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How do you promote yourself?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, basically, that's the question.
So far I've been getting all my gigs through word of mouth, and I'm definitely looking to expand :)
Advice? Halp? Opinions?
post #2 of 20
Word of mouth is the accepted first choice for so many services and it worked reasonabley well for me. Up to a point.

My main client base was in the business sector and i needed secrataries and pr's to be ordering hospitality lunches from me. So itargeted our local technology park. Called round them all and left menus and a short cover letter. Made appointments to see them personally with samples and it payed dividends. Those i hadnt been able to see spoke to others on cigarette breaks, or while queing at the sandwich van and i was very busy there very quickly.

I also spoke to the managers of pubs that did food and had a function suite. My pitch was that if they used me for function work, it would leave their chefs free to concentrate on the menu. Worked like a charm and i ended up with some casual work and One that contracted me to do all their function work. I also offered to promote their place on my website. (below)

It's scary putting yourself out there. Facing the possibility of rejection. But if you have faith in your product, the doors do start opening.
I was terrified of doing the canvassing myself and put it off for months. My son nagged me to "JUST DO IT" one day and it got easier quite quickly.

I'd say, if you really dont have the confidence to deal with prospective clients in the begining, pay someone to do it for you.

Advice i was given but didnt take was "DONT ADVERTISE. IT MAKES YOU LOOK DESPERATE" I spent a fortune on local magazines etc and got nothing.

I did take out advertising with Yell.com tho with a link to my website that has been very successful.

best of luck to you
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
thank you so much for your answer!
post #4 of 20
I am in the same boat- trying to decide how to advertise and promote my new business. I recently closed my small, tiny really, cafe and take to open a 24 seat cafe in a downtown area. My catering remains the same. We opened last Wednesday and have done very well for not having advertised. We decided on a soft opening so we could get comfortable and not get in over our heads out of the gate. I want to put more into the marketing aspect after July 4th.

Being in the center of town right next to City Hall, the fire department, and police department is really helpful, as is being near law offices, courthouse, and numerous offices. How can I take the best advantage of my location?
post #5 of 20
Do you just want folk to come to you, or have you considered a delivery service?

Seems to me, you're in the ideal spot to offer a lunch service to the offices, police and fire brigade.

It may not be what you're looking to do, but i'd be contacting all department heads with a view to supplying a small delivery menu. Hopefully they will allow you to leave your details in all the departments. Orders are then emailed to you by 9.30 am and delivered at lunchtime.The woman i know that does this in Aberdeen uses paypal too so all orders are payed for up front.

Alternatively. The fire brigade and police here are always having small functions during the day. This puts a great strain on in house caterers. I know, cos i worked in a couple during my agency days.
Anyway, they may be interested in giving you the business

Best of luck with your new venture
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #6 of 20
keeping in theme with this thread, when a new prospect comes to you for service and requests references or proof of credentials, what do you do? i had a prospect recently request references but i was leary about giving out other ppl's info with out their permission, in the same vein i didnt want the prospect to feel that i was going to call up my references and coerce them into giving me rave reviews...
post #7 of 20
huh? is this as a catering business or personnel chef or private chef?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 20
Thanks,bughut. Good ideas! We're still so new on the block, that I am hesitant about deliveries. There's a hospital nearby and someone from the ER there has asked about it. Seems they can't leave during their shift. I'd consider delivering if it could be accomplished BEFORE our lunch rush- that way, I don't have to have on another person just now.

What do you know about paypal? I should check into that especially if the cost is less than my credit card fees.

What does everyone do for advertising? Newspapers?
post #9 of 20
I dont know enough about paypal to pass on to you. Except that its much cheaper than credit cards. Customers set up a free account which sends payments instantly. My brother uses it now on his websites as its much cheaper.

Best thing would be to google paypal its a very easy, global system.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #10 of 20
>> if the cost is less than my credit card fees.

not likely to come true.

PayPal has branded credit cards and branded Debit Cards which process just like every other credit / debit card on the planet.

the "PayPal system" itself is impractical for point of sale. you send the buyer an electronic invoice, they authorize fund transfer from their account to your account.
post #11 of 20
My question to you: How do you find services when you are in need?

As soon as you can answer that question, you'll have the answer to YOUR question.

If you're still looking in the Yellow Pages, then I can't help. My guess is that you're probably going to Google.

-Kevin
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Right - i feel like i find everything through either google or word of mouth!

re: references. I have several clients that got a "standing OK" from that I use as my references. This way I can give their contact info right away, and they're not surprised.
post #13 of 20
Here is how one company decided to promote themselves from a Word-of-Mouth business to having a fully functional website: Razzle Catering. They are located in Spartanburg, SC and serve the upstate of SC with their excellent culinary expertise. Check them out!!
post #14 of 20
When I was located in Boston, I use to use craigslist.com and facebook.com and got several great jobs from both.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #15 of 20
i was working at a very nice private club for a while, after i left, a lot of the rich members who wanted off premises catering just naturally contacted me so i was lucky. beyond that, strong word of mouth, nice memorable business cards and for a while i had a website going. good food is always your best advertising.
post #16 of 20
to promote myself, this is what I did. Each time my friends/family were having a party I volunteered to cook/bake (certain dishes/pastries because I am no professional, yet:D). Next to the food/pastries I placed pieces of papers with my name, plus my firends mentioned my name at the end of the party.

Also, everytime I baked, I offered my neighbours and told them "if you know anyone blah blah blah. . .please refer them to me." Well, it worked out pretty dawn good.

good luck and blessings!!
post #17 of 20
OOps!! Moderators, please delete. I am just seeing ONLY FOR PROFESSIONALS. I am truly sorry. Please forgive me
post #18 of 20

You must advertise

  1. get a website
  2. sign up for google local (its free)
  3. use Waiter.com Free Online Restaurant Ordering and Corporate Delivery Services if its in your area.
  4. sign up at :: Mingamo - Here Now Save - online coupons website :: for free trial (they offer unique customer loyalty programs.
  5. KEEP YOUR ESTABLISHMENT CLEAN ESPECIALLY WASHROOMS
  6. offer coupons
  7. When cash flow warrants but asap. pay for SEO
  8. send out letters each week to corporations in your area to the CEO's admin as she usually books corporate luncheons and board meetings
  9. get any convention schedules and promote during events.
  10. join the chamber of commerce
If you want to grow and compete in a bad economy you must advertise. Word of mouth is in addition to your efforts. You are not desperate if you advertise, you are just being a good "business person".

lisa
Tea Traditions Catered Tea Parties
post #19 of 20
PayPal

Posted this Blog some time ago and I am sharing it here.

First let me say I am not endorsing PayPal, however I do use it and after almost ten years have found it to be beneficial to both to students in my classes and myself. Recently, a number of home-based bakers in my last class asked what method was best for collecting payment from customers?

My recommendation is always whenever possible get paid up front and use a reliable, safe payment method if collecting by credit card.

Here are my thoughts about PayPal. There was a time many, many years ago when I was not the biggest fan of PayPal (no bad experiences just didn’t get it, like most consumers new to online sales) however today I use it for online class payments and most of the products/books I sell online.

PayPal send funds directly to a seller from a verified bank account or from a credit card. The key advantages include:

* Immediate and convenient
* Your payment is deposited directly into the seller’s account
* You can pay directly from the product/service listing page
* There is absolutely No requirement that you use your credit card (you can transfer money directly from your bank account)
* Sellers don’t see your credit card number (it is safely encrypted through PayPal’s server), which limits the risk of unauthorized use.
* Automatic payment tracking
* PayPal Buyer Protection offered on qualifying items – up to $1,000 in free coverage
* Additional limited protection offered through PayPal’s Money Back Guarantee
* Allows for a degree of anonymity
* PayPal is available in 190 markets and 18 currencies around the world PayPal enables global ecommerce by making payments possible across different locations, currencies, and languages

Visit www.PayPal.com to learn more.

I would not be fair if I did not tell you there are other payment methods availabe and you will want to shop around for what works best for you and your business.

PayPal Alternatives: Top 5 PayPal Alternatives
D. Denay Davis

…life is about investing in what you love!
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D. Denay Davis

…life is about investing in what you love!
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post #20 of 20
As for starters of course you must start from the beginning then going up. The best thing you must do is to start with a free webservice. Then try to observe if it will work. Then from there you can invest much more if you find some improvement on it.
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