Whether to rent, lease or buy a copy machine is up to you. But virtually no business can get by without file copies. Carbon paper means a loss of efficiency, and running over to the corner shop to get copies is going to cost you time and money, so be sure to fit some sort of copier into your business start-up costs. If impossible at the very first, use the old carbon paper - you must have a copy for your file.
Just how good a typist are you, well you can write sales letters, and how busy you want to be, should be the deciding factors about the typewriter. If you type at all - and there will always be at least a few letters that you should type personally - we suggest again that you go for the long haul probabilities and rent, lease or buy the best and most modern typewriter you can afford. Later on, when you do move into that "dream" office, hat will be one less piece of equipment you will have to be concerned about.
Once you've decided what areas of business consulting you want to be in, and have your office or working space set up, the next thing is to let people know you're available for work. Definitely use some common sense and applied knowledge before spending any money on advertising. Generally speaking, you will pick up some customers, regardless of the problem area you specialize in, by advertising in your area's most popular newspaper. However, we wouldn't recommend much more than a small ad in the Sunday editions, unless you're a direct mail, multi-level or garage sale consultant.
Check with your Chamber of Commerce for a list of trade and specialized business publishers in your area. Either pickup a sample copy of the business journal at the local newsstand or write to the publisher and ask for a sample. Look through those catering to the type of business you want to serve. Check the editorial styles and types of advertising they carry, and then select the one that corresponds with your needs. Basically, unless a publication reaches the people you are trying to sell to, don't advertise in it regardless of style, quality, or advertising rates.
Radio or television would probably be a complete waste of advertising dollars, unless you're offering help with direct mail, multi-level marketing or garage sales. The best time for any broad cast advertising in order to reach you best prospects seems to be in the evening hours after the late-night news, when these people are either still labouring over their special projects or relaxing before going to bed. If you do use broadcast advertising, the commercial is very important. Really concentrate on this, and use a lot of common sense in writing the message. Even if you engage the services of an experienced broadcast copywriter, make sure the message speaks to your potential customers, and convinces them that you can help solve their problems or improve the profit picture of their business.
Finally, where do you advertise? Go with a quarter-page ad in the yellow pages of your telephone directory. The space salesman will help you with the ad, but remember, you want it to catch the eye of your particular client, and offer a promise of an end to his problems. Always talk to your kind of people, emphasizing the benefits of your services. It's not good practice to quote or even discuss prices in either your advertising or on the phone when people respond. Always get name, address and telephone number, then explain your services in general. Set up an appointment to look over their operation, analyze their needs, and make a written proposal to solve their problems.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor.