Five Inexpensive Ways to Jump-Start Your Business in 2008

Are you ready to jump-start your business during the New Year? If you are like most small business owners, you would like to expand your reach, build awareness and grow your profits this year. But you may be concerned about laying out cash to boost your marketing and sales efforts. The good news is you don't have to. There are many low and no-cost ways to promote your business. Here is a list of tips that can help you be more successful in 2008:

Be recognized as an expert — Write an Article:

No matter what business you're in, you have expertise that others need but don't have. That gives you an advantage you can use to build awareness of your business and generate demand for the services you provide. Contact the business section of your local paper and volunteer to write an article on your area of expertise. Another way to get the word out is to place an article online. There are numerous online forums, many geared toward a specific industry, that accept and publish articles.

Become a partner:

Is your business linked to an activity or service that is typically related to another service? If so, you may be able to team up with another business owner and get more business together. For example, if you do web design, you might consider partnerships with businesses that offer copywriting services. You could benefit from their customers who also need web design services and vice versa.

Get new business from current clients:

In many ways, your current clients are a great source of new business you can tap. After all, they already know you and think enough of your work to have paid for your services in the past. Explore whether or not they need new services. Even if they don't right now, contact will keep your name top-of-mind if they need your services in the future.

Use email to get your message out:

Email is a cheap, effective communication tool, and you can use it to get your message out to current or prospective clients. For email marketing success, keep a few things in mind: Many browsers today are equipped with spam blockers, so make sure your message doesn't get caught in the net. Also, give recipients a way to opt out of receiving future emails — an unsubscribe link that notifies you to remove them from your email list. For maximum value, keep messages short, simple and informative.

Use your car as a rolling billboard:

It's fairly inexpensive to have a car magnet or bumper sticker created to promote your business, and depending on where you live or how often you drive, literally thousands of people might notice it. If you go this route, make sure you prominently display your phone number or website address so potential customers can easily reach you.

If you're ready to ring in the New Year with some extra business, now is the time to create a plan. There are plenty of cheap, effective marketing strategies out there that can help you keep your business going strong in 2008.