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People with Disabilities 

Q  Now that you are successful, what would you have done differently?

A Interestingly, most of the individuals interviewed noted that they would have changed their approach to advertising and marketing. The owner of a wholesale web-based sporting goods company made it clear that a more powerful website coupled with an advertising blitz could generate greater sales. Others said that their websites were great for generating sales and for maintaining interest from previous customers. All those commenting on their websites wish they had had more money to invest to make them more significant sales channels, more automated to handle sales transactions, easier to navigate, and richer in content.

Overall, those interviewed found that active networking (i.e. asking for referrals, following up on leads from friends and colleagues) was the single most effective means of growing their businesses. However, they were surprised that at first people did not flock to their company or product. Sales calls still have to be made! Almost all of the entrepreneurs said that they had to work hard at sales, and that everyday adding new customers should be the goal of every business. One person commented, “I found that selling wasn’t as distasteful as I envisioned; but it is hard work. I wasn’t doing nearly enough of it when I started out. I learned the hard way by almost going broke. I have to reach out and ask for work.”

Two business owners felt that print and radio advertising were not cost effective for them. Two other individuals said that their Yellow Pages ads were their best investment, bringing in new customers on a regular basis. Even though the cost of the Yellow Pages is increasing, the price remains cost effective and is often the place customers first find out about a company.

Several entrepreneurs noted that joining local business groups had not "paid off." Instead, asking existing customers for leads and additional work as well as being visible within their communities are all important elements in generating sales. Overall, there was consensus that changing people’s buying habits is difficult. But, if you have a good product or service and are visible and persistent, customers will give you a chance. One owner commented that he gives a money-back guarantee. He feels that no amount of advertising makes up for a bad product or service!

 


 

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Page last updated: October 11 2013

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