Business 101 – How To Succeed In Your First Year In Business!
The answer to this question is quite simple. You are spending your first year in business with a comprehensive business plan and a lot of sweat and hard work!
There is no quick fix, no secret sauce, no shortcut to business success.
It all starts with a solid plan and a great work ethic. You can’t get something for nothing. Truly. If this is your plan you will fail. Yeah. You will fail in no time; You don’t even need to devote the entire first year if you think you can start a business without having to work, rush, and spend a lot of time growing and maintaining it.
Even small businesses should have a marketing budget
If you’ve recently opened a small local business, you’ve probably already spent some money on
- business planning or consulting
- location (rent or mortgage)
- furniture and accessories
- hiring of staff
- attorney fees
What about marketing? Have you budgeted
- website creation
- graphic design (logo)
- printed marketing materials
- photo shoots
- video marketing
- advertising budget (newspaper, direct marketing, radio, television, social media)
- Social media
- marketing director, marketing training or outsourcing
If you did, give yourself a pat on the back! Good game.
However, my experience tells me that a lot of local small businesses don’t have enough marketing dollars because they haven’t included many items on this list. Some small businesses fail to plan at all.
Now, you are probably wondering what business owner would start a business without a proper marketing budget? Let’s just say that “a lot” covers most of it.
- Small business
- Shops and boutiques
and in many different industries!
I have met several business owners who haven’t added a substantial marketing budget to their business plan and when they run into issues they call me thinking jumping on social media is the right option. cheaper for quick results!
Not. So. Many
What percentage of your total budget should you spend on marketing?
In “How to define a marketing budget that matches your business objectives and offers a high return on investment” by the SBA We read
Products and services do not sell themselves. By ignoring marketing until it’s too late, many small businesses risk hitting a brick wall and, quite possibly, failing. A trendy product line shouldn’t just depend on continued product investment and word of mouth.
I sincerely hope this situation does not describe you!
If so, keep reading because even on a very small and limited budget, there are things you can do right away!
If you are reading this in planning your business, take note:
Planning ahead and creating a marketing budget becomes a must for anyone even considering starting a business!
The author of the aforementioned article suggests
Generally, small businesses with revenues of less than $ 5 million should allocate 7-8% of their revenues to marketing. This budget must be distributed between 1) brand development costs (which includes all the channels you use to promote your brand such as your website, blogs, sales materials, etc.), and 2) the costs of promoting your business(campaigns, advertising, events, etc.)
Does that sound fair to you? Is this what you would expect?
What if you haven’t managed to add enough money to your marketing budget this year?
The best thing to do would be to review your overall business budget and find out where you can find money to immediately add to your marketing budget. This may include reducing store hours, renegotiating a lease, or securing an additional business loan.
However, if these are not logical solutions for your particular situation, here are several ideas that can help you get started, market your local business to local customers, without a huge budget.
5 local marketing ideas for small budgets that are guaranteed to make a big splash
1. FB advertising
For as little as 2-5 days, you can use Facebook to drive traffic to your website, get more likes on Facebook and more engagement on Facebook, and market your local business for less. If your budget is this low and your financial resources are severely limited, be sure to contact Jon Loomer. I consider him to be the Facebook advertising expert.
Advertising on Facebook is a great, inexpensive way to start marketing without spending a lot of money, but it does take your time; both to learn about the ins and outs of Facebook, Facebook advertising as well as to place and monitor ads!
2. Live events
Whether you’re hosting an event (you can do it pretty inexpensively if you use your own location) like an open house, or attending a live event, make sure you make the most of your time and use that event to “make yourself known” and your Company! There are several ways to do this. Always ask for business cards (after starting a conversation) so you can then connect with that person on LinkedIn. Take photos, especially group photos; identify your friends and business and you will get a much wider reach than without labeling. Use your “elevator speech” to get straight to the point, but make sure you’re listening more than talking; look for opportunities to help someone by referring a client or an opportunity. This type of relationship marketing is free and can yield great results.
Live events are a great place to connect offline with real people. Strengthen these new connections by connecting with them online after the event, creating a lasting relationship online.
3. Charitable commitment
A great way to connect with local customers and the local community is to get involved with the local community. Sounds simple, right? Yet many local small business owners don’t take the time to get involved. They can donate gift certificates or money to local charity events, two great ways to support a local community, but the real power is in giving your time. Examples: Instead of donating water crates to a local race, donate water and serve the table during the race! Instead of supporting a local PTA by donating a raffle gift certificate, offer to sell tickets and show up at the event. Instead of giving away items for a golf tournament giveaway bag, take part in the tournament! By attending and supporting a charity of your time, you are creating a real connection. As a social media manager, I use these volunteer hours as a marketing opportunity by highlighting the association on social media (by tagging and promoting the event) and taking photos. These images tell a powerful story; it’s social proof that your business is involved in the local community.
Charitable involvement can take your business from being a newcomer to the community to being an active participant in making the community a better place for everyone to live. It’s a powerful strategy to build awareness of your brand and it’s virtually free!
What makes you the expert in your industry? What stories can you tell? What can you teach others about the business world? Once you understand what you have to offer your (potential) audience, find local networking groups and offer to be a speaker. This includes local chambers of commerce, Rotary clubs, industry associations and more. Prepare a speech and have your business cards handy, however, never use your allotted time to market a specific product or service. Instead, use it to teach, share tips, and add value! do not forget to connect with media! You may be able to be a resource for them on trends in your industry and speak on camera.
Talking to networking groups and local associations helps build your reputation and brand. However, the most important thing it will do is build trust with local business owners and professionals and empower you. Giving something for nothing, giving back to the community by sharing knowledge is a very powerful marketing tool.
5. Collaboration and cross promotion
There is another great way to market without breaking the bank; Team up with another local business owner who has the same target audience (women, golfers, tourists, millennials, teens, etc.) and cross-promote – offline and online! Whether you’re teaming up for an event, sponsorship, sharing print materials, sharing social media content, or using a sponsorship system, working with other local businesses is simply good business and can save you money, a lot of money. It also increases your reach online and offline; their clients and clients instantly become your clients and potential clients!
Collaboration and cross-promotion are two strategies that will help you elevate your online and offline profiles and increase your overall reach.