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Author Topic: offline business development  (Read 1892 times)
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« on: December 07, 2009, 10:15:55 AM »

Not sure it's the right place to post this. Not sure it's even the right forum Smiley

Got any advice for people trying to set up local businesses related to software/web services ? Cold calling, newspaper advertising, etc. What works offline for promoting stuff like web design/custom software, etc.
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 10:51:17 AM »

the age old question.
I only have advice, not answers.

Cold calling only works in volume. You need to SPAM the everloving shit out of a list to get a result.
Advertising only works for getting low end work (which is fine if thats your market), or building brand exposure.

You best best really is word of mouth. Now mind you, you can promote yourself that way. If you have a network of people, you can start pushing them for work. If they have none, offer a commission for work they bring to the table.

We generally do this:
You get me a meeting with someone big, I will take you out to dinner.
You get me a meeting with someone small, I will buy you a beer or two.
Anything turns into work, I will pay you on that work for a year. 5-10%

It encourages people to think beyond their immediate circle, which is usually VERY small.

If you can figure out a cheap way to offline spam though, like a really cheap mailer, it will be MUCH more effective if you force an action, like visit your website and fill out a form to get a gift card, or qualify for a drawing of 10 of them. Things like that.

What level are you going after? Realistically. Small mom and pop? Big ass mega enterprise.

Final tidbit, but probably most important. FOCUS.
Pick an industry or market segment, and focus on it. Can you do other industries, Of Course! But go after the industry you feel you can match the best. Automotive parts? Medical supply? Male underwear? It will help. Not only to make you an "expert" in that industry, but also to keep you on track, assuming its an industry you are interested in.

I could eat a bowl of Alphabet Soup and shit a better argument than that.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 10:57:06 AM »

Discounting my own bias against them, I really think newspapers and yellow pages are out. In our own small business we've been tracking leads for a couple of years now and print had dwindled away to nothing last year.  

"only 12.9% of the U.S. population buys a daily newspaper"

"Sunday papers in the last six months reached only 13.5% of American homes"

Those vinyl graphic "skins" for vehicles have been getting pretty good reviews in forums over the years.
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 11:35:57 AM »

Virtually everywhere you go there exists a potential client. Make up some cards that look GREAT are perhaps slightly larger than business cards (so they can't be confused) and use them as an entree to speak with everyone about their computer/computer issues. Everyone has a computer, everyone has issues. Consider being evangelical - this is not fanboi stuff here, but a real approach: if everyone you talk to that has a PC complains a little, tell them how it could be better with a Mac (of course, you'll need to know about Macs before doing this) - most will tell you to fuck off. But some will have heard the noise and will be curious - and you might have a quick in.

In any case, if you can profess excellence in any computer area, and then talk about it a whole lot to everyone you come across, you will eventually find folks (probably sooner than later) that fall within your area of excellence and have a problem - and most likely, be unhappy with their tech person.

This is not a fast game. It'll take you a while to build up, but if you do it with discipline and provide excellent cost/benefit service, you will be rewarded with loyal clients.

It is now believed, that after having lived in one compound with 3 wives and never leaving the house for 5 years, Bin Laden called the U.S. Navy Seals himself.
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 06:41:41 PM »

Probably a good place to ask Smiley.
I know perks has been involved in several different types of business. Some have been successful, some I lost a lot of $$$ with Smiley.
And thinking about it I have been also. And along the way I learned not what to do  ROFLMAO
Newspapers etc, are a bad place to advert. Exception is trade publications that deal with a specific trade.

My father when it came to "logical" things was probably one of the smartest men I ever knew.
Any scientific,mathematical,economical,investment topic he had knowledge of. But he had only one short coming.
Due to his "eastern european" background he viewed sales as being "dirty", not a proper profession etc.
I remember when I was younger, I wanted to get a job in sales and my father discouraged me.
The reason why I mention this is because many people have this perception.

So basically it all boils down to being able to "sell". Many of my business might have been more successful if I had know this. Life is a learning experience Smiley.
After my adventures on being an affiliate selling online crap, I learned the importance of "persuasion" etc.
Fortunately my father did teach me one thing Smiley The importance of research.
So I went online and found every how to sell book, networking book, what causes people to buy book etc. And downloaded them.
Also I got a variety of books. From "Joe Vitale" to "Brian Tracy" to more intellectual books. Again people have the BS excuse I do not have time.
These books come in audio format. Shove them on your MP3 player, listen to them while you are driving the car, etc.
People laugh at "Joe Vitale" there is a lot of BS in his books, but it is not what he is doing but how he is doing it. Bottom line is he is a great salesman.
I think NB mentioned it, you have to break out of your circle. An easy way to do this is join groups that are not in your circle. So join a banker's group, join a travel agent group etc. Talk to anyone/everyone you meet.

I will just elaborate from what perks said. It is about talking to people/evangalism.
Many people find it hard to believe but I am a very shy person.
They tell me, how can you be shy, you are always out there talking to people etc.
I just found out one very simple thing, just talk to other people Smiley. As perks said 9/10 people might tell you to fuk off.
Again don't judge a book by its cover. Some guy who is dressed like a total bum, who know he might be a millionaire.
Vice versa a guy who is all dressed up, might be totally broke. Just do not have preconcieved notions.
I have met all sorts of people in this manner.

When you talk to people, don't try selling them some crap right away. Just talk to them. Most importantly listen.
You have to care about people. As perks said eventually it will come up what you are do for a living etc.
Back home I used to talk to street people (i do not advise this it can be dangerous).

Bum : can you spare me a dollar to buy something to eat ?
Me : Don't lie to me (smile on my face), you just want to buy a mickey. You think I am stupid ?
Bum : Well ok, me and buddy across the street are trying to get enuff to buy 40 ozer.
Me : How are you doing right now ?
Bum : Well we got like $12 between us, we figure in a few hours we will have enuff to buy a 40.
Me : What type of 40 do you plan to buy.
(shooting the shit for like 5-10 minutes)
Me : I gotta go to work.
Bum : Yah i have to get back to pan handling. Need to get that 40. Thanx for talking to me.
(depending on how i feel i might give the guy a $1, many times they are just happy you "saw" them, talked to them etc).
Again I do not advise that people people talk to bums, unless they know what they are doing. It be potentially dangerous.

But the point is when you talk to someone go with totally no preconcieved notions. Also don't talk to people with the notion this guy might be useful for me etc.
On the other side of the coin, I have met famous/important people in the same manner.
Many times these people are very lonely. They are so fed up with people trying to scam them, suck up to them etc.
Along the way u will meet scammers etc. It is all part of the experience Smiley.

Also I have found that generally speaking it is human nature to want to help other people.
So when i was seperated from my wife. Because of my own fault (I broke social customs unknowingly). I ended up getting stalked by a woman.
Anyway one of my friends I ran into. Nice guy, but lets just say his methods are a little unorthadox.
He told me you look a little stressed. I told him all my problems. Then casually he asked me where does this woman live.
A few hours later, the girl calls me up, she is crying. Please don't have me killed. I promise I will not bother you ever again.
I then explained to her, it was my fault. That she was causing me grief unknowingly. And it all was a misunderstanding.
She them said she did not mean to stalk me etc etc. And we both left on good terms Smiley.

And many times you can just have fun. It is interesting to learn how other people live. Mamasan always tells me funny stories of how bar girls rip off silly foriegners etc.

Again I have digressed.
It'll take you a while to build up, but if you do it with discipline and provide excellent cost/benefit service, you will be rewarded with loyal clients.
Basically you are helping people.
I think many people do not understand friends. You might not agree with a friend's behaviour. Often in polite terms I have told my friends I do not agree with thier excessive drinking etc. In life it is not what you do, but how you do it. Also you can be honest, but in a nice manner.

vim ftw!
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2009, 08:50:49 AM »

Uh, last time I checked a 40 of OE costs like $5, no?

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