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FLYING HIGH: 5 Sure Ways to Get Your Business Soaring

By Cathleen Fillmore

1. Joining appropriate associations and organizations not only adds to your credibility but also provides you with important contacts. Since there may be many worthy organizations you could join, you need to develop a criteria to help you find those that would be mutually beneficial. Before making a decision, consider whether:

a. members are encouraged to participate
b. the information at meetings meets your needs
c. training is available
d. networking opportunities with prospective clients are encouraged
e. the benefits outweigh the cost of both time and money.

Helen Walter, Sr. Designer with Capstone Communications Group claims that she isn't a joiner by nature. "But I've found such a high quality and level of enthusiasm and morale at the Association of Independent Consultants that I signed up. It's a very professional organization and no matter how tired I might be before a meeting, I always leave with an upbeat feeling. While finding clients hasn't been my primary motivation, I have led Meet the Pro sessions and gained clients from my participation at meetings." Of all the benefits one can get from a good professional organization, inspiration and morale boosting are among the most important.

2. Write articles or a book for publication. It can't be said often enough that being an author adds instant credibility. Write for periodicals that your prospective clients read - this is part of what Helen Walter calls knowing the client better than you know yourself. "Know what their motivations are and what turns them on. Get beneath the surface and really listen to what they're saying." Also find out what they're reading and offer to write a relevant article for that publication, making sure you leave your contact information and a brief bio if possible.

3. Raise your profile by speaking to groups and associations where members of the audience fit your prospect profile. Develop a speech that ties in with the article(s) you've written and offer to deliver it at an annual conference or a regular monthly meeting. Give a handout to each audience member that sums up the points you made and that has all your contact information. If you need training, try either Toastmasters International or the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

4.Form strategic alliances. One of the most cost effective way to advertise your business is to get someone else to do it for you. Cross-promotion is the wave of the future and if you don't learn to surf it, you'll get dunked! Find businesses that complement yours and look for ways you could work together, either by sharing a booth at a trade show, combining a mail-out, or offering the other business's customers a substantial discount. This makes your marketing budget stretch much farther.

5. Get a listing in Sources. As a journalist, I have depended for many years on Sources to provide a comprehensive list of experts and contact information. As an expert myself, I have had enormous payoffs from my listing, including an article that featured me in Canadian Living, a phone interview from Canada AM, and an Ottawa radio station interview, not to mention clients who found my information in Sources. Other experts I have spoken to have had the same experience. And Susan Stern, writer and speaker, notes that her relationship with Sources has become a partnership. She says "The people at Sources are exceptional - they're a joy to deal with. They're the kind of people who return phone calls and who follow up; in short, they want me to be successful."

To make best use of your advertising budget, the goals for any advertising should be to create credibility, to raise your public profile and to gain clients. When a resource does all three, you know you have a winner.

Lise-Ann Jackson, Media Relations Manager with Andersen Consulting sums up the elements in a good public relations strategy: "Know your audience, know your message, be clear and consistent in that message, then develop a strategy and execute it, making sure your objectives are well defined and the measurements of your success upfront."

Time for take-off!

Cathleen Fillmore is co-author of Going for Gold! A Complete Marketing Strategy for Speakers and author of more than 80 published articles. She leads marketing seminars for businesses, entrepreneurs, professional practitioners and speakers and also does private coaching. Visit her on the Internet at and check out her listing in Sources.

See also:
How Sources magnifies your Internet visibility