If you are a small business owner like me you will understand just how tough it is to survive against big name competitors. Promotion is key to letting people know about your business and the products and services you offer.
Larger brands may have the cash to afford expensive promotional campaigns, but for the rest of us it can be difficult to promote your business when you’re working on a budget. However there are some simple and easy ways that can get your business out there.
In order to ensure your survival in this tough economic climate, networking is often the key. In times like this the saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ has never rang truer. Networking provides you with the platform to interact with other business, potentially creating links and partnerships as well as helping you learn more about your competitors. You could then use this to tailor your business, making it more effective and successful.
Hosting a networking event can be expensive, but you will reap the benefits of doing so once your company has established a name for itself in the business sector. However, you don’t always have to play the host; websites like findnetworkingevents.com list events that are taking place up and down the country, so you could simply attend one of these instead.
When you are at these networking events, you will meet a numerous people from various companies. At the end of the day, it can be difficult to remember everyone’s names and the organization they work for.
If you’re having this problem chances are they are too. To avoid being forgotten and to make an impression you should get some business cards printed. Scribbling your name and number on the back of a beermat or napkin is hardly the company image you want to project. It’s best to go through a specialist printing company in an attempt to ensure your cards have a professional edge. Many companies offer discounts for new customers and if you order a certain amount so you could save some money too. This doesn’t need to break the bank and can often be one of the easiest(and cheapest) promotional methods.
Opening new premises for your business will always be something of a challenge. You will need to make sure that people know your business is there. You could place an article in the local newspaper about it, but with less and less people buying newspapers, you could fail to reach your target customers.
The best way to alert people to your new premises is by purchasing some banners. Whether it says ‘Now open’ or is simply a company logo, a bright coloured banner hanging outside your store, office or workshop will let passers-by know of your existence and get them to notice you.
A homemade banner, made using leftover paint and an old sheet will make your company look less than professional. It’s best to find a small budget and head to one of the specialist companies like Where The Trade Buys. They can produce outdoor banners featuring your designs that are designed to withstand even the harshest winter weather.
One way of attracting customers is by improving your company image in the local area. If you are seen to be doing your bit for the local community, people will be more inclined to buy your products and use your services.
Sponsoring the local sports team is a great way to do this, as well as gaining some extra advertisement. You could have your logo on the cricket strip, or contribute to the football club in exchange for a spot on their advertising boards around the pitch – whatever you do, it will all improve your public image.
Take a look at the Guardian’s Small Business Network. They regularly post handy tips and you have the option to join, which will give you access to expert advice and practical resources.
Attended a networking event and made some good contacts? Just gotten a banner made? Leave a comment and let us know how it went. And dont forget to share!
***Photos thanks to Mooganic***