Anyone who’s started his or her own business (be it brick and mortar, online, even something as simple as garage sales on the weekend) will tell you that the most important aspect to keep your business going (and so you make profits) is marketing.
Starting out with something as simple as a garage sale, think about what types of marketing there are. Most often you’ll find sharpie-scribbled cardboard signs stapled to telephone poles with a big arrow pointing in the direction of your “business”. Now, you might laugh and say that isn’t marketing, but in reality that’s fundamentally all there is to marketing. You have a product or service and you want people to know about it. Simple as that.
Continuing with the garage sale analogy, there are plenty of other ways you can market yourself. I’m sure you’ll tell your neighbors and friends. And maybe you’ll even post an ad in the PennySaver or on Craigslist. These are all forms of direct marketing.
Possibly the biggest factor to a garage sales success is its location. If you live in an apartment, you’re obviously very limited to how successful you can become. In an apartment complex there just isn’t very much room to display your goods. You can put up signs, tell your family and post bulletins, but they probably won’t do very much good if people can’t get to your business. Now, what if you lived on the corner house next to a main road? Granted, people don’t usually move their homes to have a garage sale (it’s usually the other way around), but this is another example of marketing; and it’s very direct.
Okay, so how else can you market and advertise your sale? Is there anything else you can do? Yep. There are still plenty of other things you can do. Your garage sale is going to top all others.
How about expansion? Talk to your neighbors and plan a group garage sale. Get your whole street involved and you’ll have turned your garage sale into an antique mall. Want to expand even more? Maybe you could start a website. Take pictures of everything and let people shop online and you can ship them their orders.
Now that you’re starting to get big, it’s time to get some press coverage. Call up your local newspaper and let them know what you’re doing on your street. That’s a free ad in the paper which means more customers and more profits.
By now you’ll have run out of things to sell, so it’s time to bring in a wholesaler. Look for companies that sell faux antiques and order in bulk. Give each house on your street its own product line. Build signs, decorate your lawn, put up twinkle lights and you’ll be a phenomenon.
Next up, hire a camera crew and record your own TV commercial. Play it locally first and then move it to cable stations. By now, you’ll have competitors. Other streets will want a piece of the pie. And now you’re back to square one. That’s what marketing is all about. Time to start something new!