Written In Stone

Next Step

If your budget is tight but you need some assistance, here are some resources that can help:

  • The SBA has a number of programs that assist start-up marketers. The Small Business Development Center counseling program assigns a consultant to meet with you on a regular basis to monitor your progress in any area from marketing to human resources. Find the nearest center by calling (800) 827-5722 or going online at http://www.asbdc-us.orgCost: Free.
  • The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a group of retired executives with various areas of expertise. The organization offers free counseling to start-up as well as established business owners. Request someone with a marketing background to help you with your marketing efforts. Call (800) 634-0245 or visit http://www.score.orgCost: Free.
  • If you have the time to execute your marketing efforts but need some professional help with strategy, try hiring a marketing professional or small firm to assist you with the plan development phase or to support only specific portions of the plan (i.e., they create the ads and the media plan, you place the ads and save the media commission). Ask around your business community for recommendations. Cost: Varies, but this can potentially save you thousands of dollars.
  • See whether the marketing professor at a local or state college will assign the development of your marketing plan to one of the department's marketing classes, or find out if there's a marketing or related business club on campus that would handle the project. Cost: Free.
  • If you can't get a group of marketing students to help, try just one. Advertise in the student newspaper for a marketing student to help you write and execute your marketing plan in exchange for the experience or a small stipend. Call the marketing departments of community colleges in your area or a state college for student recommendations. Cost: Free or a small fee.

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Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Written In Stone.

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