Q: Seven months ago, I opened a small store selling futons, carpeting, and home furnishings located on a busy road with little foot traffic. I’ve advertised in papers and the phone book, but it’s like flushing money down the toilet. How can I get a better response on a shoestring? — Rudy Scott, Oceanside, N.Y.

A: What you need is a strategic marketing plan. Instead of throwing money at random venues—a little here, a little there—craft an advertising campaign to attract the customers you want. You probably can’t afford professional marketing help, so brainstorm instead with employees, family members, and friends. Who are your target customers? What are they reading, listening to, or looking at online? What can you offer that will lure them into your shop? …more from BusinessWeek. Flickr photo credit: Andyrob