All of your quotes have been right on.* We have spent a good deal of cash in the direct marketing this year with mixed results.* The home shows and RSVP have been by far the most successful.* Our big direct mail pieces and our magazine adds produced very lackluster results.* We are also seeing a large surge in leads here in the last 2 weeks also which has been favorable. Starting a business from scratch is not easy, Especially a lighting business.* Face it, we are offering a luxury item to potential clients; many of whom have cut their spending on non essentials out of fear or necessity. Location and saturation of competion is key to success in this biz. Like David said, competing with established companies that have been doing this for years is not easy. Most of the jobs you get you will ;have to buy through direct marketing, along with aggressive networking, late night demonstrations, and creative marketing that is outside the norm. When you are just starting up, nobody knows you exist to offer them these services....so how do you make yourself known to the public on a consistant basis? It is not easy. The company I am working for has been fairly aggressive in marketing and we have had to buy all of our current jobs and for the most part this lighting division is still very new and most people just looking for lighting still won't find us if just doing a casual search in the phone book or on the web. (this won't be for long). It is all about staying in front of the public and becoming memorable. Tommy Herron has done a great job with this in his area, which is a very large community, but even he was not unscathed by the slowdown. I guess in summary if you are going to start a new lighting biz, know your area,(can it support another lighting company?) Know your competition and what they are doing to market to your potential clients and how you can supercede them, offer some additional services until you get all the way up and going. I agree with David, unless you have some deep pockets for advertising initially to get some work or you have a deep past client base to work from it will be difficult to get a new company going right now, (NOT IMPOSSIBLE THOUGH if you are tenacious enough to see it through). I wish you the best of luck in your endevour!