Setting Yourself Up For Success: Making Your First Sales

You have to let people know about your business so they can buy your products and services. One of the first steps is to write out and practice the “elevator speech” that answers the question, “What product or service does your business offer?”

Sit down and write down the answer for your business or the business you want to start. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • I am a business consultant who’s just released a book about starting your own business for less than $1,000 and making sure it’s successful.
  • I am an event planner who brings together artists and their art with people who appreciate it, in relaxed venues for an enjoyable evening.
  • I help people make money from the things they own but no longer need. (eBay and Craigslist trader).

That wasn’t tough at all, was it? However, you can increase the probability that you’ll get a sale by taking the next step and “showing” the person you talk to what you mean.

Business Consultant: That first example listed above is me. Friday, I went to see Lauri who’s been cutting my hair for fifteen years. She knew I’d been working on my book, $1,000 Start-Ups, for a couple of years, so I took it with me to show her it had been published. I set it down on the table and moved to the chair to get my haircut. As I was finishing up she asked me how the book was coming and I told her it had been published and reached over and picked it up.

She immediately told me to bring her a copy to leave in the shop with ordering information so her customers could buy the book, demonstrating how much your friends and other business owners want you to succeed.

The man who was next for a haircut immediately spoke up and asked, “Are you Leah?”   I said I was. He laughed and showed me a note he’d jotted down on a piece of paper. It had my name and the name of my book.   He’d seen it on the table, browsed through it, and wrote down the information so he could go find the book.

You can bet I gave him a card with the ordering information.

Event Planner: The second example – the event planner who brings together artists and their art with people who appreciate it and are potential buyers.

In order to conduct an event and invest very little of your own capital you need a venue, artists who want to display and sell their work, and buyers. Create a little ‘book’ that shows the events you’ve planned. Now add to that book a brochure or flyer for the event you’re planning.

Locate a venue, such as a nightclub, coffee shop, or restaurant whose owner would like to attract more business. Offer to hold your event there and bring in people who will purchase food and drinks while they are at the show. People who have a good time will return as customers in the future.

There are always artists who want to display their work, particularly if you are bringing customers in. Offer to include them for a set fee or a percentage of sales. Give the artists flyers and let them know they need to invite their friends and family. If you have 10 artists and they each invite 10 people you have enough of a crowd to generate some sales.

You can make the event more exciting by conducting a silent or live auction where each artist gets to have his work highlighted.

Put together a press release and take it to the local media to get coverage for your event.

After your first event spend the next week talking to everyone involved and find out if they would like to participate in your next event and if not, why not (then make the necessary adjustments).

eBay and Craigslist Trader: The third example given above is the easiest business to start.   All you need is a computer, a camera, and a business card to start generating business. Start by listing and selling your own items. Keep a ‘book’ with pictures of what you’ve sold and for what price to show to anyone you talk to. Have them EMAIL you a picture, write a description and list the item, and determine the protocol to use for delivery or shipment once it sells.

These are just quick examples of the hundreds of ideas in $1,000 Start-Ups for generating your first sales and marketing your business.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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