Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Have you started a business at home but have a problem making that first move? Or worst, have you approached friends and family like a brush fire carried by the wind and have become the butt of jokes because you push too hard?
While it is good to be aggressive, it can be also a turn-off. When you start your home business, tell your friends and family. Let them know about your new venture by the method that is most comfortable to you. A friendly family/friend e-mail is a good way to get the word out. Friendly does not mean telling them how much money you have made in "2 short weeks," or your new business is the only way to go. Friendly is short and chatty with a link to your web site. And remember, never 'dis' someone else's business. This way you will not have to eat crow if they end up on Forbes list.
Two valuable "If" tips
1. If you are attending a fairly informal event or meeting take along a few samples of your product if it is small. It should have your name, your business name and telephone number in place. Do not under any circumstances, hand these out like you are running for President. This kind of action is unprofessional and is frowned upon. It will also have folks making wide circles around you.
2. If you don't have a business card, get one ASAP. If you have a turnkey business such as Avon, Tupperware, Watkins, etc. make the additional investment and buy their business cards if one is available. These cards are logo branded. If you want to have your own made I suggest Vista Print.(vistaprint.com) The cards are attractive and free or inexpensive. Spend the few dollar's so you have a card without the small advertising that is on the back of free Vista cards. No matter how small the print, it is still someone else's ad.
Don't have a business yet, but working towards one. Have some introduction or calling cards made. I used these cards at least 10 years before I went into business. The cards have your name, address, telephone and/or your cell phone number, fax information, etc. These cards are great if you are still searching for a business. This idea is not my own, I took it from Agatha Christie "Hercule Poirot" novels. Visitors always had calling cards. They placed the card on the housekeeper's silver tray and she took it to the master/mistress of the house who then invited the visitor to enter. Very cool and very convenient for you and person who receives your card. People may remember you simply because you did not write your name on the corner of a napkin or on the back of someone else's business card. If I were choosing a stranger to work with me, I would definitely think of the card-bearing person first.
FYI: I bought my first calling cards from a Walter Drake catalog. (www.wdrake.com) I still use WD for some cards and printing my mailing labels. They make me look professional for very little money. About five years ago I started ordering inexpensive calendars with my business name on them from this company also. Since I am a frugal professional, I order 100 wallet-sized calendars for a few dollars. They are good looking, much appreciated and keep my name in front of customers and potential customers. I continue to give these away all year long. I am much like the cowboy wearing the white hat, I come to the rescue when someone asks "Does anyone have a calendar?"
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Business books that help you succeed.
I highly recommend this oldie, but goodie Dig Your Well before You're Thirsty: The only networking book you'll ever need by Harvey Mackay. I have recommended this book to so many people because it is not written in jargon and gives practical networking advice that you can use everyday.