So you've bought the business and everything is going smoothly. Now you want to start building - what do you do?
Marketing is generally an expensive tool to acquire and can also be very time-consuming, especially for a small or medium business. However, it doesn't have to be.
Marcus Markou, BusinessesForSale.com's chairman, has an anecdote to prove it. "I once met a builder in the Accident and Emergency Department after I put a knife through my hand trying to take an avocado stone out," he recalls.
"This builder was there because someone had dropped a breeze block on his foot. By the end of the conversation we had arranged for him to come round to my house and quote for some small building work! Why? Because we talked."
The best form of marketing
Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Talking is free and your mouth is the best form of free marketing you have access to. Talk to everyone you know about what you do. Sure, you may bore the hell out of them but when they need their drains cleaned they'll know exactly who to call!
Don't be embarrassed about getting the word out. Have a small party at your house to celebrate the launch of your business. Let people know what you are doing. Tell everyone you meet what you do, whether you're sitting on the bus, standing in a queue, or down the pub.
Tell all your family and friends about your venture and ask them to ask the people they know if anyone has a drain problem. Put the word out. The fact is this: someone will know someone that needs services you can provide - that's two degrees of separation.
If you have absolutely no funds, then a smart way to drum up work is to contact the competition that exists in your area and offer yourself as a sub-contractor resource. Talking to your competitors is no bad thing when you are starting out.
These companies will have occasions when they simply cannot take on the work and will have to recommend other people. If you can get on that list then work will be put your way. So... talk to everyone you know, everyone you meet, and now talk to the competition!
Knock and run
Another quick way of drumming up business is good old door-to-door. Find a good target area - perhaps an affluent residential zone - and start walking the streets, talking to home owners. It's a game of numbers: knock on 100 doors and hopefully you'll get a job. It will also test your communication skills.
Make sure you look smart, that you look the part, and if you can, leave behind some literature - perhaps a business card, flyer, leaflet, or even a letter. In fact, here you will be doing two jobs at once. You are looking for work and also leaving behind a contact number for when the need arises. It could be argued that you're doing a third job too - leaving a good impression!
If you're not used to selling door-to-door then this experience will be fantastic for you. It's all about practice; the more you do it, the more confident you will get. Ultimately, you are the person who knows most about your business - so who better to talk about it?
Learn to take the rejections and knock backs. Remain focused on your goal. Eventually, you will learn how to shape your pitch. Never get tired or let yourself get down. This is part of your journey - Rise to it. Put the good vibes out and stay happy; always remain happy. This is what will drive you to knock on 100 doors a day.
Marcus adds: "I am a firm believer that if you fake happiness for long enough, you will be happy. This will come across in the way you speak to people and deal with them. It will put them at ease and they will want to work with you."
The word is out
Another great way to spread the word is to invite an influential customer group in to enjoy a free sample of your service or provide a discount in someway. Invite the local newspaper, the PTA or school children. Jane Smart, one of BusinessesForSale.com's case studies, invited the Women's Institute for their Christmas lunch.
She says: "They loved it so much they have already been back. Not only did they have a good time but they've told all their friends."
When the work does eventually come your way - and it will - you must ensure that it is of the highest standard. Go out of your way to deliver the best customer service, and even undercharge a little because the word will get out.
The best talk of all is going to be from your happy customers. After all, as pointed out in the infamous British Telecom commercial - "It's good to talk".
Ready to sell? You are just 10 minutes away from advertising your business to 1.3 million prospective buyers. Sell your business today.