promoteWe are 3 weeks into a new year. How many of us made a promise or resolution to do more to promote our businesses this year? … Are you doing it yet?

There was an old saying in business that said you should spend at least 10% of your income on advertising and promoting your business. I bet that fewer than 5% of anyone today does that. But the basic idea is sound and we should all adhere to it in one form or another. In fact, I believe that we should spend at least 10% of our TIME on promoting ourselves.

If your margins are so tight that you can’t spend that much, then perhaps you need to increase your prices. If that’s not an option, then you should spend 10% of your time doing things that get your business seen by others. That might be a variety of online methods that you can do in the mornings as you drink you first cup of coffee, or in the evenings when you are vegetating in front of the TV. A few would be:

  • Blogging on your website.
  • Creating social links to your business and participating in online conversations on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Post some Craigslist Ads around and keep them renewed / reposted whenever possible. You might also have some success with Ebay Classifieds, Oodle and Backpage.
  • Join some Meetup groups to have yourself and your business listed on their membership pages.
  • Create a newsletter and send it out at least once a month, not more than twice a month.
  • Call all your clients and show some interest in how there businesses are doing.

Another idea, and one of the best is to get out and meet some new people.

  • Visit some new Networking groups – Meetup is full of them. You could even try to start your own with your contact list.
  • Become involved in a non-profit organization to increase your circle of contacts / influence. This could be something as easy as a once a month commitment.
  • Get more involved in your church.
  • Start having lunch with someone new each week.

I think you should, at a minimum, get out of your office at least once a week and meet some new people. This takes an effort to do, but your business will grow best by personal referrals — and that’s impossible without increasing your circle of contacts.

Remember, if your business isn’t growing, it’s dying.