16 September 2008

If your budget is small you need to burn the leather



I often encounter business owners who have the perception that building a successful business requires a lot of money. From my own experiences and observations this is not necessarily true. There are countless examples of businesses that have had big cash injections to get started and they failed, miserably.

Likewise there are countless examples of businesses that started on a shoestring and ended up as huge corporations. Money can help but it is by no means the be-all and end-all when it comes to building a successful business, and this is particularly relevant when you talk marketing.

The simple reality is that if you haven’t got a big budget to spend on marketing your business, you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work yourself. It’s easy to spend a lot of money on advertising. Full-page ads in newspapers, on television and radio and most other forms of high-profile advertising will certainly get the phone ringing or the customers coming in the door, but it costs a lot of money. Often the return is nowhere near what you expect.

Low-cost marketing means you have to look for ways to market and promote yourself that generally require effort rather than budget. I have a client who does makeovers on balconies and courtyards and any other small spaces. She had a limited budget but enough money to have some nice brochures printed, which explained exactly what she did. My advice to her was to hit the pavements and put her brochures in the letterbox of every unit or apartment block in town and to her credit that is exactly what she did. Today she has built a very successful business by being prepared to put on her running shoes and combine her fitness regime with her marketing activity. 

There are literally too many examples of ways to market a business for very little money. The best piece of advice I can give is to buy a book that specialises on this topic. My first book was 101 Ways to market your business and it is full of ideas and recommendations that fit into this category. There are also lots of others and they all generally contain great recommendations and tips that will cost very little money.

The aim of this tip is to get you thinking about low-cost marketing ideas and accept the fact that to make them happen the biggest requirement will be someone’s time and effort.


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