Anyone run there own small business

Everything costs....you spend out on advertisement, space at events, consumables, materials, everything, it seems everyone out there is just after you money , they will happily keep in contact when they have something to sell right upto the point you pay them...

I paid out for a rather small but hugely expensive advert in the guardian magazine over the weekend, being told I would get millions of hits on my website...I got a grand total of about 50 hits from the ad...

It seems every route you take ends with you paying out more money you don't have just to end up back at square one...

Does any one on here have these battles in there own small business, any advice would be fantastic...at present mine is going the way of the toilet...

Comments

  • CC - it all depends on your business offering and the way your are driving the business forward based on what experience you have............

    I have run (with my wife) our own business for the last 20 years and yes, it does cost money to run a business but what did you expect??? you need to analyse closely WHAT you are spending money on, WHY you are spending the money and WHAT return you want....

    as for advertising - if there was a magic solution to this, then someone would be selling it..............

    I always bear 2 rules of advertising in mind........


    1. without advertising, something happens - NOTHING. you can't run a biz without advertising....

    2. 50% of advertising works - problem is identifying which 50% (J Walter Thompson). you need to experiment to find out what works for you - is no easy answer and it can prove expensive and fruitless......

    don't expect running your own biz to be simple and easy - most fail in the 1st 12 months due to poor direction, or unrealistic expectations.........

    if you need, try and tap into local sources of free information (bank, Chambers of Commerce, Business Angels) to see what advice you can get gratis...........

    best of luck
  • I run my own business.. it is VERY hard in the early years... but it does get easier...

    What do you do.. (if we make ask..?) think of it as some free advertising here...

    Advertising is a necessary evil, until the business can survive on reputation and referrals alone. Even the multi-nationals advertise!

    For me.. Yell.com and yellow pages works.. but only well designed ads..

  • CC - To agree and add to FB's comments advertising in one form or anther is a must. You've got to "be seen". Choosing the place/time/media is crucial so as not to waste your hard earned.

    I ran a subsidiary of a large training co for a while and even with HO support it was hard. When my unelightened group MD told me not to spend my budget here I was horrified - the return is not immediate but if you are seen in the right places it does come. (Consequences of being forced not to promote? No business growth followed by no business at all after a while)

    Any specific advice you need just ask - I may be able to help, or know someone who can!!
  • "Even the multi-nationals advertise"

    yep - Proctor & Gamble spend $4.6 BILLION on advertising in 2005............

    after 20 years we "think" we know what works and what doesn't work for us in advertising yet still we get some spotty oick from a magazine/journal/website we have tried before trying to tell us they know better.................

    if we are made a good ad offer we always look at it and decide whether to run as you just never know what it may bring in
  • I do agree that advertising is the key to it all, but when you inject you full cash flow into some advertising and with no return its very disheartening...thanks for the advise its really helpful...

    Oh yes my company is here
    http://www.calamitycreations.co.uk

    from animations to artwork...
  • I think your money spent on the Guardian ad was money wasted CC.

    You have to think about your target audience and what publications they are going to read. The Guardian Magazine doesn't seem to me to the one you should've advertised in.
  • CC - I would have thought the Guardian would have been too general for what work you create although I assume you advertised in the colour supp where they are running a page of small ads at the moment...........

    you need to advertise to the niche markets where you specialise such as the VW Camper brigades................but I guess you're doing that........

    have you looked at Google Ads and tying that into anyone who puts "VW Camper" into Google?? I've heard good stories about Google ads if you have the right product - could be worth doing some investigation..............
  • SezzSezz ✭✭✭
    I'm hoping to go self-employed this time next year. What's the first steps to take to ensure a successful start?
  • sezz - a realistic business idea, a sound business plan, and financial independance/backing for the first year...........

    don't be overoptimistic, and don't get in hock to the bank

    make sure you keep financial records, have money put aside for tax, VAT etc for when that hits.........

    decide if you need the extra security of being Limited but with extra legal constraints, or the flecxibility of self employment.......


    and do something you know something about!!
  • Haven't looked into Google ads what is that all about then, i had a look at there pay per click but the only ones making any money out of that are Google themselves...looked pretty complicated also.
  • Sezz, as an accountant, running her own business, I would say that one of the biggies is having sufficient start up capital, or fall back money if sales are not made/clients take ages to pay. When you start off with nothing, you are always coming from behind, added stress to the stress of running a business! As for advertising, my one big rule is never believe the salesmans "guaranteed" returns. There is never any comeback so they can say what they want-once all of your budget has gone down the khazi they will go one to the next client-perhaps dont put all your eggs in one basket.

    Oh and make sure you notify HMRC once you start trading, if you do this too late their are penalties etc.
  • SezzSezz ✭✭✭
    Great, thanks FB! Lots to think about then.

    I can at least tick the last point on your list.
  • Google Adwords is what you want CC - is not difficult and you pay per click...........

    Google AdWords
  • I have this fabulous book:

    "Getting Business to Come to You" by Paul & Sarah Edwards, Laura Clampitt Douglas.

    I have done everything it says in the first 5 chapters and so far my advertising cost has been extremely small, and I've doubled my client base.

    I am a personal trainer, which is not an easy business to actually make big money out of, so admittedly my profit is still pretty modest. I also only work part time. But I would thoroughly reccommend it as a down to earth, step by step guide to making the first few years of your own business as cost effective and easy as possible.

    One of the best things I did was to specialise and then to target my advertising at my specialist market. Hope that helps.
  • I would echo what FB and GordonR said re advertising. In my business the best advert is word of mouth. About 80% of past clients will recommend me to someone else. You HAVE to really think about who your clients are and research their lifestyle. Where do they go? How do they travel? What do they read? What do they like to 'boast' about? (ie what's different about my service and would make them choose me?)

    You have to think like them. Have you attended any courses on business start up? Best of luck.
  • Do you want local or national clients / business?

    We are very lucky on the Isle of Man because reputation is worth so much more than advertising. We are now half way through our second year and are cutting back on next years advertising budget by about 50%. For us advertising really isn't worth it. That said we are catering for a very local market. The best money that we spent this year was sponsoring a race series - one race a month for 6 months and our name in the local paper before and after each race. The money all went to the athletics club that organised the race too, not the advertising bods :o)
  • Our business tends to get a lot of clients via word of mouth - but you have to get the first ones to come to you first before they can "tell all of your friends".

    Would agree that you need to identify your niche first before doing any form of ads.

    I'm an accountant specializing in training in the area of business strategy. Every thing needs to begin from knowing where you want to be....
  • dad (selling very specialist optoelectronics) reckons about 10% of his ads generate 90% of sales - cant tell which 10% though. know your market very very well - you need to know why ppl want to buy, not why you want to sell.
  • 2 comments on your website - I wanted to switch from the commercial side into the other side but didn't spot an easy way to do this - clicking on 'home' took me only to home for the commercial part - a client may be looking for work-related information then decide to look for personal reasons too.

    Also you have a typo on the VW page - it's 'their' website not there website. Fiddling I know but when my firm was looking for someone to handle the organisation and publicity for a large event, we turned someone down mainly because the typos in their bumpf made us wonder whether we would end up with typos in our bumpf too.

    Good luck!
  • Hi CC,
    It would appear from your website that your main market is going to come from VW lovers. In terms of advertising, these are the target audience you need to access - there must be a stack of VW club websites/forums/magazines - have you tried targeting those with advertising?
    Also, through the summer, there are a stack of VW get togethers - might be worth a day trip to leaflet drop the car parks?

    You really don't need to throw huge amounts of money at broad spectrum advertising, just work out who you want to attract and how to get to them.

    Your pictures are truly fab - I hope you get better success with it soon.
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    One tip - if you were looking to purchase your service from someone else, where would you look?


    If I was looking for a plumber, I'd ask around first (word of mouth) then go to the yellow pages.

    If I was looking for a personal trainer, I'd look on the notice board in the gym or sports centre, or phone the local football club.

  • A truly big thank you to all of you, can't believe the helpful advice, I have addressed the few typo's and some of the links (thanks for that) and on a mission to try some of the the other stuff you suggest...
    Thanks again
  • CC.. it is Christmas coming up.. could be a big opportunity fo you.. aren't there club meetings for VW camper van owners and other such things...??

    If so.. get yourself there and make a presence for yourself....

    Check out VW clubs around the UK and Europe and try to do some self-marketing..

    Maybe there are are discussion boards, such as this, you can drop into and slip into the conversation what you do...??

Sign In or Register to comment.