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Home-Biz Boosts

If you're one of the many moms with a home business and you're on a tight budget, getting the word out about your company can be tough. Savvy ways to promote it, from Karen Spaeder of HomeOfficeMag.com:

Raise your profile. Give a talk at a free seminar or offer your services at a town gathering  -- any setting with an audience. For instance, if you're a graphic designer, volunteer as a guest lecturer at a local college; you can teach business students how to design marketing packages, then distribute business cards afterward.

Use your networks. Send an update about yourself and your company to your alumni magazine for publication. If you're a member of any other organization, see whether you can use its mailing list to send out information.

Don't leave home without them. Bring along business cards whether you're headed to a PTA meeting or a work-related event, and hand them out when you mention your job in casual conversation. Give two at a time so that the person you meet has one to pass on to someone else.

Position yourself as an expert. Send out a press release touting yourself as an authority on subjects related to your industry, and let the local paper know you're available for interviews. For example, if you're a party planner, offer your expertise on such topics as the best ways to plan a graduation or an engagement party; that way, your name  -- as well as your company's  -- becomes associated with that topic in readers' minds.

Hit the pavement. Speak with owners of local businesses connected to your field. If you're a decorator, meet with real-estate agents and contractors  -- anyone who may be interested in seeing samples of your work and can talk you up to others. Tell them you'll return the favor.

Give referral incentives. Providing discounts for referrals is a way to motivate customers to recommend you to friends.

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