What’s the best way to reach entrepreneurs around the country without a sales force?

QUESTION:

I run a local business directory in The South Jersey area, started in 2005. We’re profitable, and now we’d like to expand by offering a franchise to entrepreneurs across the country. We envision offering the local rights county by county, so each franchise would encompass one county. Each franchise would be a one person or family operation. The only problem is that if you hire salespeople, they want benefits and a salary, so it’s been slow recruiting. The business can be very profitable if someone wants to work at it. What’s the best way to reach entrepreneurs around the country without a sales force? – Bob

ANSWER:

Rabbi Ginzberg

Rabbi Ginzberg

by Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg

1)  Use the word “license” — not franchise.   Franchising is a legal nightmare that is unnecessary in the type of business idea you are proposing.

2)  Have the entrepreneurs come to you via attraction marketing.  This could be on LinkedIn, CraigsList, or via small newspaper ads.  Let the interested people raise their hands and tell you “I’m here and I’m interested!”   This will make it much easier for you to do.

Also see the comments below for other good ideas…

Comments & Advice:
  1. Ohhhh Jeeeez says:

    Try posting on the local version of CraigsList in each location you want to target. You'd be surprised at the response you get.

  2. RJ D Johnston says:

    The internet ;-)

  3. RJ D Johnston says:

    Okay so that was a smug response. But honestly think about it. Your marketing a local business directory correct? Search franchise opportunities on Google (I just did myself on a whim after typing this), notice all the directories themselves? This is where you market your opportunity. If you have a solid system that people can replicate you should do well. The key here is to document enthusiastically. This is important, no matter how “solid” your directory is, you have to make it sexy for people to buy into or they simply will not. Let me add to this, sexy and simple.

    Consider hiring a PR consultant, pricey, but you'll get your monies worth, or bring on a co-founder that has these skills and setup a new company providing them with a fair equity stake (a few percent will NOT excite anyone).

  4. Additionally, you could advertise in various entrepreneurial magazines, like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Inc. to name a few. Ideally, if you can get them to write an article about your business, then that's free advertising (the best kind)! If you can't get them to write an article then buy some ad space, but remember that the price is always negotiable.

    Entrepreneur and best selling author Tim Ferriss has some good tips on how to haggle for better advertising prices: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/02/19

  5. Jayseport says:

    USA TODAY
    ALL LOCAL CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE ACROSS THE COUNTRY
    CRAIGLISTS
    eBay

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