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Woodwork Biz/Getting Started #3: Item Two - Getting the Word Out

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Blog entry by billb posted 02-17-2011 05:19 PM 745 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Item One - Shop Space Part 3 of Woodwork Biz/Getting Started series Part 4: Special Item - Business Accounting »

Item two involves notifying everyone you know about your new business. Before starting this I would make up some business cards that clearly state the work you do. Make them clean looking and avoid anything that might confuse people about the work you do. I have made some excellent cards on my computer using simple software and biz card stock but you can also purchase them and even get some for the price of shipping from a company called VistaPrint.com.

Once you have the cards, start by face-to-face contact with people you know well. Let them know about your business and ask them to pass the word along. Give them one or more cards. Get friends and family to participate in getting new business.

Phone others who may be difficult to reach personally. Tell them about your new business and ask them to tell others. Offer to send them business cards.

Create a short letter describing your services and the benefits of doing business with you and send it to every address you have. Include a business card. Do the same with email and personalize the messages. Don’t send an impersonal message to a long list. Create a simple email message and then copy it. Then send a message to each individual on your list by pasting the message and typing in a short, personal sentence. It’s a lot more work but the recipient is more likely to read it then an impersonal message send to a hundred people.

If you have a web site, create a sub domain just for the business. Include pictures and emphasize the benefits of your business. Include a little about yourself but remember that most people are interested in what’s in it for them, so stick with the benefits. Mention any special qualities of your work. If you don’t have a web site, create one. The cost is now quite low. If you don’t want to spend on hosting and registration, create a blog on Wordpress or Blogspot at no cost. The important thing is to have information and pictures of your work.

Even though the web is important now, don’t overlook creating an album of your work to carry with you. Have a few pictures in an album to show people what you have already done so they can feel comfortable about you doing their job. One fellow I met recently had his album of pictures on his iPhone and it was impressive.

Make it easy for potential customers to do business with you. Be available and willing to spend time discussing jobs in detail. If you want people to be interested in your work, you need to be interested in their needs. Attitude is important so be prepared to give of your time and knowledge.

-- Bill, Austin, Texas, http://woodworking-business.com



4 comments so far

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2493 days


#1 posted 02-17-2011 06:13 PM

These are all good starting points, Bill. Folks shouldn’t underestimate the power of the web. I started out believing that you just can’t sell custom furniture on the web, but 90% of my sales are done from clients from all over the country looking at my web site.
Also, on the photo album topic, you can also make a nice album with the digital photo frames that available now. They hold a lot of pictures.
Thanks for the series and your insight on this subject.

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1637 days


#2 posted 02-18-2011 12:57 PM

Next to business cards, the next most important tool in “getting the word out” is a digital camera. A good one. If you aren’t good at photography, learn! Once you have the pictures, save them on a laptop computer in neat orderly files so you can locate a particular photo at a moment’s notice. Once you have these pictures on the laptop, live with it! Make it a part of you, so that when you run intro a prospective client you can show them your work on the spot.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View billb's profile

billb

112 posts in 1693 days


#3 posted 02-18-2011 02:45 PM

Tim, the web often gets a bad rap because there is so much junk on it but it is a good tool if used effectively and it is a mistake to underestimate it. While I never sold my woodworking on it because it was not so prevalent when I retired, I do use it to sell a lot of books. Maintaining a web site or a blog can definitely help your business. I also believe that social networking, if handled carefully can contribute although it can be tricky and time consuming if you aren’t careful.

-- Bill, Austin, Texas, http://woodworking-business.com

View billb's profile

billb

112 posts in 1693 days


#4 posted 02-18-2011 02:47 PM

Great idea Big Tiny, this is especially true now with the advent of netbooks that are so portable. As I mentioned in one of my posts, an artist who just sold us a painting, had a lot of his work on his iPhone. The pictures together with his understanding of what we were looking for made the sale.

-- Bill, Austin, Texas, http://woodworking-business.com

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