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jymie
01-12-2011, 12:49 PM
Some of the things that you must do to get going.


Decide on a business name
Register the name with your state as a DBA or LLC, I recommend DBA to start your business that will allow you time to decide if this business is for you.

Get insurance for the business, you never know when something will happen.
Design a logo for your business.
Have business cards made up to hand out to everybody you meet.


Going into this business, understand that you will not have over night success.
Typically the first year will not be very big for you. Be happy with the ones you get.
Build from there. You will notice gradual increase in business with each passing year.

The things I did was:

Made a website for the business. http://www.lunchesruslawncare.com
Because they are FREE, I Advertise on:


Craigslist
Backpage


Register the website with the search engines


google
yahoo
Bing


I also registered my website on business directories such as:


magicyellow.com
yellowpages.com
myyellow.com
yp.com
local.com
merchantcircle.com


Do a google search for more business directories in your area. Type in your city name then business directory.

We typically go door to door each year leaving flyers on mailboxes and in papertubes by the curb.

I took an ad out in our local pennysaver to cover 13 weeks in the Spring to be put on what they call the business bulletin board. It is a display ad that gives us exposure.

That same pennysaver produces a hard copy of a business directory that I took a display ad with our logo in it. We did that in the Fall.

Additionally, I have arranged to have my logo on the back of a local golf courses score card for this summer. Not sure what the return will be on that but I am optimistic.

I will be running a special with a groupon coupon this spring for the first time advertising get $50 off mulch installs for $25. I can limit how many get bought. I'll see what the response will be on that.

The customers that you do get, ask them for referrals to help you increase your business. Give them a kickback of say $25 for each referral that becomes a customer.

Advertise alot to neighbors of your customers. Two houses in each direction and the homes across the street from them. Leave these homes advertising every month the whole season.

Stop and talk to people that are outside, hand them your business card.

Leave business cards every where where people tend to go alot such as:


Gas Stations
Bars
Restaurants
Golf Courses
Grocery Stores


Alot of places have bulletin boards that you can attach business cards to.


I hope this will help you get started.

Steve
01-13-2011, 02:31 AM
That is a fantastic post!

As you look back do you feel there were 5 things you wish you did or did faster early on?

Or were there 5 things you did and wish you didn't do?

jymie
01-13-2011, 07:33 AM
I wish that I would have been more proactive in regards to meeting strangers and handing out business cards to introduce myself. People get an immediate feel about you better than if they get an advertisement from you and never meet you. Looking more professional also is something that is important. This year I am getting company shirts so we all look like professionals. Also looking into getting a landscape design program (CAD) so I can do better presentations on site. Using a computer will no doubt impress a prospective client. We will be doing allot more advertising to neighbors of our current customers. This year we will be taking it to the next level and include entire streets that we are already on.

Looking back, I think anything you try to do to advertise has some benefit to you. I distributed 900 post cards this past fall to do leaf cleanups, but got only 2 responses in the areas I distributed them in. Possibly got a few from them being passed on, who knows.

Growing Green
01-13-2011, 10:57 AM
Great stuff Jymie! Really appreciate it. I signed up for Backpage yesterday. I had never heard of it before.

Matt

racerdude711
01-13-2011, 04:24 PM
Great Post. Exactly what I needed to see as I am 17 and looking to expand me business this year.

Steve
01-14-2011, 04:01 AM
I wish that I would have been more proactive in regards to meeting strangers and handing out business cards to introduce myself. People get an immediate feel about you better than if they get an advertisement from you and never meet you.

Having gone through this, what is your view on why this tends to be such a difficulty for new business owners and how do you feel they can overcome it?

jymie
01-14-2011, 01:13 PM
Back when I was in school, I had problems with presentation to groups like when they made you get up in front of the class to present your project. hat got me to be more outgoing was when I was a secretary in a bowling league, that required to talk to the whole group of bowlers so I just got used to it. I found that just saying hello, then handing a business card to the person is a great ice breaker and seems to work the best and often leads to more conversation. I ask them if they need some work done in their yard, if not then I say, if you know anyone that could use my services please pass along my card to let them know. Anyone who is not accustomed to doing that, just walk up to people you see out along your routes and hand them a business card.

I think I may be targeting the senior citizens in my area this spring by going to BINGO and placing business cards where they pay for their boards.

Steve
01-16-2011, 02:32 AM
This year we will be taking it to the next level and include entire streets that we are already on.

How will this be done, by placing a flyer in the entire block's mailboxes after every mow or what?

jymie
01-16-2011, 06:41 AM
I think I am going to handle this with post card marketing. May also do some door to door hangers.