“Too much money, not too little, is a bigger problem for most small businesses,” says Paul Hawken. “In a business, money does not create anything at all, much less ideas and initiative. Money goes where those qualities already are. Money follows, it does not lead.”
Here are a few ways to pump up the initiative.
° Create attention-getting devices. Your business name, tagline, or vehicle call all get you noticed for the right reasons. If you need inspiration, study how the Geek Squad did it.
° Adopt a protégé. Since we learn best by teaching, what better way to sharpen your skills than by helping someone else? The satisfaction of encouraging and supporting someone else’s success is immeasurable. Ask any teacher who’s had a student go on to do great things.
° Become a media darling. Radio, tv and Internet programs are always on the hunt for interesting people to interview. So are local newspapers. Be one. Don’t just think of this as a way to promote yourself, however. Offer useful information to the audience. You never know who’s listening.
° Join forces with a bookstore. A friend and I once spent an evening at a local bookstore listening to two women who were feng shui consultants. Although they were not authors themselves, the store had publicized their talk. A nearby table display was piled with the store’s inventory of books on the subject.
Another variation of this came from a career coach who did a reading list of books for career changes printed on her letterhead. The list was placed on a display table at the bookstore along with the recommended titles.
° Add a personal touch. In this noisy, often indifferent world, looking for memorable ways to distinguish yourself can make a huge difference. Use your photo on brochures and your Website, have a trademark color, do something that nobody else is doing…like sending handwritten thank you notes.
° Show up on stage. Give talks to local groups, volunteer to be part of a panel discussion at a conference. You may not get paid for these gigs, but you’ll be creating connections.
° Participate in community events. A dogsitting business expanded their visibility and customer base by marching in a local parade wearing t-shirts emblazoned with their business name.
You might donate a prize to a local fundraiser, volunteer for a community project, talk to a local high school on career day. Opportunities exist whether you live in a small town or large urban area. Look for them.