by Bonnie Jo Davis
Most, if not all, small businesses are built on a budget. Available funds
must be used to buy technology, additional phone lines and marketing
materials such as business cards. In this article you will find ten low
cost or no cost tips that will help you get your first customer and build
1) Obtain free or low cost business cards at a company such as
www.VistaPrint.com. Add an explanatory tag line to identify your product
or service. While you are running your normal errands drop off a business
card at every business you see such as drycleaners, restaurants, gyms,
2) Have a new or rebuilt shopping center opening in your town? Attend the
grand opening and chat with the business owners and staff and hand out
your free or low cost business cards.
3) Create flyers with your phone number on tear off tabs and place them at
the library, grocery store, coffee shops, etc. Carry a few in your car
with push pins so you never miss an opportunity.
4) Hold a contest. People love freebies. When you're handing out business
cards and designing flyers highlight your contest for a limited time.
Anyone who books at least two hours of your time during the contest month
is entered into a drawing for a gift basket.
Put together an inexpensive gift basket with sample size coffee, a coffee
cup, a business book or best selling novel, cookies and crackers. Put the
names of the qualifying clients in a hat and have your child draw the
Take a picture of the gift basket and your child drawing the name out of
the hat, scan the pictures and put them on your website along with the
name of the winner.
5) Write an article that would appeal to your target audience such as
small business owners, add a four to five line biography with your e-mail
address and web site address. Submit the article to websites and e-zines
that cater to your target audience.
6) Create an informative presentation around your topic area and contact
your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to speak at a monthly meeting.
7) Create coupons offering a free or discounted product or a free hour of
service for every two or three hours of paid service. Give them out to
prospective clients and to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce
to use in contests and give aways. Give the recipient an incentive to buy
your product or use your services by giving the coupon an expiration date.
8) Use the time you spend sitting in traffic to gain new clients. For less
than thirty dollars you can purchase a sign for your car from
www.iprint.com or www.webdecal.com.
9) Create a press release announcing the opening of your business or some
other milestone event. Send the press release to editors at your local
newspaper and to other free area publications.
10) Ask for referrals. Give your business card to your family members,
neighbors, hair salon, etc. and ask that they pass them on. Offer an hour
of free service or a free product to anyone who refers a client who signs
a contract for services and give them a link on your web site.
About the Author:
Bonnie Jo Davis is the author of the e-book "Articles That Sell: Use The
Best Kept Secret Of The Internet To Promote Your Business For Free!"