It's all in the mind.

mmlYour marketing campaign is that set of activities that you use to get the word out – get the right people to know who you are, what you do, and where to find you. (Then your sales campaign takes over and converts prospects into customers.)

You can try to wing it.

But going through the same planning process as larger companies before launching your marketing campaign will pay off – perhaps by reducing your costs, and almost assuredly in getting better results for the same investment of time and money.

During the past several years I’ve advised software developers, physical therapists, dance instructors, dog trainers, consultants, and other small, usually service-oriented businesses on setting up their own marketing campaigns. Here’s what campaigns are all about, and how you can make your marketing work for you.


You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what you’re aiming …

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iffyIn a sluggish economy, the entrepreneurs who suffer least adjust their repertoire to a shifting marketplace. Find out which skill related to your current services is still in demand in your community. By developing this skill, you can offer it as a new service.

A classic way to hone a new capacity is by taking a course. But you can also diversify through pro bono work for a nonprofit organization you admire. Offer your talents for a project that will showcase the skill you want to refine. When the owner of a market-research firm in a small town in California needed experience working with children, she donated her services to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

While donating your services to a non-profit agency, you may meet its board members, usually successful business executives. It can’t hurt to have them know who you are–and they’ll appreciate your contribution …

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Data warehousing announcements last week from Sequent Computer Systems Inc. and Intellidex Systems LLC Data reflect a growing corporate trend of cleaning data from disparate operational stores and funneling it into a single repository.

Sequent announced its CompleteWarehouse program, a bundle of hardware, services and software for building a data warehouse. Sequent promises to build a complete data warehouse in 90 days for a starting price of $500,000, according to officials at the Beaverton, Ore., company.

Meanwhile, startup Intellidex began shipping its first product. The Warehouse Control Center gives warehouse administrators a central point to manage metadata, the index information for the warehouse’s data.

These two areas in data warehousing–one-stop bundled solutions and metadata management–are likely to form the core of a fast-growing market this year.

Sequent joins a long list of vendors rushing to meet companies’ desires to buy from a single vendor all or most of the hardware,

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ncLin Fish, a marketing and communications consultant, gets together with 30 or 40 friends every Friday morning, enjoys a nice breakfast, and develops new business for her company at the same time. Fish is a member of a networking club. These clubs have been around for years, and they are gaining popularity as more and more people open their own businesses and start to work from home.

Networking clubs are groups of business-people who meet on a regular basis to interact, trade referrals, and exchange business ideas and advice. Whether you live in a small town or in the heart of a big city, you should have no trouble locating (or forming) a club in your area.

When I started looking for ways to expand my practice as a certified public accountant, I decided to join a networking club. Our community newspaper lists business meetings scheduled each week, so I …

tlyMost people who work from home have a wish list of new equipment and software they would like to add to their office. The most successful businesspeople, however, find ways to transform their wish lists into reality more quickly than others.

Instead of thinking, Oh, I don’t really need that, those who are quick to adopt the latest technology think, Oh, I could sure use that. They don’t let themselves feel satisfied with just getting by. They don’t want just to survive; they want to thrive. So get beyond thinking about what you need and start thinking about what you can use. Take a look at your wish list and start imagining what you could be doing if you had those items right now.

If you still have an I-don’t-need-that attitude toward a particular piece of hardware or software, at least allow yourself to investigate how your competition is using …

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The Internet and major online services – America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy, and Microsoft Network – all offer useful resources for small businesses. But for every site that gives you good information on a potential client, there are 200 more that will waste your time. If you’ve logged on to cyberspace with little more than spiffy new software and a respectable modem, you may feel bit lost among the vast amount of information suddenly at your fingertips.

Business people need help, too!

Business people need help, too!

Our editors have traversed the nether reaches of the online services and the Internet’s World Wide Web and come up with a list of the most useful places for entrepreneurs. Accessing most of these sites costs no more than the amount of time you spend on your online account. Some, like the Web’s Info-Seek, charge extra for their superior content. To further help you, we’ve even highlighted our favorite …

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Though DOS is very popular in the embedded world, it does have some major drawbacks. First is the famous memory barrier limiting DOS-based applications to just 640 kbytes in size. In addition, DOS doesn’t have built-in support for multitasking. And because it is a 16-bit operating system, DOS cannot use the latest 32-bit C++ development tools from Microsoft and Borland International Inc.

How can the embedded world get around the limitations of DOS? One possible solution is Windows NT. When Microsoft created Windows NT, it first designed the Win32 application programming interface, a definition of the system calls that programmers use to write applications. One of the design goals of the Win32 API is to make it easy to port existing 16-bit Windows applications to 32 bits. Microsoft maintained compatibility in the Win32 API by keeping most existing Windows system calls for writing user-interface code.

Microsoft’s second goal for the

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wtlfiaaAbout a year ago, Paul Graboff, a graphic designer in Takoma Park, Maryland, began gathering financial records from his business for his annual visit to his accountant. He was feeling pretty good about the money he had made in 2013. The three lean years he’d spent establishing his business paid off.

A couple of months later, Graboff received a rude awakening. Didn’t he know about the self-employment tax that would shave an additional 15 percent off his income? Hadn’t he been paying enough estimated tax on the money he was earning? Graboff owed more in taxes than he had in cash. That meant he’d probably have to defer buying that important new Macintosh equipment a little longer.

“When we got involved, he was already behind the eight ball,” said Terry Rice, the Washington, D.C., certified public accountant to whom Graboff turned. “There wasn’t much we could do about 2014.”

“Terry …

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