Safe And Sound

Advertise Wisely

Another way to control who ends up in your home office is to be prudent about where you advertise, says Green. "It's not true that any advertising is good advertising," she says. "Don't put your home-office phone number on supermarket bulletin boards and in general advertising publications. If you're in the computer business, then advertise in computer magazines." By advertising on supermarket or convenience store bulletin boards, she notes, you cast your net to a wider circle of people and a less targeted audience, which is more likely to include a few "weirdos." Most people won't go to the supermarket or look in the Pennysaver to find a secretarial service; typing services would be more appropriately advertised on a university bulletin board. Green also realizes that, at times, it is necessary to advertise in general publications; in these circumstances, she suggests making sure that your advertisement doesn't run near the personal ads, so you won't be fielding any inappropriate, "accidental" calls.

Whenever possible, try to build your business through what is known as word-of-mouth advertising, advises Green. "Referrals are always best, because people you know tend to know people like yourself."

Referrals are a good way to build business, agrees Clemencia Golbov, who runs Home Computer Services, a company which performs desktop publishing and word processing, from her home in Reno, Nevada. "I generally get calls from people I gave my card to at a networking function, or who were referred to me by someone I know," she says. "I don't have my phone number advertised in the phone book, so if I got a call from someone out of the blue, I probably wouldn't have them come straight to my house. I'd arrange our first meeting at their place of business."

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This article was originally published in the October 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Safe And Sound.

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