How much do you spend on promoting your business? Have you honestly added it up? And do you have a game plan for how, when, where and how often you will promote? I know the answer to these is a bit of a patchwork for independent businesses. Some retailers spend zilch and count their wastage as filling in for promotional money. At the other end of the spectrum there are those who religiously set aside amounts to promote their business either through above-the-line advertising (so-called because it is visible and can be seen or heard on TV, posters, radio, press and so on) or below-the-line which takes a more subtle approach through money-off vouchers, BOGOFs, loyalty schemes or cross promotions ­ such as buy a fancy ice cream and get some free wafers, rent a video and get some cheap crisps. You can dream up your own promotions and of course, the more imagination you bring to it, the less it should cost. The marketeers call this "guerrilla marketing". To assess your marketing, I suggest a time-honoured way that has worked since you were a teenager and were trying to assess your attraction to the opposite sex, or your fashion sense ­ make a list. How do you promote your business? If you don't know, ask yourself the following: How do you/your staff answer the phone? "Allo, waddyawant?" or, "Hello, Jones Juicy Joints, Sam here, how can I help?" Do you have business cards or store leaflets to hand out at local events? How's your in-store signage? Can people find their way through your store easily? What's written on your vehicles? Nothing? Tch. You really need to make Jones Juicy Joints as familiar as the local pub. Is your telephone number/website on your fascia? What business-to-business deals can you do with other local enterprises? Just take 10 minutes on this one and I bet you can come up with a load more than I have just suggested. {{GROCER CLUB }}