Running a home business can feel like a lonely occupation when there isn’t enough business to keep your time occupied and no matter what you try, customers seem to stay away. Without a doubt, times are tough.
Given how hard it is for small businesses to thrive, it is vital that you, as a home business owner, work as effectively as possible to grow your business. Easier said than done, I know.
The good news is that there are some creative hacks that can have a huge impact on your business – from reducing expenses to gaining valuable media coverage.
1. Get Involved in a Great Local Cause
A Corporate Social Responsibility campaign is a powerful marketing strategy that can build consumer trust in your business.
By identifying a great cause that people care about (locally, regionally or nationally) and researching potential beneficiaries to work with, you can use CSR as a vehicle to generate newsworthy stories that are mutually beneficial to both parties.
Seek out particular problems and partner with a trustworthy charitable organization to solve that problem. It could be cleaning up a local river, or helping homeless people find jobs, whatever is relevant to your town or region.
Not only will you help charities and non-profits do better work, you’ll also create fantastic newsworthy stories that can be incorporated into your own PR campaign in the process.
2. Buy Cheap & Sell Back
Amazon is a leading retailer of both home and office supplies, as well as a host of other business related products and services. It has many sellers offering discounts on these products at different times, which means there are great discounts to be had.
The problem is that they are easy to miss, because prices can change so quickly – sometimes even on an hourly basis (depending on how many sellers there are and how competitive the market is for that particular item).
The best way to stay updated on pricing changes is to use an accurate hourly price tracker that sends you alerts when the price drops (or increases – useful if you want to sell reusable items back to make a bit of profit) any time, day or night.
Here’s a chart from RankTracer showing how the price of a common office product changes with time.
Obviously, there are better times to buy this toner cartridge than others – as you can see from the prices ranging from around $22 to $32 over the course of a month. And while this particular item is consumable and not really suited to reselling, there are plenty of products that you could easily purchase and then resell in used condition on Amazon (to recover some of your expenses).
3. Turn Bad PR into Good
Often negative reviews are a spur of the moment result of frustration and can be easily turned into a positive experience with very little effort.
Identify people who have created bad publicity out of a knee-jerk reaction and engage with them to address their concern. Sometimes this can be as simple as helping them select the product they want, or complete payment. Seriously, I’ve had bad reviews from people who forgot their login password and didn’t know how to click on the ‘forgotten password’ link to get a new one. They’re happy to write a terrible review about the entire service because they can’t login – it happens.
It’s important to focus on where you can make the most impact – this is especially true online.
According to the Pew Research Center, around 82% of U.S. adults read online reviews before making a purchase, making them an essential part of online marketing for home business entrepreneur.
Instead of viewing bad PR as a disaster, treat it as a marketing strategy. Using existing customers to create online reviews is a great strategy anyone can use right from the start – no matter how small your customer base.
Customers who have a positive interaction with you are often happy to send on goodwill recommendations and reviews to their friends, family and colleagues – making them a valuable inbound marketing channel.
4. Make the News (Literally)
Most good journalists and news editors are completely overwhelmed with spammy outreach emails from entrepreneurs, small businesses, organizations and companies. As a result, they don’t waste time on anything that doesn’t reach out and grab them straight away.
That’s why you need to actively put yourself in the news. Here’s how…
Step 1: Come up with Interesting News
I decided to rank the top new business ideas from university entrepreneurs over the last year or so. It took a small team of people a few days to comb through the Internet looking at winners and finalists from hundreds of different colleges across the states.
Step 2: Build a List
I had two groups:
University media and public relations
News media covering education