Around two-and-a-half years ago, I launched a company with a long-time college pal. Shortly after, another old college friend joined the firm as its third partner.
Our company, Intrepid Innovations Inc., specializes primarily in Web and graphic design, Internet marketing, search engine optimization, and copy writing.
Most of 2008 and 2009 saw dismal sales. Much of this was due to economic conditions, particularly in 2009. But some of it was also due to the fact that our advertising was very inconsistent; sporadic. But then again, a strong correlation can be made here: a weak economy means fewer sales, which translates into fewer dollars available for strong advertising.
2010, however, even though we’re not quite through the first third of it, has seen both sales and leads rise considerably.
Much of our success this year, I’m convinced, is due to a blog I launched this past January. Built on the user-friendly and highly popular Blogger platform, Metro-Milwaukee Power Networkers Blog aims to be, according to its description, “…a source for powerful advice and resources geared toward Milwaukee-area business owners and professionals.” Visitors to the blog will find all sorts of postings pertaining to business; links to various networking groups and organizations and businesses throughout the Milwaukee area; polls; press releases; a live news feed that provides articles concerning the local economic climate; and so on.
This blog has become a valuable advertising tool for us. And best of all, it’s both a consistent and a free advertising tool, one that has come to serve three purposes:
1) It keeps the name Intrepid Innovations in front of people on a continual basis
2) It’s become another Internet marketing tool at our disposal when we’re promoting the businesses of our Milwaukee-area clients
3) It’s allowed us to transcend the limits of our core business by becoming a valuable and reliable resource for a much wider audience
I can almost kick myself in the rear for not thinking of this idea sooner. And it was so easy to set up and remains very easy to maintain because, in no particular order:
I naturally love to write
I love to network with others and share ideas and resources
I love to help others
I’m a business owner
So, to point out the lesson here: if you’re a business owner and you’re struggling with sales and/or you don’t have very consistent advertising, take a step back, take a deep breath, relax, and reflect on the question, “What other personal talents, skill sets, and interests do I have that I can somehow utilize to better promote my business?” I’m willing to bet you’ll find quite a few you.