Business Choices - New Directions
Vinyl Car Signs
Offer Incentives to Increase Your Business
Enlist Others To Help Promote
Shuffle Your Advertising
Get the Word of Mouth Going
New Promotional Ideas That Work - Without Competition!
Is the Customer Really Always Right? No!
Opportunity Overload! Should You Join? Will You Fail Again?

Get the Word of Mouth Going

You can get a lot of free advertising if you talk to people about what you do - your friends, your relatives, your contacts, your associates - anyone in your networking circle. If people feel they can trust you, and either need your product or service, or know someone else who needs what you offer, you can bring in business. Make sure to treat each customer very well, and that will go far in referring business to you.

Make sure you always carry business cards - with your name, company, phone, web site, and a quick statement describing what you can offer to people - make it describe a benefit people will relate to. You can put your photo on it, if you think it will help jog people's memories of when they met up with you.

Try to get testimonials from people - if you repeat them to others, they will tend to trust you and what you are offering. Make sure the testimonials are placed on your web site, or perhaps quote a good, short one onto your business card.

Follow up with people after they use your service or product - and ask if they know others who could use what you offer. You can ask these customers to mention you to their friends (more powerful) or ask if you can call them yourself and say the customer referred you to call. Make sure to leave extra business cards (or any "freebie" gifts with your information on it - like lip balm, or pens) with these customers so they can pass them out when they see their friends and acquaintances.

Opportunity Overload! Should You Join? Will You Fail Again?

I know I get tired of these ezine publishers or Internet "gurus" pushing yet another new, "hot" program they have come across. How many readers will foolishly follow the publisher or guru and make nothing off the program? How many publishers or gurus care?

If the reader doesn't have a large list to send an ad to, it's unlikely that there will many people buying into the new opportunity. The "big" gurus and publishers have contacted most every reader and resource that you can imagine that you could be advertising to.

If I see an ad a few times, I may look at out of curiosity, or to see if it's a scam (I used to run a scam reporting site). If I see an opportunity advertised 15-20 times, I WON'T look at it. It's already in over-kill and making people sick of seeing it - and that includes me. I start to delete the emails of the publishers who push a program more than once for his own interest and earnings.

The caution signs I look for are -

  • product not yet released but you have to pay anyway,
  • product so new no one has had a chance to use it or know it,
  • program has a monthly cost requirement,
  • it's a rewording of a known scam,
  • too much hype and promises,
  • the guru has previously been worthless in his prior support,
  • would one feel "guilty" pushing this on someone else,
  • bad grammar or wording, or misspellings
  • and a few other clues that don't feel "right"

I can't understand why so many people jump on every new opportunity, just to feel the failure of every other prior opportunity that went nowhere. They spend money they don't have, and get no return. Mind you, I don't say all these programs are scams - some are, some are not - but can you truly make money from them?

Just because it's a well-known source who promises you riches to jump on board does not make it so. How many other opportunities of his promise have you jumped on and gone nowhere with? Do you think that is the person to get on board with and to help make rich? Did he support you and help you make sales in the last opportunity?

The most credible people I know of on the 'net are the ones who keep improving their original product or adding to it, with no hype and no fluff. They tell you straight up what they are up to and the benefits, with no promises. They don't ask you to recruit people. They ask you to simply sell their product or service. There might be another tier that pays when someone signs up under you, but the primary focus is for you to promote and sell the product. They want you to KNOW their product so they update you on it regularly. You learn from them. Another key factor is they reply to your emails - and in the depth you need.

Many of these so-called gurus do not answer their emails - I know. I have tried to get some answers before joining a program - and nothing. I know I won't join their program. Try to communicate with your sponsor before joining - does he reply to you? If not, rethink before joining.

If you are confident you can sell the program or product, more power to you, but make sure you feel no guilt in taking money from someone who can't afford it. Make sure to look at the caution signs and be comfortable with the program. Make sure you aren't just following the hype. And if you get scammed, don't say you weren't forewarned.

Is the Customer Really Always Right? No!

How do you handle a customer who is clearly in the wrong? People always tell you "the customer is always right" - but that is not always true. However, the way you treat your right or wrong customer is what will make a world of difference to your business success or failure. Remember - it's always a numbers game - and sometimes you must deal with a lot of no's and a lot of turkeys to get to the golden client.

Here are some very recent dealings my associate and I have had to deal with, and how we handled it:

1. I got heavily chewed out because I didn't receive a fax reply from someone to whom I faxed paperwork to TWICE. She didn't check to see if her lawyer received my fax - only asked me if I had received the reply. I told her I hadn't, and it became "my fault" that her lawyer didn't reply to me. I faxed the papers out again, and she again chewed me out for her lawyer not replying. I was not given the lawyer's phone number to follow up with, so I could never follow through to see if the fax got through. It is the client's responsibility to "push" her lawyer to act, however, and not mine. So, she said she would take her business to another company.

I let her know that I did fax out the papers more than once, and I had no phone number to follow up with - if she would provide me with the phone number I would call, but ultimately it is her responsibility to get her lawyer to act. I told her I would work with her if she chose, but if she felt she needed to go elsewhere, so be it. I would be here if she ever needed my services. I suppose the client may be difficult to deal with, so perhaps I am better off. But I didn't try to burn any bridges in the matter. If she finds the same situation with the next company, maybe she'll forgive me (or just get angry at one more person). Whether she refers me to anyone else is not a goal at this point - the goal is to appease her enough that she won't try to tell people to stay away from my business - to try to cool her anger.

2. I emailed a reply stating that I was sorry I took a while (6 hours) to reply to an email. I told the person I had an emergency with my daughter and had to go to the hospital. I figured this person would perhaps understand that it was serious. Guess what reply I got? The email said "WHAT?? I'll just find another source."

OK, now I was taken aback by that. I thought a family emergency was a legitimate reason to excuse a less than prompt reply. I guess I will have to just say I was "out of the office." Or say nothing and just reply. Is 6 hours really that late a response? I think not, to tell the truth. But, I did email back and tell this person that I can work with him if he would like, and will give him my full attention in the case. Again, I am just hoping I won't get him telling others not to use my service. (He obviously doesn't have kids or feel the same way.)

3. I had a potential client who was very happy with my attention and said he was going to use my services if I could match the price of a competitor. I got the "go ahead" to do this. The client got all the way to the signing process and suddenly decided to go with another company - and didn't have the courtesy to let me know. I know he got a "one up" better offer at the last - the other company wanted his business, so they scraped to make a better offer. It could have worked to his advantage to tell me - we might have been able to outdo that offer, as well.

That is life - the competition can be outright sneaky and can cause havoc in your day. Just smile, send a message to the client that you lost to let him know you will still give him or his friends the same service he enjoyed prior to the deal not working out, if he chooses to work with you again.

4. I gave an answer to a 2-part question and replied that the first part cannot be done as stated (it could not be launched on its own - one would have to launch a separate application within the program so it would work), and I answered the second part (which was an alternate choice that was better). The person replied that I had a "poor" response because I obviously didn't know "how" to do the first part.

Obviously, he was a "know-it-all" with an attitude. I just let that go, and not even to try to tell him I know "how," but it needs to launch in a different mode rather than directly. In any case, this person was just being a turkey, and some turkeys are not worth one's time to deal with.

5. We fixed a laptop and spent over 7 hours overall on it. It was so screwed up that it ultimately needed to be formatted and reloaded, but the owner had no driver disks or anything. We had to search for the components and find drivers to load. They needed to be done in a certain sequence, as found out after the loading, so we reloaded again. We charged a mere $225 for all the work - a low priced fix for what we did (we figured that a good part of the time was loading and downloading, so we were able to walk away from it on occasion). This is much less than any other repair shop would have charged for the troubleshooting and the formatting and repair. The owner blasted my associate for charging "too much" and called him names. It turned out that he wanted the fix for "free" even though he was quoted and updated at every step.

We just printed the bill and wrote the procedures involved. We gave the client his laptop and gave him 2 weeks to pay. We figured he'd not refer us to anyone (would we want to be referred as the repair team who does work for free?), but we didn't care. We also decided not to back down on the amount due because the customer was belly- aching so badly with no good reason - and it cost us our time to do the repair. We also decided we would not take on any more repairs from him, if that ever came up again. We also are placing new policies prior to taking on jobs.

So, to sum things up - there are difficult people out there, and some of them try to become your customers. There are some people who are simply having a bad day and they are lashing out without cause. The best thing to do is not necessarily apologize and tell them they are right - but mainly to try to appease them in some way. Let them know you are still on their team, if they want, and leave it at that. The next person they try to work with will probably end up making them realize that you and your company weren't so bad after all. They just haven't found out that others don't give the same pricing or service or care - yet. Offer the person a discount of their next purchase from you. You might still come out ahead (and at the least, not come out "behind").

Oh yes - thankfully the bulk of our customers are considerate and appreciative. These other types are always the exception.

New Promotional Ideas That Work - Without Competition!

Find a "silent auction" or raffle going on, and contribute a product or service of yours. You will be listed as a contributor, "Donated by Joe's Company", and then it will have your contact information. If the prize is truly worthwhile, people will want to know how to get more of it. You will have left people a good feeling about you for having contributed, and their trust factor and confidence in you will climb. They will refer your company to others and you should see an increase in business (but you must provide a product or service that people want and appreciate - something of value).

Try to have your logo or slogan included with your contact information - so people will get a feel for any other line of related products or services you provide. Don't list anything unrelated - it will ruin your credibility. It would be advantageous to include a "coupon" for 10% or some amount for people to get a deal from you. See if you can leave business cards with the donation for people to pick up, or if you can have your discount printed up in the "credits" that list the donators.

To find groups in need of donated products and services, tell other people as you run into them that you have items to donate - many will be associated with a church, or scout troop, or sports team, or school fundraiser group, etc. Make some calls to local churches, asking if they are looking for any raffle or silent auction items. You might even spark up a fundraising drive with your suggestion. Call scout troops, schools, sport teams - all are looking for ways to raise money. Many are at a loss to think of what - you can provide them an avenue.

This tactic does work - if people like your offering. I have used it at church silent auctions, and at swim team fundraisers. The woman with a store next to me has donated items to sporting events. It does bring in more awareness of your business, and should increase your sales. Make sure to include your business and contact information so that you will be recognized.

Vinyl Car Signs

Your car is a driving billboard that can reach out to the masses - if you want to advertise on your car, be sure to read how Car Signs Get the Word Out. This can be low cost, effective advertising. Just be sure you drive your car where your targeted visitors hang out.

You may want to try the vinyl lettering route. I decided that was the best way to display my website URL. I called around and found it would cost more than I wanted to spend. I asked if I could do it myself and I was told that many people try and screw up. I was told that if I had them do it, they would fix any mistakes at no cost. I got a quote for the letters I wanted and they would cut them out, but it was still more than I wanted to spend. I decided to go to an office supply store and bought several white vinyl letter sets, for a total of under $10.

I found that applying them is easy, and pretty much risk free in making a permanent mistake. Here is what I did:

  • measured my back window, a bit inside from edge to edge
  • counted out the number of letters and spaces I need to use
  • got a dry erase marker and a ruler
  • drew a straight line across the writing area of the back window
  • marked off spaces to separate the letters
  • mixed about a cup of warm water and a couple drops of dish detergent
  • wiped the water onto the back window on the left writing edge
  • placed the first set of letters, from left side toward middle
  • wiped the water on the right side and worked those letters from edge toward middle
  • let it dry
The water allowed me to move and position the letters before they permanently stuck. I could see how it looked and could even pull them off and start over. It was actually very easy and fool proof.

If you want a simple, low cost website advertisement on your car, buy the inexpensive vinyl letters at the office store and place them yourself. For fancy letters, have the sign shop cut them. And drive around proudly representing your website. Make sure you keep your car looking nice, though, in case someone wants more information from you! On that note, keep a supply of business cards in your car, as well.

Offer Incentives to Increase Your Business

Here is a great incentive trick - if you have products or services that people will buy or use more than once, offer an incentive so they will want more. This is how you can make it work.

If you offer kid's books, for example, let buyers and potential buyers know that if they buy 5 within a 4 month period, you will give them a 6th one free. Or if you offer consulting, give a 6th session free after 5 within 3 months. Come up with some such promotion for your offer that you can work with. Make sure to keep a deadline or people might cash in after years, and after you've given up on the offer.

This type of promotion is quite popular with certain candy bars or soda lines. It works quite well when people save bottle tops or wrappers to gain a free product. See if you can do a twist on this concept with what you have to offer.

Enlist Others To Help Promote

People helping each other promote is a lesser used concept but it does work. Basically, you help promote others while they help promote you.

Within a group of associates or acquaintances, probably not your direct competition, offer to hand out business cards and promotional materials (brochures, samples, discounts coupons, etc.) in exchange for them doing the same for you.

When you have a customer, offer a packet with the variety of promotional materials from your associates, and you might help someone else make a sale, in the way you hope someone will help you gain a customer. If you sell goods, place the packet in with the order. People often like getting referred company information from someone they trust or do business with.

Make sure the companies you help promote are reputable and have good offers, or your reputation may be at stake. Deal with people who follow through, and with those you trust who will pass your promotional materials to others that they deal with.

If you can spark a relationship with others over the Internet, and send each other your promotional materials, you can increase your scope of exposure to a national level.

Business Choices - New Directions

Your business may be suffering now, so reevaluate it. What part of your business can you kick-start and make productive now? What are people looking for these days? Can you tune your business to meet these needs? Promote the things that are in need and demand now, more heavily.

Concentrate on businesses that are now in demand - computers, communications, insurance, health, safety, national pride - and the staples of what are needed for everyday life and business. These will remain businesses which will continue to make money. People need to depend on certain ideals, products and services.

There will be more competition for affordable travel services and certain types of entertainment - as people are beginning to travel more now. Can you realistically compete with established businesses? Think of businesses which will survive, and ones you should shelve for now. This may not a good time for expensive luxuries. People are getting back to the basics and affordability, although new strides in technology are always intriguing and sought after, like the latest smart phone, programmable appliances, and more now.

There are many services that are still needed and are succeeding. If there are any support services you can offer - such as grief counseling, making patriotic symbols, giving hope, strength and courage in these times - these support type of offerings should do well. If you know of types of entertainment that are local, those can be promoted, as well - people still need fun and diversions in bad times.

If you offer safety and protection, cell phones, filtering units, people and pet food, health and beauty supplies, and the like, you should concentrate on those. People always depend on these through all types of times. If these offer residual income, all the better.

Right now there are many people being laid off and probably looking for opportunities, especially the possibility of working at home and spending more time with the family, walking the kids to the bus and picking them up again - having more precious time with those who mean so much. If new people are coming to the Internet scene, they will need more of the tools and tips to help them promote and learn to be web-savvy. These tools and services should do well, also, if they are truly of value and deliver as promised.

Think about the products and services you have available to offer, and figure out the reasons people will want them now. If you cannot figure out why anyone would want to buy into it now, put it aside and don't waste any effort on it. If you can find an "angle" that will make it of value in these times, then use that and go promote it.

Think about your direction and plan your business focus accordingly. Shift it as needed for the times. And don't give up - times are tough for everyone right now - you can still figure out how to make things work if you sit back, re-evaluate, and re-focus.

Shuffle Your Advertising

You know the phrase "don't put all your eggs in one basket" - because if it drops, they'll all break. Well, you should look at your advertising methods as well - if you count on one type, it may become old news and you don't gain any more customers. You'll be scrambling to figure out what to do. You should widen your reach into all niche areas to see where your advertising does best.

What are you selling? Pet items? Then think where people go to look for pet stuff - at the pet store, online, pet magazines, the animal shelters, pet sitters, veterinarians, dog food services, etc. You can advertise online, but you'll not hit all the people who don't bother to shop online. Approach the pet sitters, vets and animal shelters, etc. to ask if you can place some literature for pet safety or the newest and most unique pet products, or training methods, at their place of business or perhaps to allow them to be handed out to customers. Make sure to offer something different, information of value, and which doesn't compete directly with the business - so they can give added value information to their customers.

Don't try to sell all products in all places - try to narrow down the scope of your offer - such as, promote training methods or tools, or pet urns, at a vet office (not the dog food or medications that they offer). Promote new play toys or treats to be handed out by pet sitters.

People always read newspapers and magazines (though mostly online now), but not everyone looks at the classifieds. You need to make your ad stand out, so that people will be compelled to buy from you over the other competing businesses. See what advertisements are shown in the ads - then place your ad for some different angle and make it pull attention from the other ads showing up.

These are just a few ideas of what you can do to get your word out there, to a wider scope of people.

Below are the websites

we are working on:

Outdoors, Sports and Activity

Home - Decor, Safety and Security, Cleaning, Gardening

Clothes - Fashion, Everyday, Jewelry, Cleaning and Care

Do It Yourself

Kids - Toys, Education, Clothes, Safety, Rooms

Reading and Media


Food - Cooking, Recipes, Restaurants