Some people might think of these as marketing tools to help you promote your business. That may be true, they do promote your business and thus they are useful for marketing, but these 4 things do so much more...
They're not JUST marketing tools, they are positioning statements! When you do one (or more) of these 4 things, you are virtually raising your voice among the crowds of people to say "here I am, do business with me." Let's look at them and see how they can help your business:
- Consult. Aside from doing your regular business, you can consider consulting. This can take a couple of approaches. You can provide consulting to others who are trying to do the same or similar things as you in your industry (in a non-competing niche or different geographic region). Or, you can consult on your industry as an additional money-making service to your clients or as a way to get new clients. Either way, consulting will position you as more than a business owner. You'll be a coach of business owners and an expert. People like doing business with experts. And yes, you can earn a substantial income just from consulting. If you ever grow tired of doing what you are doing and you decide to sell your business, your consulting practice is a natural "next step" in the growth of your career.
- Public speaking. Giving seminars and workshops on some aspect of your industry can help position you as the "go to person." Again, you'll be an expert in your industry. As well, it's an additional money-making venture that can add to your bottom line directly (through speaking fees) while it adds to your bottom line indirectly (through increased sales). What's more, you can see increased sales as a result of "back-of-the-room" sales (when you sell your books and tapes at your speaking engagements) or from people who hear you speak and think, "I have to get what that person is selling."
- Get involved in philanthropy. Philanthropy is a popular business practice right now but it's not done for all the right reasons. Granted, it will give you exposure, but you should also be philanthropic because you want to be a nice person and give back to the world. That said, you can achieve both good karma AND good business exposure by going the extra mile. Don't just sponsor an event or put a sign up at a local charitable drive, be an active participant. If people in your neighborhood are planting trees, rather than providing sodas for the tree planters in exchange for a sign, you should put on your brightest smile, a company shirt, and lead a group of people by planting the most trees with the most verve and passion you can muster. Not only is it the right thing to do, you'll motivate other people to do the right thing too, and people will remember that you're a good person. This positions you as a good and trustworthy member of the community...and that's the person whose store people will patronize, even if they can get your products cheaper somewhere else.
- Write a book. This is an excellent way to position yourself as an expert. If you are able to get it accepted for publication, you can earn some money for it (probably not enough to retire, but every little bit helps). If what you want to write about is specialized or limited, consider having it published at a print-on-demand company. Or publish an e-book. No matter which avenue you choose, it will look great on your marketing material if the words that follow your name are "author of..."