Basically, there are a couple of ways you can go about your marketing, especially if you are just starting out with your local business. The fundamental thing you should do, no matter which marketing approach you choose, is to dedicate a monthly marketing budget and hire a great professional marketing consultant, before you even open shop. Obvious as this sounds, it is hard to believe how many owners of small businesses never really think of it as part of their business planning. The consultant will advise you on different marketing techniques and the expected results of each of them or all of them combined. Depending on your business, a consultant will introduce marketing practices that work the best right now for your competitors. You know that one of the best things you can do is see who is really successful in your niche, where they advertise, and where they have plenty of following, right? Another way to start your marketing is by choosing just one strategy that has had proven results for others involved in your type of business, focus on that strategy until you get a handful of good leads, and then adopt another strategy in addition to the first one. Keep adding marketing techniques to your portfolio as you master each one, or as you discover that some work better than others. This approach is recommended for people who get easily overwhelmed with too many options and tend to do none of them because they don’t know where to start. The most important consideration is, however, how fast do you want to grow your business? Business growth is faster if you have more clients, more sales, or both (you may close many sales with a single client). If you have a proper business system in place that is ready to handle multiple clients from the get-go, then you will need a generous marketing budget to make this known to as many people as possible. You will achieve business growth faster that way. It is important to strive to get as many clients as you can realistically handle, so you don’t under-deliver and damage your business reputation. If you are starting with a very limited budget, on the other hand, which is what many owners of small local businesses do initially, we suggest that you still interview several marketing professionals who have plenty of clients already and don’t desperately need your money. These people can point you in a specific direction such as starting with a single strategy that works better than many others in terms of getting high quality leads. This will result in a gradual expansion of your business. Once you start gaining revenue, you can control the growth speed of your business so far as you reinvest this revenue into more marketing instead of in supporting your lifestyle, as many inexperienced business owners tend to do and end up closing shop within the dreaded five-year timeframe. Additionally, it is a great idea to communicate with other owners of the same type of business. If you feel uncomfortable asking your local competition about all their marketing secrets directly, then consider calling professionals in neighboring states and request an hour worth of phone meeting. Afterwards, as a gesture of genuine gratitude for their time, ask them what their favorite place to shop is and send them a gift card. So many shops offer gift cards or certificates online (an example of a great marketing strategy)! This solution may be cheaper than any consultation with a marketing expert. At least you know that your business counterpart in another state is not personally interested in your money, nor are they feeling threatened by you competing with them. If the out of state business owner or marketing person requests a fee for their time, it is worth spending the money to learn. In conclusion, please don’t underestimate the value of great marketing professionals. Some of these experts know your industry and the most efficient ways to market it, therefore you should seek their advice sooner or later, again, depending on your business goals. If you expect your clients to come to you for your professional services, you can then see the value of someone who can resolve your business challenges professionally, too.