By Sarra Bejaoui, Co-founder and Managing Director at SmartPA.
Starting a business can be really exciting, yet nerve wrecking especially when you’re doing it on a budget. With the right resources and our tips, however, you’ll soon be on your way to successfully launching your business without breaking the bank.
Create your homepage online
A website is a necessity for your business, as it’s a customer’s first point of call to find out more about your company and offerings. Fortunately, you don’t have to make a hole in your pocket to hire a web designer to build a website for your business. Web platforms such as Wix enable to you design your own website for free using ready-made templates or an AI-powered tool. Now you have no excuse not to have your own site!
Work from Home
One of the biggest expenses for new businesses is renting an office space. Working from home cuts out the cost and time of commuting to your office. This is especially useful for businesses that use the internet to conduct business. You can conduct virtual meetings to check in with your other employees or customers. Consider having a separate part of your house for your work so that you can keep your home and work life separate. Otherwise, if you’ve got a little budget to spare, consider working in a communal or co-working space as you’ll get the opportunity to mingle with plenty of other startups.
List your business
Don’t forget to list your business to all relevant online directories as this is a great way to improve your website and business’ discoverability. It’s as simple as submitting your website’s URL to the online directories for businesses such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google Maps, etc. Add useful information about your business or organisation, such as opening hours and contact information.
Get socially active
One of the best budget friendly tools that you can use to promote your business is social media. Thoroughly research the platform that your target audience is spending the most time on, relevant to your business, and open accounts there. For example, if your business is a fashion brand, then Instagram and Facebook are likely to be the most ideal for you because the platform is designed for visual content. On the other hand, businesses targeting a corporate audience would benefit from creating a LinkedIn account. It’s important to be proactive and follow influencers in your community and engage with other users.
Do your own marketing
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to market your business. Similarly, a great way to leverage this to increase your customer base is to develop a referral program. You just need to offer existing customers a free product, a complimentary month of service, or some other reward incentive for referring new customers.
Bring in support when you need it
Consider hiring a virtual assistant to shed off time consuming workload and focus on the part of the business that matters. Virtual assistants are flexible and are able to save you the cost and commitment of hiring full-time staff. Moreover, you don’t waste any money or space wasted on office. Virtual assistants also allow access to a larger pool of talent from all around the world, so you don’t need to be restricted to the skillset of your local community anymore. Companies such as SmartPA offer professional virtual assistant services with fully trained and can cover a multitude of tasks including bookkeeping, research, database entries, sales support, social media scheduling, amongst others.
Show off your expertise
Do you have the knowledge or are an expert in your field? Write a blog with your unique insights into the industry or about new product or company launches! A blog allows you to not only present your services and products, but also to create relationships with clients through posting and commenting, brand recognition, and personalisation. Make sure that your blog has a consistent voice and is regularly updated. You can also find other people’s blogs about subjects that overlap with your business and offer to write a guest post. Writing a blog post on someone else’s site will reach a whole new audience and add to your businesses credibility.
Network, network, network
Networking is an integral part of growing any business or startup. Do thorough research and only go to events that will exclusively benefit you or your business. Websites such as Eventbrite and Meetup are a great place to start. These event services are free to join and feature a variety of free a low cost events. While networking isn’t typically formal, having a professional business card and introducing yourself and your business professionally and confidently will help build positivity and trust. Don’t forget to follow up with your contacts the same week of the event!