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Don't underestimate the power of coupons.

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All of us have clipped at one time or another. But did you know these simple pieces of paper could be one of your most powerful tools? Coupons are merely incentives to do with you. But with them, you can achieve several goals. Are you introducing a new product or service? Do you need to increase your repeat business? Coupons help you do both-and also help you fend off , reinforce a current ad campaign or even soften the blow of a price increase.

Direct mail isn't your only choice for -try running coupons in local newspapers or on your Web site. And remember, coupons are more than just words on pieces of paper. Be sure your coupons are clear, stating precisely what the offer is, how long it lasts and how customers can redeem them. And get ready: Most entrepreneurs report that coupons increase business significantly.

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