Public Relations on a Small (Business) Budget

Many small businesses believe public relations is the domain of large businesses that have significant budgets and resources at their disposal. While it is true that many large businesses do invest heavily in PR, there’s no reason why small business can’t get involved too, without breaking the bank.

What is public relations? There are many definitions, however, in general it involves managing the flow of communication between a business and its target audiences. Unlike advertising, PR is generally free (although it may not be free to manage), you usually have limited control over where and when it appears, and while public relations tries to promote favourable opinion the lack of control can work against you.

Why then wouldn’t you just advertise? As well as price, credibility is the prime reason. For example, which would you more likely believe: an advertisement extolling the virtues of a product or an article in a credible newspaper highlighting your business and its products? Most people would choose the article.

Where to begin with public relations?

So you’ve decided PR is worth trying; where do you start? Generally, public relations is about story telling. Look for uniqueness in your business, products or services, and also the people who work for you. Look for stories in your business that you think may interest others. Most businesses have stories to tell but sometimes you are too close to the business to see them. Getting a fresh set of eyes into your business for a quick look may be worthwhile.

Once you’ve identified your stories, you then need to look for ways of getting them to your target audiences. Newspapers are the obvious choice, along with magazines, radio and TV. These days it’s also worth looking at opportunities on the Internet. As well as your business website, there are article directories, news sites and of course social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Perhaps less obvious but potentially just as effective are activities such as speaking at seminars and conferences, booking a stand at an expo, providing information to local, state or federal governments or getting involved in a community event.

Whatever you do, always keep in mind your target audiences. Any publicity can be good but if the publicity doesn’t target your audiences it’s unlikely to be effective. It may seem like commonsense, but make sure you target media outlets, Internet sites and activities that you know will help get your messages to the people who are likely to purchase your products and services.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, unless you have the skills and time, employing the services of a business to help you plan, develop and deploy your public relations plan is well worth the expense.

Keep in mind all these things, work hard and smart and you’ll find that public relations can be extremely effective in growing your business.

How to Grow a Small Business

Once you have started your own small business there are a number of ways you can grow your business larger. Even in a bad economy it is possible for your business not only to survive, but to thrive.

In fact, many of today’s largest and most successful businesses were started in the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930′s. So you should have no trouble increasing the size of your small business, and hopefully also increasing your profits.

There are only three ways to make more money with any business. They are number one: Get more customers. Number two: Get your customers to purchase more. Number three: Get your customers to purchase from you more frequently.

The size of your small business is directly proportional to the number of customers you can acquire, and the amount of goods or services you can provide.

It does no good to vastly increase the number of customers your business receives, if you are unable to supply their demand. Conversely, it does no good to increase the amount of goods or services you are able to source if your customer pool is not growing as well.

Therefore, while the only way to grow your business is to get more customers, you must also grow your ability to supply those customers at the same time.

Only if you can do both things, which is to get more customers and build your supply while still maintaining a positive return on investment, will your business be able to grow.

Now then, if you already have a small business or large business for that matter, and have grown it to a particular level or reached a plateau and now you wish to grow your business even larger, you stand in very good stead.

Assuming your business is currently profitable it is a simple matter to redirect a portion of your profits into avenues that will help you to acquire more customers and to build your supply of products or services.

Much of this can be done with outsourcing, and if you develop effective systems for customer acquisition and streamlining your supply chain, then simply increase profits and finance even further outsourcing, which will even further increase the size of your business.

That said, it is possible to develop a system for your business which will allow your business to continue to grow while you personally have to do less and less work.

One of the fastest ways to acquire more customers for your business is to be tracking the ways your business is successfully obtaining customers currently, and then simply do more of that.

Another good way to grow your business is to be creating a mailing list of your current customers, and then mailing to your customer list and giving them special offers or special promotions. Perhaps even give them limited time coupons or incentives for making referrals to your business.

Another way of growing your business, which is often overlooked, is to encourage your current employees to offer ideas on business growth and ways to improve your current business.

Doing this has the positive effect of generating positive morale on the part of your employees. They feel like a more important part of your business. Who knows, maybe some of their ideas will help your business to grow even faster and bigger than you yourself could imagine.

Make Money at Home With No Investment

If, for whatever reason, you are wanting to make money from home without investing any of your own cash, then here are a few ideas. Maybe you are desperate to get out of debt or maybe you just want to avoid wasting money on scams. Well all of these ideas are for you – they can all be started totally for free. But, there is an investment of time and the more of that you commit the more you can earn.

1) Online Surveys
Is this where most people start trying to earn money from home? Sign up to a few survey websites and start taking surveys. Don’t pay for lists of such sites, just spend a couple of hours looking for them and signing up. Once you have a little experience then you will know which companies are sending you the most interesting surveys and you can drop the rest.

2) Sell Something On eBay
Look through your old junk and put it up for sale on eBay! It is as simple as that. What more do I have to say?

3) Sell Some Photos
This sounds dafter than it actually is, but there are two ways of doing this. The essential ingredient is the well taken photo on a good quality camera. Now, to sell the photos! The easiest way is to upload them to a stock photograph directory, sit back and wait for the commissions to roll in. Obviously, there needs to be an attraction in your photographs, but if they are a reasonable quality, you should be able to sell them.

The second way is to make a product from them. Photo mugs, t-shirts, keyrings, fridge magnets and more are all available. This sounds costly to set-up, but it is actually free. Just go to a website such as CafePress, sign up for an account, upload suitable photographs and as orders are placed the products will be made and your commissions earned. Far easier than you might have first thought!

4) Get Blogging
Not actually as easy as it sounds as the best money does not come straight away. But you can create a Blogger account and start blogging about almost any subject. Work on the blog so that it gains in PageRank and in readership (separate entities, but both highly essential) and after a while well paid posts could be coming your way.

5) Promote a White Label Website
Choose a product that you feel happy working with. It could be mobile phones, lingerie, jewellery or almost anything. Find a supplier of a white label website and then work on promoting it. If you want to be very clever, look around for some voucher codes for free Pay Per Click marketing and you have a stream of visitors for free.