How to Grow a Small Business Without Advertising

Many readers of this blog know that I began my small business about two years ago, after having lost a job in the IT industry that I’d had for 12 years. Starting a small business any time is hard, but starting one when you no longer have an income is almost impossible. How do you afford to do the things necessary to grow a small business? How do you hire people to help with the work? How do you advertise to get the word out?

Start with a business that helps others

Very early on, I decided that I would create a business whose only purpose was to help other peoples’ businesses. I decided that I wouldn’t “sell” anything. Instead, I would offer services that other businesses needed. By focusing solely on my clients and helping them to achieve their goals, I was able to quickly get results for my clients because I wasn’t spending time thinking about my own growth.

Develop (or identify) a marketable skill

I have three very marketable skills — I can write, I understand how to use the Internet to get a business found, and I can write.

OK, I have two very marketable skills, and I’m bad at math. But I contend that if you concentrate your efforts on helping others succeed by capitalizing on your marketable skills, you will find that you have an unlimited number of prospects to work with. And if you are good at the skills that you have, you will never have to advertise as clients will come knocking on your door.

Do you take checks?

Two weeks ago I got a phone call from someone whose name I did not recognize. I returned the call — it was an attorney who had been given my name by colleagues of hers. It seems her website had been hijacked by the firm that created it — there was some dispute over the services they had promised to provide, the cost, etc. — and the company shut-down the website and kept control of her website address (domain name). Could I please come to see her.

We met at her office a few days later. As I opened up my notebook to begin taking notes, she said, “You don’t have to sell me anything. I know all about you. I’m anxious to work with you. I assume you’ll take a check?”.


It has been this way for two years now. And while I can not predict the future, I am grateful for the wonderful clients that I have and the terrific people I have met along the way so far. I am committed to helping my clients succeed.