One of the biggest challenges in starting a new business is simply getting past all the bad advice.
Here’s what most people do when they first get started:
- Make a website.
- Put up advertisements.
- Wait for results.
- Get disappointed.
The unfortunate thing here is that paying for a fancy website and some advertisements only reduces the money you have to spend on better, more effective resources.
More importantly, most of the right tools are actually free, like this guide to getting more customers during the holidays.
So here are our 3 tips for growing a new business (for free):
1. Start Small & One-at-a-Time.
No one starts a business with the dream of having one customer.
But the reality is that businesses are built from those early, small groups of customers (that often become loyal patrons for life).
Instead of trying to launch international advertising campaigns, try to zero-in on smaller groups of people.
Getting your name into local newspapers can be far more effective than online advertisements. After all, people like to support local businesses, and you have a legitimate connection to your prospects–they’re your neighbors!
2. Get Involved in Your Community.
We live in a small town of about 20,000 people.
That doesn’t change the fact that we have a vibrant local business community. In fact, I’ve found new clients just by hanging out in the local coffee shop.
Find small business groups. Talk to the owners of restaurants and stores in town.
Yes, it takes more time than posting ads online, and it takes a bit of confidence, but talking to someone in person gives you the advantage of not having to compete with the entire internet for their attention.
3. Grow for Free by Giving for Free.
The content on this website is free. So is this guide to getting more holiday customers.
It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that you have to charge for everything, but the vast majority of people aren’t going to buy something from you the first time you meet.
You have to build trust.
Don’t worry about giving away too much.
You might think that the only way to maintain value is by keeping the gates locked, but that simply isn’t true.
Software often comes with a free version. Grocery stores give away free samples. PR agencies called Two Potatoes offer free consultations.
If your offer isn’t valuable enough that people would pay for it after getting a free sample, you need to improve the offer.