Starting a business takes a lot of hard work and usually takes substantial investment of time and money. If you have just started out then you may not be ready to put every cent of your profit right back into the business to keep it growing. There are ways to grow your business with spending little to no money, some of which don’t take much time to set up or develop. Below is our list of 6 ways to grow a small business without spending money.
1. List business and website in relevant directories
There are many FREE business listing sites which can get you in the eyes of your ideal consumers. Some of these include Yelp, Manta, Show Me Local, and EZ Local. The benefit of such sites is that they’re not only free but they also increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is proven that having consistent and accurate information on your business throughout the web improves your organic search rankings. You will have an increased number of links to your website which search engines recognize and reward businesses as credible.
2. Start social accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
There are 3.5 billion social media users throughout the world. Social media users grew by 202 million between April 2018 and April 2019, which is a new social media user every 6.4 seconds. Just those numbers alone should be enough for you to realize the importance of being on social media networks. Starting accounts is absolutely free and completely opens up your reach to your ideal clients. There are many resources out there (once again, free!) that can be used to learn the best social media practices for your business. These include YouTube and Podcasts as well as books from your library that can help you create hashtags, reach your audience, and create authentic interactions and relationships with potential clients. This is a no brainer, you need to be on relevant social media.
3. Referrals & partnerships with other local businesses
Community over competition! Small business owners can easily work together to promote one another. If you create genuine relationships with people in your area then referrals can be seamlessly passed between businesses whether in the same industry or not. If you get an inquiry for a job, but are currently booked on the same day, it is nice being able to refer this potential client to a fellow business owner whose services you trust and you feel confident in making the referral to. This is ideal since it is not a one-way street, but likely to be a returned favor in the future.
4. Google My Business
Every 1 in 3 Google searches has ‘local intent,’ which means that if someone is looking for a hairstylist or the best accounting firm in Charlotte, NC, you want to make the top of the list! This means more than simply having quality SEO set up on your website, but also appearing on the map when people are typing in their search. The process is simple, takes about 5 minutes to apply online, and then you wait 3-5 days to receive verification of your location by mail. Now you provide better search visibility and have the opportunity to showcase reviews, your hours, and your physical location. In addition, there are customer insights provided which provide you with the number of views your profile and photos are getting from searches.
5. Highlight features and promotions in your email footers and invoices
If you send out emails or invoices to your clients then you have a prime opportunity to communicate what you offer that others do not and what makes you unique. Include referral links or promotions that your current clients can pass on to friends, family, and other potential clients. It’s also a great opportunity to offer discounts for repeat business to loyal customers and referral bonuses for new customers.
6. Cut overhead by automating non-producing items
Marketing is important, but there are other ways to end the year with higher profit! Think of everything you do in your business that is a manual process that a can be automated. For example, social media posting and your Client Relationship Management (CRM) can both be automated to aggregate customer information and send posts for you at scheduled times. Your up-front investment of time will save you oodles of time and money in the end. Those savings can be invested in a great accountant to help you keep your books in order and save money on your taxes or to expand your business so it can continue to grow.
Growing your business is an awesome goal to have but you need a strategy for it to work. If you are looking for any other suggestions or growth assistance feel free to reach out and let us know how we can help you and your small business.