7 Ways to Build More Profit Into Your Design Firm

7 Ways to Build More Profit Into Your Small Business

As you prepare your business for success in the coming year, will you focus your time and resources on sales growth? While it's important, it's often not enough. For sustainable growth and profit with a lot more control, spread your efforts around - creating small improvements in ALL areas of your business. It's the formula for a business that is simple, fun and profitable!
So where do you start? Here's the formula I recommend.
Planning. You don't need a 50 page business plan. But you do need some clear, measurable goals with specific 'actions' you need to take to achieve them. Written goals and a simple action plan provide you with focus and clarity. So take the time to write down what you WANT (results or outcomes) and what you need to DO (actions) to make it happen.
Products/Services. When was the last time you actually thought about the products or services you offer? It's more than just 'what price should I charge'. Which ones are most profitable, which produce the most sales? Do your products and services still meet the needs of your target customers and clients or do they need a facelift? Technology, competition and your customers needs change over time - make sure your products and services keep up!
Promotion. Sales don't just happen. So what are you doing to attract new clients and keep existing ones coming back and referring others? Most owners associate promotion with marketing for new clients - and invest few (if any) resources on current clients. Big mistake. Make sure your plans also include tactics to turn your current clients into raving fans - who spend more, buy more often and refer other quality people to your business.
Processes. Streamlining and standardizing procedures make daily operations easier, efficient and more effective, whether you are there or not. They are also a key to increased profitability. As you plan for the coming year, make systematizing your business more of a priority. Start with just a few. Focus on those that save you time, increase sales, or fix problems that consistently erode profit.
People. No business operates successfully in a vacuum - we all need help from others. While we often associate people with employees, building a strong network of contractors, vendors and alliance partners for your business is equally important. Your needs will vary based on your business - but most small businesses have an opportunity to improve in this area. Have a method for hiring or developing new relationships with people who are committed to your clients and the success of your business.
Personal Development. As you grow and improve, so will your business. We are all familiar with the phrase, knowledge is power, but it also translates to earnings or income. And it doesn't require a lot of time or money - just a commitment to learning and building skills and knowledge. Here's a few things to consider:
  • Invest 15 minutes a day reading and you will read about 12 books a year.
  • Turn drive time into learning with audio books.
  • Attend interactive workshops or webinars to improve knowledge gaps or simply get new ideas.
  • Meet with and build relationships with other successful business owners so you can share information and learn.
  • Work with a mentor or business coach who can help you find hidden opportunities, provide shortcuts to results and accountability to get more done.
Profit. You don't need to be an accountant or financial guru, but you do need to track and understand the numbers that drive your business - beyond just sales. Here's a few others to consider: average sale per clients or transaction, number of leads, revenue per employee, average accounts receivable, gross profit margins, clients retention rates and net profit. Monitor them and focus on activities that help to improve them - especially gross profit margins and net profit. If you keep them at the center of what you do, your small business will continue to serve your needs and the needs of your people and clients.
Remember, little improvements in ALL these areas will put more profit on the bottom line and in your wallet. So take the hybrid approach: bring together all the key elements that drive success - and you too will have a business that is simple, fun and profitable.

By Joan Nowak
Photography by © Rick Becker-leckrone

Joan Nowak is a Small Business Profit Builder, seasoned Business Coach, and creator of the Hybrid Coaching System for small businesses. For additional resources and ideas to grow your small business, visit http://www.HybridBizAdvisors.com. While you are there, join her mailing list to get her monthly eNewsletter and receive a FREE copy of her eBook, Mastering the 7 Elements of Business Success.


Going from Hourly Rate to Project-Based Billing

Many designers start out charging an hourly rate. This can raise some challenges.
Clients often have a difficult time perceiving the value they receive for the rate per hour they are charged.
  • How do you justify an increase in your rates?
  • Tracking time takes time that clients don't want to pay for.
Another option is to move clients away from an hourly rate to a project fee. The benefits of charging a flat fee for a project include:
  • Clients perceive a higher value received for their money
  • An increased project fee is easier for clients to accept
  • No more time tracking means you have more time to work for clients = more pay
How can you move a client from an hourly rate to a project rate? What if they object? Is it really better?
Let's use a real-life example to show how this can be done to the mutual benefit of both you and your client. For the sake of the example, I'll call this client "Cindy."
Cindy and her designer have been working together for nearly five years. Cindy had her designer do a variety of small projects [i.e. holiday design, seasonal redesign, room refresh]. Originally, her designer charged an hourly rate for all these tasks. The designer had to track her time, down to the minute, and send in a monthly accounting showing how she used the time. She'd then bill Cindy for the hours.
After some time, the designer realized she could get more done if she didn't have to track every minute of her time. Through experience on previous projects, she had also come to realize the time it took to get each task done and that she could get them done more efficiently if she charged by project rather than by the hour.
She then proposed a change to Cindy in how she would bill for services. Instead of hourly, she would now charge a flat rate for each small project. This would free up the designer's time since she no longer had to track her hours. Cindy, the client, would know exactly what it would cost her to get these projects done and she'd know exactly what she was getting in return. It allowed Cindy to create a budget and never wonder if her designer was running over hours.
This worked well for both Cindy and her designer. About a year later the designer proposed a rate increase for smaller services. She gave Cindy 60-days notice so there were no surprises.
Tips for moving a client from an hourly rate to a project fee:
  • Create an addendum to your existing contract outlining your proposed change
  • Give your client 60-days notice so there are no surprises
  • Be reasonable and flexible
Caveat: Never execute a rate change in the middle of a project.

By Sue Canfield
Image from StockSource
For nearly 30 years Sue Canfield, Chief Virtual Officer, has helped small business owners with administrative tasks. She co-authored the book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant - Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee, to help virtual assistants understand what it takes to be a business owner. Learn more about their book and coaching services at http://chiefvirtualofficer.com/.


10 Tips For Managing Your Interior Design Career

10 Tips For Managing Your Career

If you have been in the industry for a while, these tips may be helpful in revitalizing your career or in focusing your attention on the need to make a change.

1. Take responsibility for building your own career
In today's work environment managing your career is your responsibility. Even if you are lucky enough to have a mentor you are the one that needs to take charge of building your career. Mentors make suggestions but you decide if the suggestions fit or if they will work for you and then act on them. You must have a vision of where you are headed and then find your own path!

2. Define career satisfaction for yourself
Notice what gives you the most satisfaction and where your passion is. Know your life purpose and use it to guide your design career. Once you know what you love [your niche] and what is most satisfying to you, find ways to do meaningful work either on your current jor future projects.

3. Have a detailed career plan which you update regularly
Make a career plan and follow it. Watch for opportunities that meet your career goals and go for them. If you miss a goal in your career plan, update the plan and create an action plan to attain the missed goal. Use your weekly career time (see #8) to call people (see #6) who can help you to reach your goal.

4. Build your own brand
Find a facet of your work that interests you and that is useful to others. Develop an expertise [a niche] so that you are the "go to" person for this expertise. This gives you a competitive edge and you become known for your knowledge (the expert).

5. Track your accomplishments 
You can not rely on others to remember and credit you with your accomplishments. Keep a list that gives your accomplishments in the format that states the problem, the solution and the result. You can use this document as a reminder for yourself during your annual review and also as a basis for updating your resume.

6. Build relationships
It is all about your network. Building and maintaining relationships with people in your field and people who are in a position to help you move forward in your career is imperative. Start with your college professors! Find other mentors, advisors and coaches along the way to help you expand your network. Stay connected to colleagues from past jobs who may be able to help you in the future.

7. Communicate frequently 
To become known as an expert in your field you will need to write and speak frequently. Work with the leading professional organization in your field to speak at meetings and write for their publications. Find other places to speak and write on your expertise. This will help you to build your brand, become an expert in your field, and meet other people who can help you to move forward.

8. Set a regular time each week to work on your career and brand building 
It is easy to get caught up in the activities of the job and to convince yourself that there is no time for working on your career. Doing that may be good for the company you work for but it is not good for your career. Setting time aside weekly to add accomplishments to your list, to identify people to network with and to find meetings to go to is an investment in yourself and your career.

9. Know your value to your clients & industry
Why would others want you on their team? Be very clear on the value you bring to the project and be able to say it simply and clearly. Take credit for this value and let others know about it. It is part of gaining credit for being an expert and branding yourself.

10. Be proactive
Don't wait for others to do this. Get started today! In this case the early bird gets the client, the best projects and the bigger jobs.

By Alvah Parker
Photography by Francois Etienne Du Plessis

Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys' Coach) and a Career Changers' Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website: http://www.asparker.com/samples.html


Top 10 Reasons You Don't Have Clients (And How to Change That)

If you really want to know why you don't have any clients, take a look at this list to see if anything sounds (uncomfortably) familiar, and then start thinking about what you can do about it:

Reason #1: You haven't got a clear vision of what you want to accomplish.

Before you start sputtering that indeed you DO have a clear vision, riddle me this: How many clients do you have in your vision? What hours do you work? What problems do you help your clients solve? How did you get these clients? What does success look like to you? Is it a number of clients, an income level, or something else? Well? If you don't know the details, you haven't got the vision, so what you need to do is...

Solution #1: Create a vision of success for yourself (and by create, I mean write it down!).

Be as specific as possible. One of the easiest and most compelling ways to do this is to choose a day in the near future (say six to twelve months from now), and describe in vivid detail what's going on in your business and life. Frame the statement in the present tense as if it were already true, using these questions as a guide: What day is it? What time is it? Where are you? What are you doing? What specific goals did you reach? What happened as a result of reaching those goals? How do you feel?

Just remember to ground your vision in reality. If you haven't got a single client, please don't sabotage yourself by envisioning a multi-million-dollar business within six months. Make it real, make it reasonable, and make it worth your while to achieve. See it, feel it, and then go for it!

Reason #2: You haven't got a written plan.

How will you know if you're on the right track if you have only a fuzzy idea of where you're going? Once you've written it all down, you can start making choices about how to spend your time and energy to get what you want. But until you do that, you're just stumbling around in the dark, and any successes you may have are pure dumb luck. So unless you're feeling very lucky, if you want to make a success of your small business, you must...

Solution #2: Document your plans.

Don't tell me that you're keeping it all in your head; that's just an excuse for not doing your due diligence, and you know it. Write it ALL down, including what service(s) you offer, who needs it, what packages you've got, how you plan to market your business, what your goals are (in terms of both income and number of clients or whatever makes sense for your business), when you're going to do whatever it is you do to market your business, and so on. If you need some help, take a look at my web site for an easy and very basic marketing plan, or if that's too overwhelming, then start by answering my Top 10 Marketing Questions. You CAN do it, and you'll thank me for it, I promise!

Reason #3: You don't (or can't) clearly articulate your value to your clients.

Can you distill the essence of your value to a particular and specific customer base in seven to nine words? I can, and let me tell you, it works wonders! Let me be blunt: Nobody cares about your title (coach, consultant, king of the world), your process (facilitating, coaching, teaching, empowering), or your education (CC, MBA, PhD, Harvard or Hogwart's School of Witchcraft & Wizardry). All your clients truly care about is what you can do for them, or more specifically, what benefit they will receive as a result of working with you. What that means is that you need to...

Solution #3: Create an absolutely killer "elevator" speech.

An elevator speech is a short sentence that distills the value of your services and benefit your clients get when working with you. It answers the question "what do you do?" which is really "what CAN you do for ME?" Add your name, your title if you want, and you've got a great introduction. To create your own killer elevator speech, download my Killer Elevator Speech tool.

Reason #4: You don't have the support you need to get where you want to go.

Doing all this on your own is more than tough--it's overwhelming! Having a group of people PLUS one partner or buddy who are/is familiar with and supportive of your goals enough to offer regular support, ideas, and feedback helps keep your energy and momentum up, and provides you with the strength you might need when the going gets tough. Doing it all alone doesn't make you a hero, so why don't you...

Solution #4: Get a coach, and join or create a group of people who are in the same situation (building a business) as you. You've got tons of options here; either join an existing group, or start your own. You can work with a coach, or find a buddy who will provide reciprocal coaching. Not many rules to this solution, except that the support must be consistent and regular (ideally, every week for the first six months of your start up or business building process).

Reason #5: You don't truly believe you can do it, so you're not "ready" for clients.

If you feel that you're not really ready, you're not, so stop whining and go back to sitting on the sidelines. But unless you're practicing a trade that requires a specific license that you haven't got, chances are that there are people out there who are willing to accept your level of expertise, no matter how new you are to the business. And the best way to get experience is by doing. So quit making excuses, and find those people! You may have to...

Solution #5: Work for free.

If you're truly so insecure that you feel shy about charging for your services, offer to perform your services for free until you've got some experience, positive feedback and confidence. And don't stop with one or two free clients; get as many as you can. Just one caveat: Set a limit on the free deal, either in number of hours or weeks/months of service. If you've provided adequate value, at least some of your free clients will turn into paying clients, and you'll have proven your value to yourself.

Reason #6: You're not focused on your goals and doing the work.

Maybe you've got your vision and plans documented, but you haven't looked at them in weeks (months?) and you don't recall off the top of your head exactly what your marketing tactics are. This is not good (but you knew that, right)? What you need to do is...

Solution #6: Focus and act!

Constant attention to your goals helps keep your eyes on the prize and the finish line in view. Remember, the greatest threat to progress is inertia. Keep your goals visible (in a notebook on your desk, posted by your computer, etc.) and do at least one task that is designed to move you toward your goal (this would be one of your marketing tactics) every day (yes, I really mean every day!), not just when you feel like it. Your progress may be slow, but the good news is that a slow and steady accumulation of small tasks will eventually get you where you want to be.

Reason #7: You don't know who your best client would be.

If you're still stuck in that rookie trap of thinking that "everyone in the world" would want your service, it's time for a dose of reality. The bottom line is that if you can't identify the person who would benefit the most from your service, then you may never get a clientele worth having. The best cure for that is to...

Solution #7: Create a profile of your best client.

Start by asking yourself this question: Who would benefit most from my services, and why? You want to know the age, gender, income level, interests and other defining characteristics so that you can find and speak directly to that person in your marketing efforts. If you've got a good idea who your best client is, but you're not sure, then interview a dozen or so people who fit the profile you've developed, and find out from them what their greatest concerns and needs are regarding your product or service. If you still haven't got enough information, then keep asking questions until you get some answers, or consider working with a coach or buddy to tease out the information.

Reason #8: You've tried a bunch of things, but nothing seems to work.

Maybe you tried a postcard, but that didn't work as well as you had hoped. Or you put up a web site, but nobody's visiting, or if they are, they're not calling you. Or perhaps you ran an ad once, but nothing much came of it. Knock knock! Who's there? Reality calling! You're not handing out free $100 bills, you're marketing, so that means you've got to...

Solution #8: Give your plans time to work.

If you're going to do something only once, you'd best be sure that that the offer is so compelling that people will break down your door to get it. What works best in the long run is repetition and consistency. If you think a tactic is good, then give it three months or so before you abandon it. Did you know that most people do not respond until they've seen a message at least seven times, and that most ads require 27 (yes, 27!) impressions before they are acted upon? You will be bored with your marketing long before your clients are, so when you make good plans, stick with them until they stop working, and don't dump them before they start!

Reason #9: You don't ask for the business.

You expect people to ask you to work for them, but that's not the way it works, pumpkin. Most people aren't mind readers, so your potential clients won't know that you want to work with them unless you say so. I know you don't want to hear this, but what you need to do is...

Solution #9: Ask for the business.

Remember back in the olden days when you were a young jobseeker? What was the one thing that you were told to do at the end of the interview? That's right, express your interest in the job, and if you were bold enough, ask for the job. It worked for me back then, and it still does today. Let it work for you, too.

Reason #10: You're letting fears get in your way.

If this is true of you, you certainly have my sympathy. Anything new can be intimidating and scary, but please believe me when I say that once you start doing what you need to do, you'll be too busy to remember to be fearful. If your fears become overwhelming, perhaps it's time to consider the services of a mental health professional. But if those fears are just fears of the unknown, all you need to do is...

Solution #10: Get over yourself.

You are neither the first nor the last person to start a small business, so stop thinking about your poor little baby self and start thinking about all those people (clients) whose lives you are going to enrich with your wonderful products or services. When you start focusing on your clients rather than your own petty fears, your business will take a quantum leap forward, and you'll feel a bit sheepish when you remember what a scaredy cat you were when you first started.

By Veronika (Ronnie) Noize
Photography by Malize

© Veronika Noize 2003. All rights reserved. This article was written by Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach. Ronnie's web site is a comprehensive marketing resource for small office/home office business professionals. For free marketing resources including articles and valuable marketing tools, visit her web site at http://www.VeronikaNoize.com, or email her at Ronnie@VeronikaNoize.com.


Creative Marketing for Interior Designers: Post Card Campaigns

Piotr Lewandowski
Postcard Marketing : Big success at a Low Price

Marketing is the process of making customers aware of products and services, attracting new customers to a product or service, keeping existing customers interested in a product or service, building and maintaining a customer base for a product or service.

Marketing includes the activities of listening to customer needs, assessing the competitive landscape and then designing and creating products and services accompanied by messages that shape audience perceptions, leading to opportunities for revenue.

The primary objective of marketing is to deliver products and services to the right audience at the right price and right time, thereby increasing brand loyalty.

Now we are clear with meaning of marketing. We have immense mediums to market & promote our businesses. Cost, speed and response rates are key attributes in any campaign.

The modern marketing era has introduced many levels of promotion. However, TV ads,  newspapers, magazines and celebrities are considered in heavier & more expensive mediums. If you are looking for less expensive, effective and speedy mediums, send your good news to your customers through postcards.

"Any business. Any service. Any product. Any target." – is a simple definition of promoting through postcard marketing.

Postcard marketing is a key promotion medium for small and middle scale firms and retailers to attract a large customer base.

Since the early days, postcard marketing has been a  favorite for guerilla marketers. Why?

1. Postcards are the fastest, easiest, most reliable way to dramatically increase your sales and profits without spending an extra dime on advertising or promotion.

2. Postcards are eye-catching. A beautiful, full-color, glossy postcard is not going in the trash without first being read.

3. Postcards don't need to be opened. They're "naked" mail. No more trying to write envelope copy to get your prospects and customers to see what's inside.

4. Postcards are 'guerrilla marketing' at its finest - they target your customers one-by-one instead of mass advertising.

5. Postcards are associated with happy memories. We all like getting postcards from friends and family on holidays. Postcards create a pleasant emotional response because they are usually received by friends and family.

7. It is hidden from your competitor’s eyes. When you advertise your business anywhere else, your competition knows it. However, when you use postcards to communicate with your customers, it is directed to them and your competition will have no idea.

8. If you are asking recipients to bring the card into your store for a special discount then it is easy to track campaign success rate also.

9. Postcard marketing is affordable, even for the smallest of businesses.

10. Cost of 5,000 postcards sized of 4.25"x6" be somewhere $200. Isn’t it cost effective to convey your message?

11. Postcards achieve almost 100 percent readership and generate a high rate of response.

Now you've agreed to send postcards to your client pool but what will you send inside?

1. Thanks letter

2. Gift Certificates & coupons

3. Sales after service

4. New services & products

5. Make them your favorites and invite them for special sale

6. Announcing your web presence

7. Special days – Holidays, birthdays & festivals

8. Reminders

9. To be in touch

10. Gratitude. Make your customers part of your every success. Thanks them on your success or awards.

11. Invite customers to special events

12. The firm's move to a larger office

What do you need to promote yourself through postcard marketing?

1. Identify your best customers or target market. Manage customers database and details on their first visit. Your first letter may be to invite them to your shop or nearest show room but later on it should be personalized.

2. Print beautifully designed & full color postcards.

3. Hire an advertising & promotion agency if needed.

4. Use online media or web to promote through e-cards.

5. Make your marketing plan genuinely.

6. You can use Microsoft Publisher to design postcard your own way.

7. Use portal like needpostcards.com to design cards.

Postcard marketing is an unconventional marketing method intended to get maximum results from minimal resources. Thus, it is advisable to use postcard marketing as a healthy tool to promote yourself. Before closing, here's the caveat: Sending too many postcards may negatively affect your reputation. Use it for select times and  the  right place.

Happy Message Dropping!

By Jay C.

5 Cures for Self Doubt & "The Little Ol' Me" Syndrome

How Great Are You?

I was talking with a client recently who was wondering out loud if she was really worth her salt. "What if I can't help this client? What if they realize I don't have an advanced degree? Do I really have something of value to offer? Why would anyone buy a book that I write? I've only been doing this a few years."

This woman had what I call "But It's Just Me" Syndrome. In other words, she was thinking: When will they find out I'm a fake - it's just little ole' me?

Of course, she isn't a fake. In fact, she's light years from it. But her comments stood out to me because it showed me that even a business owner who is closing in on doing a million dollars in business this year can struggle with the same self-doubt that others do who are not yet at that level. I see it over and over. Many of us share the same thoughts, feelings and internal chatter. I believe that we are all more alike than we are different. Our commonalities are so much greater than we know.

If you find yourself suffering from "But It's Just Me" Syndrome, here are some practical things that you can do to quickly distance yourself from energy-depleting thoughts and get you back on track so you can continue to serve the people you are meant to serve and enjoy your life:

1. Start hoarding: Keep every card, note, email and tweet that comes to you expressing gratitude. Post them on a bulletin board or somewhere you'll see them frequently. If you get too many to keep out in clear view, place them in a binder. The great thing about having a binder is that you can take it to trade shows to help showcase your brilliance or just read through it from time to time to give yourself a boost.

2. Fill in the blank: "The results I help my clients achieve are..." Make a list of 30-40 results you have helped your clients achieve. The more specific you can get with this, the better. Take it in and realize how much you have given those clients. Perhaps it's more organization, peace of mind, more money, clarity, focus, a strategy, a product they need, etc.

3. Read your testimonials: This is a very valuable tip, and it's reason enough to collect testimonials! Yes, you should use testimonials in your marketing, but when you start to question your value or if it's time to raise your rates, read through your testimonials and take note of how much you have helped others accomplish. It's a real eye-opener.

4. Tally up the numbers: Start looking at your numbers. For example, how many people have you helped in the last year? How many new subscribers joined your ezine list? How many referrals have you gotten? Remember that people will not pay money to work with you, read your ezine or put their own reputations on the line if you're not great at what you do. These statistics tell a compelling story about you and the value you bring to your community.

5. Pay it forward: Remember that most people you meet who are in business for themselves will struggle with "But It's Just Me" Syndrome from time-to-time. In other words, you're not the only one with occasional self doubt. Take a few minutes and write someone else a note or testimonial each month. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Specifically, tell them about the impact they have had on your life or business. Writing a letter like this does a couple of wonderful things. It allows you to feel and express gratitude while also lifting someone's spirits. It's a win/win!

These simple ideas can really give you a huge dose of motivation, remind you of how great you really are and add some pep to your step when you need it most.

By Meredith Liepelt
(c) 2009 Meredith Liepelt
Image by Lisa Mckown

© 2011 Meredith Liepelt, Rich Life Marketing Meredith Liepelt, President of Rich Life Marketing, offers a free report called "101 Ways to Attract Ideal Clients, Build Your List and Raise Your Profile," which can be downloaded immediately at RichLifeMarketing.com.


10 Ways to Gain Publicity for Your Design Firm

Top Ways to Gain Free Publicity

Get free publicity for your business using the ideas listed here. Refresh yourself with the knowledge that sometimes the best things in life really are free.

Release a new or improved product

Something that has legitimate value over competing products will make news and spread like wildfire. Innovation thrives on free publicity, so put on your thinking cap and make some groundbreaking discoveries.

Celebrate your anniversary

Milestones call for special recognition. Make a special anniversary logo for your business website, send out press releases and offer special promotions and the publicity will be yours for free. Get the word out when you have completed five years, ten years, twenty five years, etc. in business.

Bring on a new team member

Local newspapers often publish news about local businesses, so send in an announcement about your new hire. Highlight the special skills and experience that person brings to the table and include a photo. Additionally, have your new hire write a blog, email blast or business website column to get to know your customers.

Offer something worthwhile for free

Technically, this method is not really free, but the publicity you get is free. Service companies can offer a free consultation or inspection. Software companies can offer a free trial of their software. Restaurants can offer a free meal or dish. Buy one, get one free deals offer additional publicity. Also, a free and functional promotional item bearing the name of your company will get your business name exposed to the public for a long time.

Take a poll

Media outlets always look for surprising correlations or indications of new social trends. Even a survey that shows what people actually do with your products can make a newsworthy report.

Perform a stunt

You don't have to jump over school buses on a motorcycle to get attention. Camp on a billboard, eat doughnuts on a rooftop, or find another crazy thing to do that will get you and your business in the news.

Provide free knowledge

Those who have expertise in a particular business or industry can write free columns for the local newspaper. Radio and television stations also call upon subject matter experts to provide relevant commentary about a current event. Get your name out there along with your employees' so your business can demonstrate its expertise while the public is listening.

Get involved in charity

By giving and working with local and national organisations, you build community credibility. When they see your charitable activities listed on your business website, they know your company has more than just profits on their mind. Also, charities often list event sponsors in their advertising, providing even more free exposure.

By Ruth Williams
Photography by Navarone


IDRA Financing Quicktips!

Financing Quicktips:

Here are some creative business financing ideas that will help you get the money you want.

Savings Account: Here we are talking about your own savings account. Before you dip into your kitty of savings, consider the following: How much savings have you got in that account? Are you dependant on that money for your day to day expenses? How confident are you that your business venture will succeed? Be realistic while you make these considerations. If the savings account is not something you depend upon and you can afford to forget about the money you take from it should you incur a loss, then go ahead and take the money from it. The upside to this is that you are taking an interest free loan from yourself and saving quite a bit of money on that end. You can even repay this loan in variable installments, and not suffer penalties for it.

Family and Friends: This is also a good option for you to acquire funds for your business venture. Depending upon what you discuss with your friends and family members, you can choose the method of repayment and also if you are liable to pay interest. The downside to this is that if you cannot repay the money back in the time that you promised, you stand to lose a good relative or friend.

Partners: Another good manner of generating funding is to take on partners in your business. This is again a matter of choice. And your partner must have the money and the inclination to invest into your business.

Loans: This may not be a very creative idea, but some banks offer very interesting kind of personal and business loans. It is worth a shot to go have a look at these options. You may just strike a gold mine and find the perfect method of financing your business.

Sell the Junk: If you have any unused premises, or unused inventory lying around, or unused trademarks and licensing rights, it is a good idea to sell them to those who need them. This is a good method of recycling your own assets to create finance for your business. The downside is that this option cannot work for a new business venture.

Sell Shares: Selling the shares of your company is a time-honored method of creating finances for your company. If you have a new company, you can do it. You can also do it if you are an old company. You can also sell the shares to your employees. Talk to your CPA and get more details.

Advertise: This sounds silly, but sometimes an advertisement can also generate interested financers for your project. Putting word out there ensures that you generate interest from persons looking for a good investment opportunity. It also gives you a chance to advertise about your company along with it.

By Madhavi Ghare