

Here are six tips for making time for marketing:

1.   Convince yourself that marketing is worth the time. When you don’t think a task will contribute to your bottom line, it’s easy to go on to the next item on your to-do list. If marketing is outside your so-called comfort zone, examine why you feel that way.

2.   Have a marketing plan. Invariably, a good plan is at the heart of personal productivity. Examine your business goals and determine how marketing can help fulfill them. As a new business owner, you may need a crash course in marketing. If so, that becomes part of your plan.

3.   Be open to new ideas. How are competing businesses getting noticed by customers? If they’re using techniques or media you never considered, take time to study and learn about new approaches. Experiment with marketing ideas that are low cost and low risk.

4.   Dedicate the time. By reserving the time, you’re less likely to procrastinate. Once you’re committed to marketing, block out time for it just as you would any other important task. Whether the task is market research or cold calling, know what you want to accomplish-in that period of time, and anticipate the distractions that are most likely to interfere.

5.   Stay connected. Take time to be at meetings and other gatherings of your professional and community groups. Yes, this presence takes time away from other business  activities, but it keeps you in front of prospective customers and creates opportunities for you to sell yourself as well as your business. A home-based business is especially likely to benefit from this exposure.

6.   Celebrate your marketing successes. Pay attention to when your marketing pays off. You’ll discover that as effective marketing leads to better exposure and more sales, it becomes easier to justify the time you spend to promote your services.

“Work smarter, not harder” is an expression that applies to marketing as well as other facets of entrepreneurship. Make time for marketing, use that time wisely, and you’ll hone your competitive edge. 

For more insights on making a home-based business succeed, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” For the SCORE chapter nearest you, call 1-800-634-0245, or find a counselor online at www.score.org.

All SCORE counseling is offered as a free and confidential community service. There are 389 SCORE chapters around the country assisting entrepreneurs. While counseling is always free-of-charge, local SCORE chapters also offer small business workshops and seminars for modest fees.

To learn more about SCORE and its counseling services, call 1-616-771-0305, or email your questions to the Grand Rapids Chapter of SCORE  at www.scoregr.org.

These articles are provided by:

Free and Confidential Counseling

SCORE, 111 Pearl Street NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 771-0305   www.scoregrandrapids.org

E-mail:  score@grandrapids.org

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