To run a successful business, you have to advertise, right? Not necessarily. Granted, not all market places work the same, but the following is a good rule of thumb:

First, advertise only if it is not possible to meet every desired prospective client in person.

Next, advertise only when the following four conditions are met:

  1. Can the business handle more clients? Doesn’t make sense to advertise if you’re out of product or can’t deliver services in a timely fashion.
  2. Is the business good at what it does? Advertising can’t make up for a lousy product or service. Innovate, then advertise.
  3. Is there enough market share to be gained? If the business already dominates 80 to 90% of the marketplace, it can be hard (and expensive) to get more.
  4. Is the business to be gained profitable? Duh.

If the answer to all four of these questions isn’t ‘yes,’ then it probably doesn’t make sense to advertise. Simple as that.