1) Be able to talk about what you do. If you cannot explain it clearly, nobody else will be able to understand you.
2) Learn to write a great press release. Not a sleeper press release, but something that attracts attention and has interest to someone besides you.
3) Create a top quality website. Forget about the ones that cousin Freddie's high school sophomore does. The kid may be a great digital artist, but he's clueless in who he's designing the site for. You need someone who truly understands marketing.
4) Prepare a 30-second "elevator-speech". You need to be able to succinctly define what you do in 30 seconds because that might be all the time you have.
5) Carry business cards wherever you go and give some to your spouse and your employees. When you leave a tip, leave a business card (assuming you tip well). When someone asks what you do, give them a card. You want them to be able to hear and see the name of the company. You'd be surprised how often business cards will be passed around and/or turn up months later.
6) Obtain certifications in your field, even if they aren't necessary. It may sound simple, but people pay more attention to professionals who have initials behind their name.
7) Know what your competitors do and how you stack up in comparison. Don't panic over your competitors, but visit their website often to see if they are doing something different.
8) Do the right thing, even if it costs you money. If your employee messed up, back it up financially and make it right. You still might not keep the customer, but they will be far less likely to bad-mouth you to everyone they know.
9) Are you serving too broad a target market? The temptation is to take any and all business that you could possibly get. In order for you to target everyone, you end up targeting nobody. If you aren't targeting anyone, your message sounds like everyone else's message.
10) Sell the benefits, not the features. Nobody buys features, they buy what those features will do for them. People hate to buy insurance, so why is so much sold? Simply because of what insurance will do for family members.
11) Know who your target really is. In many cases, it's not even the person who would be receiving services. It can be someone who is looking out for the client like a family member. You can determine this in your interview.
12) Never make assumptions about your client. Most of the time, they will be wrong. A man living in a $150,000 house could have it all paid off and with money in the bank, whereas a man living in a $500,000 might be barely making ends meet and have zero equity.
13) Write a feature or editorial for your local newspaper. People do read these and they often investigate the author.
14) Write testimonials for other websites. Other site owners love to see this, they will often display your comments for the public, and they will often give you a reciprocal link to your site.
15) Network with people in complementary fields. For home healthcare services, this could be Geriatric Care Managers, home care companies that don't do home healthcare, and hospital social workers.
16) Provide a variety of payment options including credit cards, but don't get caught in financing your services yourself.
17) Speak at civic functions about your area of expertise and offer to give special training classes at local churches.
18) Keep a very neat appearance at all times, even when running to the grocery store. You never know who you will meet and who they might have with them.
19) If you can afford to do so, have professional quality brochures made available for you. Be sure to put these out in PDF format too so that you can email them to your client.
20) Focus your energies on being the first one to return a prospect's phone call. People will often make several calls and the first one there gets first opportunity.
21) Do something nice for somebody without expectation of thanks or a return favor. When it's real, it feels good to you and people remember it.
22) Volunteer your time to a worth effort. You network more, but the real benefit is that you become a better person. People prefer to business with the better person.
23) Be ever thankful for the small favors that come your way. If you get a referral, be sure to say thanks, drop a note, or better yet, a discount or some of your time.