Starting a small business can be a daunting task. I turned my part time hustle into a career and built a business, opened a brick and mortar location, hired 12 staff within 4 years. And the best part about it, I managed to do all of it from my kitchen table with a new born and without taking a loan out.
It was definitely a roller coaster, hopefully my tips can help you navigate the beginning stages of starting a business.
Marketing on a budget:
Getting your name out there is the most important part of having a business. If people aren’t aware of the product / service, you offer there won’t be many clients knocking on your door. However, most start-ups don’t have the budget for expensive marketing campaigns. Here are 6 ways to market your business on a budget. These are the exact methods I used when I started my business and still use these cost-effective methods today.
1 – Print up some postcards and hand them out to your community. Local businesses and coffee shops usually have a bulletin board and stick them in people’s mailboxes. Get out there and spread the word. It never ceases to amaze me how many people email and say they received a postcard. You can order 1000 personalised postcards off Vistaprint for as low as $75.
This marketing tactic is effective because it very cost effective but the return on investment can be really huge.
For example: If you hand out all the flyers and end up converting it to $5000 + worth of sales the ROI is massive.
It is also a way to introduce yourself to your community, I have received so much support from surrounding local businesses because I have gone in with my flyers and introduced myself.
2 – Join relevant Facebook groups:
Facebook groups are micro communities that are created with a niche in mind. There are thousands of Facebook groups that are formed based on neighborhood and demographics. For example, I am a part of the GTA Wedding Facebook group. Staying top of mind in these groups has been an integral part to my success. They are an amazing resource, if someone hires you from one of these groups and likes your product or service, they will probably refer your services. These Facebook groups are the gift that keep on giving.
3 – Set up a Gmail account and a Google My Business profile:
This will literally put your business on the map. It’s completely free to do but will sync your business on Google maps. In turn making to easier for people to find you 😉
4- Collect client reviews:
This is another way that Google will help your business immensely. Potential customers rely on reviews to make their final decision. The more reviews you can collect on Google the more action your website will get. Once I made a push for more reviews the analytics on my website tripled. This is free to do and will be one of the most important marketing tactics you can implement.
5 – Reach out to blogs and platforms:
That are similar to your brand and ask if you can create a post or collaborate on content. Blogs are always looking for new content and angles to showcase a product or service. When you have your article on a blog with links to your business, service or expertise, you are getting all those eyes on your ideas and the only investment was taking the time to write up your article.
6 – Social media:
There is no way around this. You need to have a social media presence in today’s market. The good thing is it’s completely free to set up an Instagram and Facebook account. For my business account I post daily with relevant hashtags. It’s always cool to see people messaging directly form Instagram inquiring about services. You definitely do not need a huge following to attract new clients. But, you will need to post consistently and post attractive content that will make someone stop to look. I use an app called Planoly which allows me to upload all of my pictures for a month, I caption and schedule the posts on Planoly too. This makes life so much easier because you won’t forget to post, and it won’t feel like a daily chore. Set aside a couple hours a month, map it out and let it do the rest.
I would love to hear about any business ventures you’re working on 🙂
Here is a video I made talking about work life balance, which I think is extremely important when considering becoming an entrepreneur: