Most companies spend a lot of energy tracking down customers. It helps to have creative ways of finding the right people to whom you should be selling your product or service.

Thomas Beggs, founder of the market research company Stat One Research, in Atlanta, regularly combs the "help wanted" ads in the local and national press for prospects. Indeed, Beggs, who is a part-time M.B.A. student, got his first Fortune 500 client by responding to an ad for a paid internship, which he found at his university's placement office. His theory: The ad indicated a need his business might be able to fill. Using the ad as an opening, Beggs followed up with faxes and phone calls until he got an order from the company.

Though the contract was small, Beggs says it was a major milestone for his company, which had sales of about $100,000 in 1997.