Fight The Funk

Home Zone

Homebased businesses are springing up like wildflowers after the rain. It's enough to make any businessperson salivate at the marketing possibilities. But if you're targeting homebased businesses, you face a few problems. First of all, they can be tough to find.

"A lot of homebased businesses don't advertise," says Christopher Helmrath, manager of client development for accounting firm Clifton Gunderson LLC in Baltimore, and adjunct professor of marketing at Loyola College in Baltimore. "Their names aren't on any lists, especially when they're starting out.

"The best thing to do is find a local association that attracts homebased businesses," says Helmrath. "If you don't have one nearby, try the chamber of commerce or a marketing leads group."

Helmrath believes the secret to marketing successfully to homebased entrepreneurs is to get to know them. "Most homebased businesspeople like to deal with others who are just like them. If you do a good job for them, they're likely to suggest others who might benefit from your products or services," he says.

Helmrath also points out that while these homebased start-ups may be small, their owners don't like to be handled like second-class citizens. "You should treat homebased customers just as you would treat IBM," he says, "like they are your biggest and best accounts.

It's also vital to offer value. "Homebased entrepreneurs are less excited about glitz and more interested in getting the most from every penny they spend," Helmrath says. "If you can meet their needs at a good price and treat them well, you'll earn their trust and their business, too."

Contact Sources

Clifton Gunderson LLC, 9515 Deereco Rd., #500, Baltimore, MD 21093, chrishelmrath@cliftonpa.com

GTE, P.O. Box 6000, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816-1924, (208) 761-1211

Marc Hardy & Associates, MarcHardy@aol.com, http://www.marchardy.com

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