A young Canadian entrepreneur starting a video-production company asked me for some advice on finance and "getting the word out."
Here is my response:
"Institutional capital is rare for new service businesses. Friends and family is the usual solution to startup capital in situations like yours.
Your best bet would be to look into the Canada Youth Business Foundation, which offers low-rate loans to entrepreneurs under 35. Better still, each loan comes with a mentor and mentoring process to help guide you along the way.
Marketing yours services is all about measuring the benefit you have created for other people, and communicating that information to more people like them. So it's in two parts:
1. Gather testimonials from all of your satisfied clients - get them to specify how you helped them, how great your service was, how much money you saved them or how you directed them to the best solution, etc. (The more detailed, the better.)
2. Communicate the message of how you help people. Start by identifying your target market and finding the best way to reach them (posters, brochures, ads, e-mail, Google ads, press releases, website?). Then start hammering home the message in a helpful, over-the-top, eyecatching way.
Rinse and Repeat.
Does this help?
What other advice might you offer?