Want new business? Try giving services for free

NEW YORK (AP) — How do you attract new business? Small business owner John Lorenzo found that, sometimes, it means doing some work for free.

When the president of a local charity walked into Lorenzo's PostNet business services store, Lorenzo offered to help at no cost.

"We thought this may be a great opportunity to get other leads," says Lorenzo, who bought the Sicklerville, N.J. PostNet franchise in March 2012.

He also thought it would be a good way to show off what his newly-bought business could do. The PostNet location was equipped to provide marketing, printing, shipping and other services for companies, but the last owner didn't have many business clients. Lorenzo wanted to change that. Business clients are more profitable for the store. They come in more often and pay for more services than one customer would.

Donating services to charities can help a small business build its profile in the community, and get its name in front of potential customers.

Lorenzo knew this. The charity Lorenzo offered free services to, All Hands Working, gives health advice and donates fitness equipment to firefighters. All Hands Working was planning a fundraising event and Lorenzo offered to create a printed program for the event at no cost.

The program had information about the charity, and advertisements from businesses that supported All Hands Working, including one from PostNet.

Lorenzo says he gained five new business clients after helping out the charity. PostNet continues to work with the group, offering free services and charging for others at reduced rates, says Joe Gordon, president of All Hands Working.

Lorenzo continues to give back to the community. He has put donation boxes in the PostNet store to support local fundraising races and has donated services to other organizations.

"We want PostNet to be front of mind and a part of the community," says Lorenzo.

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Follow Joseph Pisani at https://twitter.com/josephpisani

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