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PR Tips

The tough thing about writing a book about the 60-second commute is the broad range of businesses and services and telecommuting opportunities that are limited only by readers' imaginations: We can't tell you PR and marketing strategies for each. So here are a few general tools and tips to apply to almost any business.

  • Revisit Chapter Six, on professionalism. Regardless of your business, put your most professional foot forward in terms of brochures, websites, and business cards.

  • Think outside the box. Sure, you may have started your business on your kitchen table. Maybe you're a typist and word processor. Maybe a PR writer. Maybe you make homemade desserts. Can you donate some of your services to a worthy cause? Can you tie your business into an event happening in the media or in your community? For example, Erica's daughter is in a youth symphony and every year they hold a black tie event. Someone with a homemade dessert business just may find himself or herself swamped after providing delectables for free after just one high-profile event.

  • Join the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and other organizations, such as alumni chapters of your college if you attended college. These opportunities for networking may also present you with marketing opportunities. For instance, often joining the Chamber of Commerce (for a fee) will give you a “free” ad in their glossy chamber magazine or at least a phone listing.

  • Payback time. Have you gone to the same hair salon for 10 years? Do you go to the same OB-GYN or family practice doctor that you went to since you became an adult? Do you frequent the same small boutique or bakery week after week. Well, it's payback time. There's no harm in asking whether you can leave your business cards on the counter or in a visible spot. Don't be shy! And think of cross-connections. Real-life example? All the nurses in Erica's OB-GYN office wore beautiful angel pins. And there on the counter was a business card holder with the jewelry maker's cards. Mothers feel like new life symbolizes angels. The jewelry maker was a patient. Voilà. Every woman paying her co-insurance fee stood at that counter, saw those pins on the nurses, and I bet many of them took a card. Note this is “free” marketing. You don't have to advertise on cable TV or in a newspaper to get the word out.

  • Work that Rolodex and Yellow Pages. Can your business be used at a local college or university (e.g., typing services)? What about churches? Temples? Senior citizens housing? Cast a wide net about who can use your business or service and then think of how to reach those people. Call the director of a new big company in town that will be having lots of people relocated to its offices. Let them know you have a home day care and plenty of terrific references. Let a hospital know you hire out as a clown. Let a new charter school know you design brochures. Scan your local newspaper for new businesses and events, and then call them! Don't wait for word of mouth, though that's important. Be proactive.


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