By Allison Turner Business, Marketing & Sales Consultant Many businesses want to build their customer base from one to 1,000 or even 100,000 overnight. Is that realistic? It may be for some businesses but definitely not for most businesses. Business owners get frustrated when they can’t build their business as fast as they would like but it takes time and consistency of effort and often it is best to focus on small groups. Grassroots marketing starts from the ground up. It generally is the least expensive way of marketing because the business focuses its efforts on a small group of people instead of trying to reach a much larger audience. First, you must define your target market or the group of consumers or businesses that you want to attract. Second, you must be consistent! People do business with those they know, like and trust. If they see you once and never hear from you again that is not enough. 1) Join the local Chamber of Commerce. I like to think of networking as how I can be of service to those I meet. Regardless of whether a business will ever be a client, I seek to build the relationship, connect them with a possible strategic alliance and generally keep in touch with them. It is not enough to simply be a member but you must engage and develop relationships within the Chamber. Since my company is a member of the Delray Chamber, I generally attend 1-2 Grand Openings / Networking events each week. am I also co-chair a Leads Group, and am an Ambassador for the Chamber. For one low annual fee, you have a large group in which to network and build relationships for your business. Remember do NOT simply join and never attend events. People must get to know you and your business! 2) Hold a Local Event or Workshop. If you are a service driven business, holding complimentary or low cost workshops in your area allow you to get your name out, build your business and brand, and attract local customers. There are several places in Delray where you can hold workshops for low or no cost such as the PGA Superstore, Greenlands or Church of the Palms. 3) Build Strategic Alliances. Whether you are a one-person business or have a staff of 100, strategic alliances are connections in your area of expertise that will often refer to you and you to them. For example, as a marketing consultant, I do very little implementation except branding and website design. In working with a client, if we determine that one of their best ways to market is through PR, I have a PR company that I trust and will refer. 4) Get Speaking Engagements for organizations. A great way to build your company as an expert resource is to find local speaking engagements that focus on your target market. When doing this, be clear on the mission of the organization you are speaking to and make sure your target market will be present. 5) Follow Up! After networking, holding a workshop, or speaking to an organization, remember to Follow Up! It is not enough to simply meet someone one time. Follow up at the very least with an email. It is even better to set up a time to meet one-on-one and build the relationship. Grassroots Marketing is definitely one of the best and least expensive ways to build your business and brand. It allows you to develop relationships by focusing on a small group of people. In any situation, you never know where you may meet your next client, strategic alliance or referral source. Allison Turner is CEO and cofounder of Business Consultants of South Florida,(BCoSF) located at 301 W Atlantic Avenue, Suite 05. She is a resident of Delray Beach as well as active member of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce. BCoSF is passionate about helping their clients either start or grow a sustainable and profitable business through their strategic business, marketing and sales plans and consulting services. For more information visit www.BCoSF.com or call 561-276-4422.