Last month, I gave you ten low-cost tips to boost your business in 2011. Here are seven more:
1) Give stuff away. In business, you have to give to get. Offer people help and advice, free of charge, and don't expect an immediate return. You'll find that the more you give away, the more comes back. As my bank manager says "It's better to make a deposit before a withdrawal"
2) Copy the best. If you see people in your line of business having tremendous success, try doing something similar. I'm not suggesting that you should plagiarise their ideas, but look at the way they do business, and see how you can adapt things to your offering.
3) Write it down. Decide what you want to achieve - five new clients, increasing turnover by 50%, or whatever. Put a timescale on it, write it down, and pin it up near your desk, where you see it every day. Keeping your goal in mind at all times will focus your behaviour, and make your goal happen.
4) Be responsive. Develop a reputation for getting back to people very quickly. Once you get into the habit, you'll find that it is easy to send a quick response to an email, or a phone message. Most people value a brief, quick reply more highly than a detailed response several days later. I must admit, I don't always succeed with this one, but I'm getting better.
5) Hone your presentation skills. No-one is a natural presenter, and everyone in business has to present from time to time. Make sure that you know how to perform professionally, and your business will benefit.
6) Practice what you preach. The best advert for your business is you. If you are providing advice on business efficiency, make sure that your business is super-efficient. If you are a website designer, make sure that your website is as usable as possible.
7) Become an expert. Immerse yourself in your topic, then offer to speak to groups about your area of expertise. Write articles, give interviews, and make yourself available to answer questions from journalists. Becoming known as a recognised expert in your field is one of the best ways of bringing in new clients.