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  • #968952
    c2cemploymentrelations
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    Hi all

    I’m a relatively new business started in August 2009 and I work in the small business arena, helping businesses with their employment relations issues including compliance with the Fair Work legislation and drafting employment agreements, policies and procedures, employment handbooks etc. I operate from Sunshine Coast to Gold Coast, including Brisbane and mainly work with businesses that have undergone growth and brought on extra employees without putting the ground work in place.

    One of my big issues is reaching my target market of small business as I don’t have a huge advertising budget (being a small business myself).

    I’d be really interested to hear some feedback on how to reach small business owners on a limited budget (short of knocking on doors).

    Thank you all in advance for your input!
    Brooklin
    C2C Employment Relations
    http://www.c2cemploymentrelations.com.au

    #1035989
    Anonymous
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    Hi Brooklin,

    Just wanted to say g’day and welcome you to the FS boards.

    Hope you enjoy hanging out here.

    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1035990
    kbrookes
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    Welcome!

    I guess the real question is: do you have any budget at all for marketing?

    I know a lot of people believe that adwords are expensive and ineffective, but I’m of the opinion that they really have a strong place in advertising bricks and mortar businesses.

    Long tail keywords that are location-based tend to be both less competitive and can offer a better ROI.

    And your budget can be as small as you want it to be.

    Further, if you provide relevant landing pages for search results, your CPC will go down over time.

    #1035991
    Sunnys
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    I have the same problem too, I have just started providing bookkeeping services from my home and have managed to get 1 client. Its really hard to reach small businesses, any suggestions would be welcome.

    #1035992
    yourvirtualboard
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    Your area of speciality has a huge although unknown / unacknowledged need as the majority of small to medium business owners that employ staff haven’t had the time or given priority to this area. There are just so many more pressing issues that take priority especially this time of the year.

    As we know people / business only buy for two reasons 1) want or 2) need and in this case it’s not a want, so it would follow that you would have to make them aware of the need and the benefit of doing what’s required because it is a clear risk to ignore it and they don’t know what they don’t know – educating them will help them to recognise the need.

    There are a number of ways to do this and they needn’t cost a lot – because your offering can be aimed at most businesses that employ staff, you could do something as simple as a mail out or drop to specific areas and then follow these up with phone calls. The real secret is the copy you use to attract attention you basically need to alert them to the risk of non compliance and prompt a response and there are a number of good resources on FS that could help you with this.

    Networking at local business events (that attract your target client) and the same flyers used for a mail out / drop could be handed out there. Talk to everyone you know (friends, family & anywhere else you hang out) and ask them for any referrals to business owners that fit your target. Social media – so many opportunities there too and saving the one of the most effective for last, which you’ve mentioned already cold calling. Remember REWARD = EFFORT and the more you put in the better your results will be.

    #1035993
    createdevelop
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    Well it is great that you have your target market and your offer already set out.

    Next I would say put together a website. You can get local designers to do this for you for not a lot of money. Alternatively you could do this yourself with WordPress and a free template. Write a blog if you can, it will help on many levels.

    That way you can focus on building a website around words like “HR Help Gold Coast” etc. I would thoroughly recommend building a good website around good keywords like that first before you dive into adwords.

    Next I would try to get along to as many local chamber of commerce/ business networking as possible, and be a speaker. You only have to do this once.

    Then I would try to find allied businesses, like marketing consultants, management consultants etc, and try to work together on marketing. Maybe you could put together a breakfast session with them to offer unique value/content.

    Next I would work on harnessing referrals. Make sure you ask your existing clients for them, and make sure you make it clear you are looking for referrals!

    #1035994
    c2cemploymentrelations
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    • Total posts: 31
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    Thanks everyone for the great ideas – it’s definitely given me somewhere to work from and reinforced some of the ideas I already had so really appreciate the feedback!

    #1035995
    Craig_H
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    Further to the already great suggestions I would recommend checking out your local newspaper. Their ads can be quite cheap and if you have a website to point to even better.
    I would ask for readership and demographic figures first though so you can make sure you target areas that your target market are in.

    #1035996
    YoungNomad
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    From the sounds of it you’re at the initial stages – time rich but client poor.

    I’d personally get a copy of the yellow pages, and start pounding the phone. Get a really good script down, and try to get in the door. Once you’re in, you can start selling.

    If you don’t really have a budget, this is the most time consuming, but a fairly effective tool.

    Once you get some business, make sure you ask for the referral – allocate a fair proportion of this profit to your marketing budget, and hit the marketing.

    Alternatively, get a marketing budget, by whatever means, and then do some hard marketing to get your name out there.

    #1035997
    Carbonite Australia
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    • Total posts: 118
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    We were faced with the same problem when we launched Carbonite, very little in terms of marketing budget. So in order to get sales, we focused on our site and its traffic and positioning with major search engines, we did some Google Adwords, put some press releases out there, wrote plenty in our blog on related topics so get content onto our site and I did direct mail work.

    Then we l began reading more and more about Twitter and started on there too which I think has also helped heaps.

    Lastly forums like this are also very helpful. Give advice and people will soon begin to notice your footer and look into what you do.

    Question is can all of this really build a business up? If you are targeting a niche market then it can be ideal, if you are after a mass market then I honestly think you need more to build brand quickly. You need $$$ budget.

    #1035998
    John Debrincat
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    c2cemploymentrelations, post: 43451 wrote:
    Hi all

    I’m a relatively new business started in August 2009 and I work in the small business arena, helping businesses with their employment relations issues including compliance with the Fair Work legislation and drafting employment agreements, policies and procedures, employment handbooks etc. I operate from Sunshine Coast to Gold Coast, including Brisbane and mainly work with businesses that have undergone growth and brought on extra employees without putting the ground work in place.

    One of my big issues is reaching my target market of small business as I don’t have a huge advertising budget (being a small business myself).

    I’d be really interested to hear some feedback on how to reach small business owners on a limited budget (short of knocking on doors).

    Thank you all in advance for your input!
    Brooklin
    C2C Employment Relations
    http://www.c2cemploymentrelations.com.au

    Hi Brooklin,

    +1 for networking with local business groups as Kelsey and Harry suggest it is a great way to get out there and find opportutites. Have some simple flyers printed and walk through your local shopping centre and introduce yourself. Don’t forget the last question – “Would you know anyone else who might need my services?”

    If you use Google Adwords you can specifically geographically target to a local and use the local business capabilities. Make sure you set up your business on Google Maps and Google Places (was Local Business Centre). Also setup a free listing on TrueLocal.

    You should have Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin business pages and start using the social networking capabilities they work.

    Start a blog and just do a couple if posts a day. You can use a tool like Blogger which is free. Also promote the blog using Feed Burner and cross connect to your Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin pages. It really does not take much work but can get some quick results.

    All the best

    John

    #1035999
    cwm67
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    • Total posts: 40
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    About 2 years ago , I set up a small professional services firm providing services to small accounting firms and financial planning firms. Accountants are hard to sell to and I knew it would take time to build a client base

    However I used direct mail , a good well worded letter and a postcard brochure with some key selling points and a flat fee arrrangment, it is cheap and easliy controlled ( I used to do 20 or so a week ) At one stage I did buy a mail list but usually it was from addresses gained from surfing the web

    I did work for 90 accounting frims last year and gross fees were around 1.2 million

    My advice is to target clients you may want with a good direct mail capmign and a good postcard and dont be afarid ro carpet mail out around Australia , I have clients in regional areas I have never meet.

    #1036000
    ozcos
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    • Total posts: 32
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    Never leave a client with out asking for referrals

    I also work with a small business client base, and the discovery that many of my clients “know” many other small business operators has allowed me to not spend a dime on “advertising”

    Yes I do have advertising and marketing tools but designed for the referrals rather than general public.

    eg, My website (not SEOed) as the expected viewers will generally be aware of my services and are directed by means of referrals. but might not recommend this method pending your type of product, services and market place.

    I even have clients ring their friends while I stand in front of them and book me in with consults.

    (so I also save on phone calls..)

    also return the favor, If your clients are selling or providing a competitive product you believe in (and often I find I do, and that’s why I work with these businesses) Make a couple of phone calls for them, tell your friends and family. no need to overboard or go out of your way there are always opportunities. (So I spend on phone calls too)

    I was a local community meeting last night, where it was brought up as a topic that the new venue for meetings does not have catering so I mentioned that they might consider using one of the local restaurants (client of mine) and just left it at that.

    but one thing be aware – occasionally you can end up in the
    “selling a used car to a family member” situation.

    but with a little practice, things work out

    Another resource is.. hmmm, now I’m going to give a away a trade secrete here.

    Community radio,
    I like to think of community radio as the “offline” community forum.
    and there only about 300+ (Community Broadcasters)around Australia.

    anyhow just some ideas

    #1036001
    Tracey Baird
    Member
    • Total posts: 20
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    c2cemploymentrelations, post: 43451 wrote:
    Hi all

    I’m a relatively new business started in August 2009 and I work in the small business arena, helping businesses with their employment relations issues including compliance with the Fair Work legislation and drafting employment agreements, policies and procedures, employment handbooks etc. I operate from Sunshine Coast to Gold Coast, including Brisbane and mainly work with businesses that have undergone growth and brought on extra employees without putting the ground work in place.

    One of my big issues is reaching my target market of small business as I don’t have a huge advertising budget (being a small business myself).

    I’d be really interested to hear some feedback on how to reach small business owners on a limited budget (short of knocking on doors).

    Thank you all in advance for your input!
    Brooklin
    C2C Employment Relations
    http://www.c2cemploymentrelations.com.au

    Hi Brooklin,
    I’m a small business owner myself and like you have a very tight advertising budget. There are quite a few things you can do which are free or low cost and bring in more clients. Take a look at How to Get More Clients Now – a Free Report

    I hope this helps you out too.
    Tracey

    #1036002
    Anonymous
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    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi Tracey

    Thanks for joining the FS forums – you’re very welcome here.

    We love to know a little about the people we’re chatting with, so would be grateful if you’d head over to the New member section of the site (http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/new-member-introduce-yourself/) and say g’day.

    Looking forward to getting to know you on the boards,
    Cheers,
    Jayne

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