Whether a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, you must promote your business; it’s your survival. We’ve heard, "It takes money to make money," but how do you market a product or service with no cash? If you’re starting a small or home-based business, try these tips:

Use your Voice. Announce to friends, neighbors, relatives, internet social networks and former coworkers what you do. Tell them of your product or service even if they’re not your target client. I utilize the free social networks on facebook and twitter to alert others to my speaking services or upcoming booksignings. Add a promotional line to your fax cover sheet, E-mails, or envelopes. I include "Brenda Nixon, your speaker for family events" on my fax cover sheets. My E-mail signature line always has some message about upcoming books or free discipline tips on my website.

Give Away. It’s a paradox; to stimulate income you must give away. We recognize this in supermarket samples and manufacturer coupons. If your business is making candles, donate one to be an event’s door prize. If you’re developing your massage therapy business, donate a gift certificate for a free massage to a health fair.

Move Outside. Get out of your comfort zone and involved with civic organizations, university events, or church groups that are unfamiliar to you. Join associations that force you to mingle with new people.

Do the Obvious. Get business cards, stationary, and laptop. These tax-deductible items make you feel professional. If you don’t have the revenue for business cards try www.vistaprint.com, where cards are free.

Follow Through. After contacting a prospect, follow up with a "Thanks for your time" card. Then, allow a reasonable period to pass and reconnect with her for a purchasing decision. Also, send periodic thanks to current customers. Does this courtesy translate into smart marketing? You decide. Would you rehire the speaker who sends you a note of gratitude and offers to serve you again or the one who took the check and ran?

Be Patiently Persistence. I often read this Shakespeare quote taped to my computer, "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast." When discouraged because my E-mails, calls, or contracts aren’t returned, I read his counsel. It gives me the tenacity to keep trying.

Much of entrepreneurial promotion is creative energy and practice. Both of these are affordable.

©Copyright 2008, Brenda Nixon.

Author's Bio: 

Brenda Nixon partners with organizations to attract and empower parents. She is a popular keynote speaker on parenting/family issues and the author of The Birth to Five Book (Revell). More on her bio and book are at: www.BrendaNixon.com.