Originally created 06/18/97

Home-based businesses must market to succeed, instructor says



If you're in business and people don't know it, then you're mixing a recipe for failure, a home-based business instructor told a group of potential students this week.

"The biggest marketing mistake businesses make is no marketing at all," said Bob Neal of Spectrum Business Center in Augusta who is teaching Augusta State University's course on home-based business.

Monday night he spoke to 25 people who attended a free preliminary session that outlined the course, which begins next Monday.

Mr. Neal estimates that there are between 50,000 and 55,000 home-based business in the Augusta area, which has a population of about 400,000.

In outlining the four-session course, he gave an example of poor marketing, using an imaginary consultant who didn't market himself correctly. The consultant would launch a marketing blitz, get a customer and stop marketing. He then would have to do another blitz to gain another customer.

But marketing should be a continuing process, Mr. Neal said. Businesses should always be building a customer base and building confidence in their businesses.

"I don't care how cheap you are, until they have confidence in you, they're not going to do business with you," Mr. Neal said.

Mr. Neal, who said he failed in his first business venture - a medical office management firm - said the course will include topics such as determining whether students should become entrepreneurs, marketing, planning, taxes and getting started. He has taught the course since 1993.

Ideas for businesses among the Monday night group ranged from a bookkeeping service, health food store, ceramic doll repair, fragrance and candle design business, catering and party-planning service, and World Wide Web page design.

The session helped Donna Jones of Waynesboro, who wants to open a floral design business. "Yes, I think it was beneficial," she said, and plans to attend the Monday session, which will be presented as a one-time session option.

Home-based business resources

Seminars sponsored by Augusta State University Continuing Education Division; call 737-1636 for details and to register:

  • Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Are You Suited to a Home-Based Business?; cost, $19; Bob Neal, instructor; a seminar designed to allow people to determine whether they should start a home-based business.
  • Mondays, June 23-July 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Home-Based Business; cost, $59; Bob Neal, instructor; this will go beyond the mechanics of starting a business.
  • Organizations

  • American Home Business Association, 4505 S. Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City, Utah 84124; (800) 664-2422 or (801) 273-5450, fax (801) 273-5422;
  • American Association of Home-based Businesses, Beverly Williams, founder/president; P.O. Box 10023, Rockville, MD 20849; (202) 310-3130, (301) 963-9153, fax (301) 963-7042; e-mail, aahbb@crosslink.net; provides information on homebased businesses.
  • Mother's Home Business Network, Georganne Fiumara, founder/director; P.O. Box 423, East Meadow, NY 11554; (516) 997-7394, fax (516) 997-0839; offers free fact sheet: the Best Mother-to-Mother Home Business Opportunities.
  • Publications

    Business@Home magazine, Oregon Business Media publishing company; $9.98/12 issues; 610 S.W. Broadway, Suite 200; Portland, OR 97205, Attention: Circulation; (503) 223-0304 (ask for Eric Malin in circulation department), fax (503) 221-6544; on the Web, http://www.gohome.com; e-mail, subscribe@oregonbusiness.com.

    At Home at Work quarterly newsletter, Sharron Kahn Luttrell, editor and publisher; $12.95; P.O. Box 487, Mendon, MA 01756-0487; (508) 634-3989.