It’s true that most small businesses need at least a tiny amount of capital to get started for business cards and a website at least, but there are a lot of freebies out there that you can take advantage of. I’ve mentioned before that for under $100 you can get a beautiful website and fantastic business cards from Godaddy.com and GotPrint.com respectively.
I’ve written a full guide on marketing your company on less than $600 for the year, and most of that expense is for buying a computer, camera and a printer. If you’re an average middle-class Louisville business owner and already have a computer, printer and a smart phone you’ve got the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing potential at your fingertips!
There are plenty of marketing books out there that can give you lots of tips of marketing without money. I am of the belief that some money does need to be spent, but only as it wisely impacts your bottom line. Things like getting a few designs set up and getting your branding and target market honed in on.
You can potentially do this on your own and when you’re first starting your business this may indeed be what you have to do, but very few small business owners are experts at marketing and it’s not going to be an efficient use of time. I recommend hiring someone with expertise to come in every once in a while and help strategize and guide your investments so you’re getting the most growth for every dollar spent.
If you don’t bring someone in, I recommend reading lots of books and attending lots of seminars as well as keeping track of which projects give you the best results. Howard Partridge has a great practical marketing scheme. So does Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson and Free Marketing by Jim Cockrum. These will get you moving in the right direction and give you focus if you’re trying to keep as low-budget as possible.
Here are a few posts that give links to free resources you might like: