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How can I jump-start my business in this economy?

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My partner a I have a service bureau business specializing in document management services for the legal community. For 14 years we've had a steady business--until now. We are at a loss for what we can do next; we've exhusted all of our resources to keep sales coming in, but it hasn't worked.
Well, first things first. Perhaps it's time to take a long, hard look at how your service is priced, how your company rates performance-wise and what you might need to do to improve things. Next, it would help if I knew what you mean when you say "we've exhausted all our resources to keep business coming in." That said, there are quite a few things that anyone can do to jump start a sagging sales pipeline.

The most cost-effective (and results-oriented) vehicles include all of the following:
  • Going to networking events of the groups you belong to, and speaking with various leads
  • Attending new business and community-service venues, and handing out a promotional card that details your services and the benefits of doing business with you
  • Cold calling a handpicked list of good prospects and following up appropriately
  • Hosting a free open house (with nibbles) for current and old clients, as well as new prospects
  • Sending out a company newsletter (by e-mail) containing valuable tips and blatant promos about all your services, as well as a discount  for a three-month introductory service package (offer must stipulate a deadline within 60 days)
Other ideas include taking out ads in appropriate online venues (for example, in the online versions of the business section of your daily paper); doing a podcast (or getting interviewed on other online radio outlets) that you then post on your website and send out ( via e-mail) to relevant leads and news outlets; and sending a press release to all major local channels (daily newspapers, business publications, cable news outlets, local talk radio programs, etc.) that has you commenting on or reporting on a developing trend in your business. Of course all of this presupposes that you have a strong brand in place, with updated, timely materials (including a website)  featuring numerous service options, clear communications about the value of your services and hearty testimonials.

If you have all these in place, and you work at reaching out in various ways to new prospects and current clients, you'll have a much better chance of getting your sales engine humming!
Best of luck!
Pattie Simone

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