When people start their small business specifically if there is a physical product involved, the way to make money is to sell more of that product, or to get more outside sources to carry your product. Its all about scale, right?
But I think there’s much more to scaling your business than simply getting the widget into more stores. Right now there is a tremendous opportunity to use Web 2.0 tools LIKE Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc. to make new friends, have discussions, and leverage these relationships to help your business succeed.
1. Become an Expert. Discuss – Participate in discussions with other like minded business people on the web. Have a BBQ sauce to die for? Talk recipes on BBQ forums. Let people know what your story is.
2. Teach – Work through web portals with small business groups and lend a hand to people across the country who are trying to start their own gig. Give free advice. Link them up on your website. Recommend people who can help with marketing, distribution, etc.
3. Interact – Get the community involved. Do you have an apple orchard that you use for your Pie Filling? Offer your farm to local schools for field trips. Have a community Pick Off where you can teach about sustainable agriculture. Attendees can volunteer for a day on the farm. You get work done, and they get knowledge (maybe a picnic and some new friends too).
The point is… the more you give in terms of your time and knowledge….the more you care about your stakeholders in your community and beyond… the better the chances that people will support your business on the web and in your community. Sure beats providing a door prize.