A friend of mine has a nice little embroidery and screen printing business here in Orange County. Yesterday, as we stood in the parking lot after dropping our daughters off at school, he told me about a conversation with a Yellow Pages rep he had the day before.

The rep quoted him a rate for a full page ad and my friend politely declined, stating the none to obvious fact that almost half of his business was coming from online sources and the rest through word of mouth and referrals. The rep persisted and after the third “no” he dropped his quoted rate by 60%.

Nice.

Now that the Yellow Pages has gone Tom Cruise crazy by telling small business owners that they’ve been ripping them off, it makes sense to help them find more practical uses for their product.

Here are a few ideas.

1. Use the book as a primer to teach your children the history of advertising. See kids? This is what ads looked like when your grandmother was a little girl!

2. Bring it to the gym and offer $100 to the biggest lughead who can tear it in half. It used to be hard, it may not be anymore.

3. Booster seat for the toddler.
And it’s mobile. Throw it in the car and use it for the next family outing.

4. Hidden weapon in case of home invasion robbery.
Getting hit on the side of the head with pages and pages of pest control and plumber ads can do some damage.

5. Archive it. The traditional use. Let it sit at the bottom of some drawer or cabinet or closet until the next one comes along.

As a small business owner, you rely on your local customers. The internet allows you to reach them more cheaply and more effectively than any other paid medium. Take advantage of Google, Local.com and Yelp.

Your future customers are all there. Are you?