Entrepreneurs, by their nature, are problem-solvers. The challenges a small business owner faces early on are massive. How they meet and overcome them sets the tone for their business strategy for years to come. Of course, there’s no challenge more complicated or frustrating than lacking cash flow. When expenses need to be cut, unfortunately many businesses dial back their marketing efforts. Entrepreneurs know that they need to stay top of mind, but that can be tricky without cash media buys. Here are three creative ways to get around the cash flow hump and possibly even grow your business in the process.
Set Up Trade Deals
Here’s a piece of simple business advice you probably already know: trade deals are a good thing. They may, however, be even more beneficial than you realize. In addition to helping you get materials or services your business needs, it’s a great way to build a strong network of partnerships. Working with your fellow bartering business owners often leads to productive, synergistic brainstorms. Maybe you can team up for a special promotion or host an open house or fair. Maybe you can all partner with local non-profits for in-kind support, getting your name and logo out to the public. All of these are great ways to stay in the marketing game without having to hand over cash.
Network to Build Social Capital
Networking with fellow business owner is not only a great way to get business advice, but the bigger your bubble gets, the more people outside your orbit will take notice. Beyond that, it’s never been easier to network with fellow business-people and customers alike. Maintaining an engaging social media presence with a positive, fun tone will help draw people to your door, or at least your website. An important piece of business advice: It’s far more important to keep up with one or two dominant social platforms than to try to spread out across every possible channel.
Invest Time and Thought into Your Brand Personality
Finally, if you hit a cash marketing “yellow light,” look at it as an opportunity to reflect on your strategies and strengthen your brand. Objectively evaluate everything but pay attention to your brand’s personality and voice. What adjectives would you use to describe it? Would others agree? If not, decide what sort of vibe you want to project, and then work on new messaging to help get you there.
Growing your business without a marketing budget is tough, but as you can see, there are avenues you can pursue that will help keep you in customer’s minds until the cash starts flowing again.