The Emergence of the Teen Business Owner

Emergence

When I graduated from high school a mere ten years ago, no one told me I could be a business owner. They told me to go to college, get a degree, make money. That was it. Today I don’t profess to have any business savvy. I wonder if that would have been true if programs like Entrepreneurship Week, USA had been around at that time.

Starting February 24 and running through March 3, this event hosted by The Kaufman Foundation of Kansas City will hold nationwide programs to bring education of the business world to American high schools (Hofman, Mike. “Reading, Writing, Running a Company.” Inc. Feb. 2007: 21-22.). As a group that constantly funds projects to educate the young on real world business concepts, The Kaufman Foundation hopes to introduce the idea of being an entrepreneur to the next generation of high school graduates.

For this article, Hofman interviewed Carl J. Schramm, the head of The Kaufman Foundation of Kansas City and author of the book “The Entrepreneurial Imperative.” According to Schramm, the idea of holding a week to focus teens on business education isn’t original to the states. Great Britain already has an Enterprise Week supported by the BBC and already utilizing thousands of programs across the country. One of these is to bring each high school student to visit a young company.

While up until now most high school students haven’t been given a passkey into the world of business, Schramm finds it encouraging that they know about the minds behind big name web projects like MySpace and Facebook. He admits that not every student will be an entrepreneur. It is a big step in education when business ownership can be taught to students as a possibility for their own future.

In a related article (Sauer, Patrick J.”A portfolio of young business owners.” Inc. Feb. 2007: 23-24) Patrick Sauer turns the spotlight on six high school students that have already started their trek into the business world. These 17 and 18 year olds are already well into their own businesses and probably know more about the workings of the entrepreneurial world than most adults.

As you may have guessed, most of these teens have found their portal to success through the World Wide Web. Laima Tazmin, a 17 year old from New York City, started her own website design company, LAVT, as a freshman. She currently manages “20 ongoing projects” and has gone through “10 freelance designers.” She hasn’t even started college yet.

Another New York City student, 18 year old Omar Faruk, is the CEO of a Web company that helps nonprofit customers with limited resources. Started three years ago, Bluestream was the product of Omar’s long hours at the computer learning web design. Now his biggest worry is making the grades to get into college.

Then there’s Jake Fisher and Weina Scott, 17 year olds from Miami and Rochester, Minnesota respectively. They’re online friendship turned into a business partnership when they developed Switchpod, a podcasting company that sells packages for about $30 each, or gives them away free to companies who take out an advertisement with them. Scott was already a seasoned entrepreneur at the time, having started her own website design business at 13.

The internet is not, however, a must have for a young entrepreneur. Derin Coleman and Rayneshia Rodgers, 17 year olds from Oakland, CA and friend since the 7th grade got their start in the business world by manufacturing chrome belt buckles. Bling Buckles sell for $25 a piece and are sold mainly at functions held by BULD, a Bay Area program that does its own part to teach low income schools the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.

Together, these two articles made for a powerful read. The idea of teenagers being given access to the business world so early shows that steps are indeed being taken to broaden educational horizons. While not every teen will find their niche in the business world, it gives them a wider range of options to choose from post-graduation. The education itself is also a confidence booster.

Had I been given some information on entrepreneurship, I would like to think that I’d have at least a little more sense of what happens in the business world. The teenagers profiled in the article are amazing, not only because they’ve started their own businesses at such a young age, but because they’ve taken the chance to immerse themselves into the adult world. While others are avoiding responsibility, these kids are embracing it, giving me hope that not all high school students are the slackers that media tends to make them out to be.

I hope that Entrepreneurship Week, USA is only the first of many companies to step up and start educating youth about the business world. For parents with teenagers, I highly recommend checking out the website (see link in the reference section) or keeping an eye open in your own area for entrepreneur education programs. If today’s youth is our country’s future, programs like these are a good way to ensure that our future is a positive one.

Should You Never Get a Job?

One personal growth writer, Steve Pavlina, has recently written an article as to why we should never get a job. The title certainly attracted my and a lot of other people’s attention. He offered ten unique reasons why we should never accept a traditional salaried position, and instead be entrepreneurial and create your own job. Of course he’s not advocating being lazy and leeching off government programs and the wealth of others, but he is suggesting that each and every one of us find a way to create incomes for ourselves, rather than being an employee.

Pavlina argues that being a self employee or a business owner is always the way to go, but if you read Cash Flow Quadrant, by Robert Kiyosaki, you’ll know that this option is just not for everybody. There are some people who are much more security oriented and like working for a big company with a nice stable income. For example, I know an individual who graduated college about 6 years ago and have had the same full time job. He has been writing very specialized computer software, and enjoys what he does thoroughly. He is compensated very well, and does not have any entrepreneurial leanings, and that’s just fine for him.

Pavlina does make a very excellent point though, we should not just accept our salaries, pay for all of our living expenses, and just go through life without a plan. Pavlina stressed that we should focus on generating secondary incomes which do not require us to do work, this is also known as passive income. We can generate passive income through real-estate, mutual funds, and the like. If we keep putting a lot of money in these things over long periods of time, we will generate more and more passive income, until we generate so much passive income that our passive income exceeds our salaried income. This is when we become independently wealthy.

Being self-employed is simply not for everyone. You need to have certain characteristics in order to be a successful entrepreneur. You have to be able to accept risks, be willing to fail, venture into the unknown. You have to be able to work to improve your knowledge on a regular basis, by learning about business, attending seminars. You have to learn to make quick decisions and have a strong business instinct. If you have these characteristics, creating and owning a small business might be the right way to go, but you still can be successful being an employee.

Business Management: Size-Related Issues in MSMEs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operationalization

In the entrepreneurial dynamism pervading in the country, start-ups and growing enterprises operate side by side with those that have acquired a certain semblance of stability. Among all these, entrepreneurs, owner/managers as well as professional managers are confronted with the inevitable challenge to manage people. One of the most difficult problems facing companies involves attracting, using and retaining competent manpower. Studies have revealed that differences between small and large companies are manifest in the area of people management.

Hiring

Any firm appreciates the need for competent people in the organization. Traditionally, big businesses get the more competent people because of the offer of better compensation, employment stability and opportunity for growth. The smaller enterprises with weaker recruiting ability tend to make do with the leftover of employable people.

This situation has been slowly reversing, as large businesses could not sustain high wages and tenure of employment, much less growth space, as skills and capabilities are shifting toward knowledge qualifications rather than physical skills.

Hence, small companies do as well as large ones in practically all but the top jobs which favor big companies. This requires the entrepreneur to be a multitasking manager who must know all functional areas of management at the start-up stage. An assistant who may be recruited must likewise be a multitasker whose salary must be afforded by the smaller enterprise.

On the other hand, some high potential managers may opt to work with smaller enterprises where there are better opportunities for recognition. Also, the small firm offers greater challenges and a variety of experiences than the larger ones.

The challenge to the owner/manager is the demand on his time to find the right persons for the positions generated by a growing business. Mistakes are often committed due to time pressure, and such errors in finding the right person for a position may not be afforded by operating costs. Advertising is expensive and out-of-pocket costs in conducting employee search for qualified candidates are difficult to estimate, but must be weighed against getting the wrong person.

Smaller enterprises suffer more as owner/managers tend to underestimate and underutilize the available human resources.

One of the ways to improve personnel performance is by assigning tasks that will raise the contributions of all personnel to the limits of their potential through motivation and recognition. Although there are narrower ranges of competence from which to draw, the small firm will have to perform most, if not all, the functions in the large organization. This provides opportunities for people to develop and project their capabilities for other tasks.

As the enterprise grows, opportunities for promotion to more responsible positions may be considered. Careful assessment of potentials must be exercised to avoid operationalizing Peter’s principle in promoting anyone to a level of incompetence.

Retaining

Keeping the good staff is another hurdle to overcome. As they learn the ropes and tricks of the business, their value to the enterprise has appreciated and become attractive to other companies in need of able people.

The pressures of growth in terms of new issues and problems which constantly emerge call for people who can be alert and adaptable to constant change. Slowly, the staff in the business acquires greater value as multitaskers and must be matched by commensurate compensation and recognition. The owner! manager must be prepared to share certain authorities, if not business ownership, to keep the now above-average personnel, or risk their departure to a competitor or becoming a competitor themselves.

Personnel who cannot keep up with the business growth must also be recognized. Some supervisors work very well with two or three people but find difficulty in managing 15 or 20 persons. Constant monitoring and observation become imperative to anticipate stagnant managers who probably need reassignment or reinforcement.

Larger sized enterprises do not feel the need for retention as they may have more people than necessary. A few extra persons on partial work load or some actually performing redundant tasks manage to get away until the cost pinch comes around. Retrenchment and redundancy retirement are then resorted to, usually to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Goals Setting for Small Business: Managing Action Plan, Target Dates, Actual and Intended Performance

Goals Setting for Small Business

One way for small business owners or entrepreneurs to manage and improve chances for success is to set goals that will accomplish the business strategies through various business activities. For each goal, a plan of action should be indicated and target dates specified for each goal’s achievement. As each target date is due, actual performance can be compared with intended performance.

Criteria of Effective Goals

You can increase the chances of your goals being reached successfully if you can follow the following criteria:

Goals are Written

In business jargon, a goal that isn’t in writing isn’t a goal, as management experts will say. By writing down the things a business owner wants accomplished, goals are realized. Written rules not only clarify but enable to keep focus attainment of the business objectives.

Goals are Measurable

Goals are measured to ensure that business activities are aligned to business objectives. For example, as a form of measurement, after a year or two, the criteria for judging whether goals have been attained could be through sales volume, profits, losses, memberships in specific organizations, write-ups in newspapers and magazines, and so on.

Goals are Scheduled

Each goal set should have a specific time frame for its completion. If a date needs to be moved forward or pushed back, it can be done. Having a completion date to shoot for will make it much easier to schedule or re-schedule the work needed to accomplish goals and to monitor progress.

Goals are Realistic

If goals are set unrealistically, a business owner is setting himself or herself up to failure. Few people become instant millionaires or earn enough to retire within six months of starting their business. A profile of similar business owners in the field being pursued can be studied to find out how long it took them to do it, bearing in mind that circumstances vary from one owner to another.

Goals are Worthwhile

In order to motivate, to achieve, or to be worth working for, goals must be worthwhile. If goals require stretch or extra efforts, reward should be provided when achieved.

Participative Goals

This is important to ensure commitment. No business wants to fail. Although imposed goals may be accepted, they will not receive as much commitment as when those responsible for achieving them are participants in setting them.

Flexible Goals

This is in case of conditions that change dramatically beyond control in which predetermined goals become unattainable. When this happens, goals should be re-evaluated in fairness to those responsible for achieving them.

Finally, here’s a tip on priorities:

Priorities need to be set after goals are determined. It is possible to have clearly defined goals, but still not have meaningful priorities because goals haven’t been ranked in order of importance.

U.S. Pledges $6 Billion for Small Business Exports

Small Business Exports

It is the Obama administration’s goal to double exports in five years according to Mark Drajem in his article, “Locke Pledges Aid for Small U. S. Business Exports, Update Report 1,”, Bloomberg Business Week issue. This increased emphasis on small business and exports should add two million jobs to the economy.

The additional money that is now targeted to small businesses for export financing and the new emphasis being placed on unfair trade barriers to the United States should make a positive difference according to Secretary Locke.

Doubling Exports

Locke feels that doubling exports in five years is entirely realistic within the framework of the U.S. strategy. This strategy entails the increase of funding to $6 Billion a year from $4 Billion for small businesses through the U.S. Import-Export Bank; increasing the number of foreign service officials in fast growing nations like China, India and Brazil; and fighting unfair trade barriers to U.S. made products.

This new emphasis on increasing exports by the small business sector, according to Locke, should address an economic blind spot in the U.S. economy. In recent years, the U.S. has allowed international competition to weaken its manufacturing superiority. This increase of export funding and greater emphasis on combating unfair trade barriers to American manufactured products should make a positive difference.

Trade Agreements

Finishing trade agreements with South Korean, Panama, and Columbia is vital to the U.S.’s export expansion according to Secretary Locke. These three accords were negotiated by the Bush administration and are awaiting congressional approval. U.S. exports to South Korea will jump $11 billion if the deal is approved by congress according to the U. S. International Trade Commission.

Ed Gresser of the Democratic Leadership Council and Howard Rosen, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for Economics, feel the goal of doubling exports in five years can be achieved. Gresser indicated that increasing promotion alone won’t achieve the goal. The new emphasis on having a strong export program should include countries with huge mass markets like China, India, Canada, and countries in Europe.

Yuan is Key

Peter Morci, an economist at the University of Maryland, believes the U.S. must crack the China market in order to double exports. Mr. Morci feels China must raise the value of their currency, the yuan. Obama has vowed to get much tougher with enforcing trade rules with China.

Obama will also be pressing China on increasing the value of their yuan. Marc Drajem reports that the yuan has been pegged at 6.83 per dollar since July of 2014. China has ignored calls for raising the yuan from the U.S. and several European countries.

Small Business and Exports

Increased government funding for small business exports is creating a vital jobs engine for the United States. President Obama is aiming for an additional 2 million jobs in five years. New emphasis by the U.S. on fighting against trade barriers that are unfair to American manufactured products and pressures being placed on China regarding their yuan should significantly enhance U.S. exports.

Free Software to Reduce IT Costs for your Small Business

Free Software to Reduce IT Costs for your Small Business

Anyone who has looked in to starting a small business knows it can be somewhat daunting when you start looking in to the potential costs of IT. It can be far too easy to listen to that salesman telling you that you need to invest large amounts of money to do the most simple of tasks.

If you are willing to spend a bit of time researching alternatives away from the companies that want to close a sale there really is a great deal of free software available to reduce your costs as a new or existing business.

Just because a task is being done in an office shouldn’t make the necessary software triple in price when compared to a home product. This is a list of three pieces of freely available software that are sure to optimise your office setup whilst reducing IT expenditure.

 Google Sync for Blackberry, iPhone and Outlook

Syncing your Outlook calendar and contacts wirelessly with your iPhone or Blackberry without subscribing to an expensive third party has always been a dream. This dream is now a reality with the efficiency of the Google Sync application.

Create a free G-mail account for each of your staff, and then download the free application to each computer. After this all you need to download is the necessary and freely available plug-in for your Blackberry or iPhone through the App Store on the device.

You can configure the sync relationship to sync your calendar and contacts from your Outlook to your handhelds and vice versa. To simplify, both devices will keep the latest information, and with sync intervals adjustable to a few minutes it is a clear cost reducer.

Skype Manager

Skype has recently started concentrating on corporate clients a great deal more and with this increased demand for business implementation they have released the Skype Manager. This is a great piece of software that incorporates a useful amount of business features. Conference calls, Video Conferencing, Office Instant Messenger, Voicemail, Call Divert and due to the fact that it uses VOIP (Voice over IP) technology through your company internet the savings on calls each month can be surprising.

You can even setup a standard office number for clients to call without them knowing you aren’t using a conventional telephone system. The Skype Manager allows centralised access to manage each of your employee’s calls and available credit. A large amount of small and large businesses are moving to Skype and other VOIP services to reduce costs. Why can’t you? All you need are some decent wireless headsets.

TAS Basics Free Accounting Software

Some of the accountancy software on the market comes at a high cost and in most cases a small business won’t necessarily have a need for all of the costly features that come with this cost. TAS Basics is a completely free piece of accountancy software that the developers claim they will never charge for.

All they ask is that if you ever need more features to consider them for the more extensive packages they sell. It comes with all the accounting essentials such as the ability to reconcile your accounts and keep track of invoices. It even holds a client database so you can stay up to date with money owed to you and money that your business owes.

This really is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing your IT expenditure. Try to really spare some time to investigate upcoming costs. A good idea is to research other businesses on and offline to discover what solution they have in place. If you use this level of cautiousness with each aspect of your IT you will successfully reduce costs within your business indefinitely.

Small Business Advice: How to Spot Difficult Customers

Small Business Advice

Small businesses depend on regular customers who return to the business again and again for services. And in order to grow, entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for new customers in need of the services the business offers. But one bad customer–one who doesn’t pay bills, who makes impossible demands or who requires inordinate amounts of employee time— can drain the business. Learning to spot these difficult customers ahead of time and head off problems can save more time and resources for the kinds of clients that will help the business grow and succeed.

The Micro-Manager

This person wants to control every detail of the project. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a customer who cares about a project and wants to be involved, but presumably the client hires a contractor because of the contractor’s expertise. Customers who demand constant accounting, who want numerous meetings and frequent detailed reports may eat up more time than the project warrants.

Signs the Customer May be a Micro-Manage:

  • Insistence on numerous (unpaid) meetings before the client is willing to make a commitment.
  • Frequent changes/additions to the details of the project in the planning phases.
  • Insistence that things be done the client’s way, even when the client isn’t an expert.

The Penny Pincher

Everyone wants to save money these days, and to survive, small businesses must be competitive. But stingy clients may be reluctant to pay bills on time or in full, and can leave a contractor with more headaches than the job is worth.

Signs the Customer May be a Penny Pincher:

  • Insistence on ignoring regulations, permits, or safety in the interest of saving money.
  • Excessive cutting corners.
  • Numerous complaints about rates, supply costs, etc.

The Scam Artist

Most businesses are honest, but occasionally contractors run into scam artists who set out from the beginning to cheat them. Some people think they can take advantage of small businesses, which may be more desperate for work or who may not have a corporate legal department behind them. Scammers lie, don’t pay the bills, and may disappear without notice.

Signs a Customer May Be a Scam Artist:

  • Has a bad reputation with other contractors.
  • Changes stories often or is evasive about basic information such as where to send bills or who will be paying.
  • Frequent turnover of employees, addresses or bank accounts.
  • Unwilling to offer references.

Solutions for Problem Clients:

  • Refuse to do business with them. Especially avoid scam artists.
  • Ask for partial payment up front.
  • Build in extra hours/money in the contract to allow for more meetings, phone calls, time spent on certain jobs.
  • Detail all expectations and consequences in the contract.
  • Call their bluff. Some micro managers and penny pinchers will back down if alerted from the start that their behavior is unacceptable.

Small business owners should always trust their instincts when dealing with clients. If the client sets off alarms early in the relationship, it might be best to look for business elsewhere.

Why The Power of Ideas is the New Business Sensation

The Power of Ideas is the New Business Sensation

Created by The Economic Times of India during the economic downturn of 2009, The Power of Ideas scheme aims to create entrepreneurs and help them to develop successful businesses through investment and mentoring.

The Power of Ideas Helps Entrepreneurs

More than 12,500 business hopefuls submitted ideas to The Power of Ideas scheme in 2015. Of these, 1,000 potential entrepreneurs received mentoring and training from business leaders and venture capitalists. To date, The Power of Ideas scheme has fully funded 20 new business ideas across India.

The Economic Times set up The Power of Ideas program to overturn the traditional business wisdom that says companies should lie low and ride out the economic storm.

 The Power of Ideas scheme encourages business hopefuls “to break free of the corporate chains suppressing their entrepreneurial energy and write their own destiny.”

The Power of Ideas 2016 Program

The Power of Ideas program returned in 2016, this time backed by the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology. The government is helping to fund the scheme as well as offering its own knowledge and expertise to help the country’s next generation of tycoons.

India’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship also supports The Power of Ideas. It has created a support network for mentoring entrepreneurs, developing them to the point of being “investor ready.”

How “The Power of Ideas” Works

The Power of Ideas is a four stage process:

  • Submission: The Power of Ideas applicants fill in a business summary format online. The Power of Ideas offers free “startup sessions” to help entrepreneurs with their application. Submissions are welcome from all types of business, from established companies with a good idea to inventors developing product prototypes.
  • Mentoring and Elevator Pitches: Hundreds of experiences evaluators check through all submissions to The Power of Ideas scheme. Approved applicants receive one-to-one mentoring from business experts to give them the necessary skills for pitching their ideas to would-be investors.
  • Incubation: The most promising applicants from The Power of Ideas elevator pitch stage get their business ideas developed at the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad, a business incubator, for 10 days. This is an all expenses paid residential course.
  • Felicitation Dinner: The lucky applicants to The Power of Ideas who make it to this stage attend a networking event and dinner with potential investors. They are guaranteed funds from venture capitalists and angel investors to help them develop their business idea.

The Power of Ideas is a unique partnership between government, academia and business. The collaboration has proved so successful that other nations may follow suit and set up their own version of The Power of Ideas.

The IRS Website–Small Business Expenses

The IRS Website--Small Business Expenses

A trick of the trade for a tax professional in a super hurry is to “Google” the tax subject and then select the IRS link that rises to the top of the Google search. The IRS website is very large. The entire Internal Revenue Manual (their in-house training and instructions) is posted on their website. Learning to use their advanced search options is helpful, but can still be a time-consuming endeavor. There are 15 areas into which a taxpayer can narrow its search for information on the IRS website.

Most Taxpayers Do Not Know About the Business Section of the IRS Website

The IRS has a series of Small Business Video and Audio Presentations pertinent to many current tax issues. The page can be found at this link http:/www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=97726,00.html and speaks for itself. There are topics ranging from business income, cancelled debt, recordkeeping, closing a business, employment taxes, employing family members, the IRS collection process, online auctions—to list a few. These presentations are well-done and when possible (if not limited by the complexity of the topic), very complete.

On this page also is a link to the “Small Business Tax Workshop Video.” This is a good video, AND in conjunction with the other videos on this page PLUS a taxpayer’s consultation with its tax professional, should give many a small business owner (self-employed or corporate) a good basis for knowing what is needed to keep the records organized and claim their legitimate deductions.

Finding Other Information Relating to Self-Employment on the IRS Website

Reading the menu bar of this busy website is helpful. Underneath the IRS logo in the upper left corner there is a ribbon-type menu. It starts with “Individuals,” followed by “Businesses.” Using this menu bar can save a searcher time.

Once the searcher (or taxpayer) clicks “Businesses” on the ribbon menu, a set of business types appears immediately below. Then also notice on the left are several other links within the website relating to topics that may be of interest to small business owners.

The Taxpayer Is Responsible for the Veracity of Its Federal Income Tax Return.

Learning how to find relevant information on the IRS website is an art because of the size of the website. Learning how to zoom in on the topics of interest to a business taxpayer can be very helpful to a taxpayer in expanding upon the knowledge it gains from short articles on the Internet.

Marketing a Small Business for Little to No Cost

Marketing a Small Business for Little to No Cost

Many people associate marketing with television, radio and print ads, but marketing includes any tools or strategies used to spread awareness and good word-of-mouth about your business. Potential clients or customers typically need to see your business name several times before they will be willing to pick up the phone and dial your number. Good small business marketing does take time, so don’t expect instant results. Use marketing tools to plants seeds for future business opportunities. It can take three months or more to see results from most low-cost marketing strategies.

Business Marketing Points

Figure out what sets your business apart from the competition. Why would a prospective customer choose your business over other local businesses that provide similar services? Check out the competition. Make a list of all the things that make your business better. These will be your key marketing points.

Media Marketing: Submit Press Releases

Write press releases about anything your business does that is even remotely newsworthy. Submit your press releases to your local community newspaper and area newspapers with wider readership. When newspapers have a small amount of blank space to be filled, they often use press releases to fill that space. You will also be putting your name in front of local media representatives. If a reporter needs to interview someone in your business field, she is more likely to contact you if your name is familiar to her. Did your business donate to a local charity auction? Submit a press release. Do you offer a service no other local business offers? Submit a press release. Are you teaching classes or running a promotion? Submit a press release. If you have a website for your business, publish your press releases to a “news” or “press release” page.

Social Media Marketing

Set up pages on social networking sites solely for your business. Utilize Facebook and Myspace. Update your status at least daily, and list any special offers, sales or promotions. Ask current clients to “follow” or “friend” your business; that way, friends of your current clients will see your information as well. Remember to stay positive in your posts on social networking sites and avoid any political, religious or negative posts or comments. These pages represent your business, not your personal views.

Blog Marketing

Start blogging about your business and the services you provide. For example, if you run a massage therapy practice, write blogs about the different types of massages you provide, what first-time customers should know, and how massage therapy helps with different issues. Create two to three new blog posts each week. Share your blog posts on the social networking sites you created for your business. Use keyword research and search engine optimization to help web users find your blog. If you aren’t confident in your writing skills, find someone to ghostwrite your blog for pay or trade.

Marketing Communications: Newsletters for Clients

You can create an email newsletter that lists any specials, sales or promotions, links to your social networking pages, and information from your blog. Direct this newsletter to current clients and encourage forwarding to anyone who might find the information useful or interesting. If possible, include a special offer, discount or printable coupon that can only be received in the newsletter. Make sure you avoid spamming by always including a link to unsubscribe. Many online services, such as Constant Contact, offer tools to help design a newsletter as well as email database subscription services.

Marketing Communications: Newsletters for Referrers

It may be helpful to create an email newsletter for people who are likely to refer business to you. For example, if you run a massage therapy practice, you may get referrals from chiropractors; direct an email newsletter to local chiropractic care providers and let them know why they should refer their patients to you. Include information from your list of things that make your business better than the competition. If you offer any incentives for referrals, include that information as well.

Marketing with Online Classified Ads

Many people find service providers by searching craigslist.com or other online classified ads. Consider paying the fee to post ads in the appropriate section. Keep your ad short and to the point, but make sure to include information about specials, promotions and sales. Update your ads weekly.

Directory Listing Marketing

Find listings for your business on as many online directories as possible and check them for accuracy and completeness. Claim listings whenever possible. Find your business on online map services and claim those listings as well. Keep the information current.

Marketing with Referral Programs

Word of mouth may be the easiest, least expensive way to increase your client base. Create a referral program to reward current clients for referring new clients to your business. Include an incentive. For example, if you run a massage therapy practice, give the referring customer a discount on his next massage, or offer a free half-hour massage for every five paying referrals. Make sure all current clients are aware of your referral program. Always thank people for referring new customers to you.

Acquire Testimonials for Marketing

Ask current customers for testimonials about your business. Have a form for customers to fill out, and ask them to fill it out before they leave. Send emails to current customers asking for testimonials. Testimonials can be used on your website, blog, social networking sites and online ads. Make sure customers are aware that their testimonials may be published online.