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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Ideal Ways to Fund and Market your Small Business

Are you still in the business planning stage of your business? Or have you already set up shop? Do you feel like your business is stuck in limbo due to the lack of funds or marketing ideas coming your way? Well, fear not. Here are some ideal ways of propelling your company out of financial and/or marketing debt.

Financing

  1. Bank Loans, the most traditional source for business funding, can be worth the struggle only with a good track record and valuable collateral. With those, you just might be one step towards receiving that loan.
  2. Welcoming a partner into your business. Including a partner in your company is a good way to save money and resolve other issues that may eventually need to be addressed. For example, a rental limo business for celebrities, investing in a security guard company.
  3. Venture Capitalists or Angel Investors are always on the prowl for fresh ideas; the next big thing to invest in. Many top companies we know about today such as, Airbnb, Uber and Spotify, where funded by Venture Capitalists.
  4. Crowdfunding is a very popular way of raking in some money for your startup. All you have to do is to set up an account, then share it with your friends and family on your social media. Make sure you read the fine print. Weigh the pros and cons of different crowdfunding sites.
  5. Government grants and loans is another way of raising some cash for your business. The government can give funds to small business owners through certain lenders.
  6. Personal savings is the first step to growing your business. If you are certain you want to start a business, you must be ready to pull a majority of your own financial weight. So do not quit that well paying full time job yet, until you have accumulated a massive pool of cash reserves.
  7. To meet your urgent financial needs, factoring is an option for the business owner. He or she will sell the businessís accounts receivable to a factor at a discounted rate.
  8. Small Business Administration offers an array of small business loans, ranging from nonprofit to educational related businesses.
  9. Joining TV shows such as Shark Tank is not considered absurd, nowadays. Shark Tank features a group of angel investors looking to sink their money into a startup that will yield high returns on investment. The good thing about this is whether or not you convince an investor to take a risk with your company, you receive free advertisement.  You have managed to market your company to a large body of viewers. In effect you have attracted more customers to your business.
  10. Friends and Family can be a good source for borrowing money but a bad place for scouting for business partners. When things do not go right as is expected in every business venture, you might ruin friendships or family bonds. So strategically, not emotionally, pick your investors.
  11. Microloans is perfect for those looking for some cash with low interest rates. Microloans are suitable for those without collateral, a great credit line or employment.
  12. Organizations who host contests with monetary incentive might be the way to go if all else fails. So prepare well, you can be sure other competitors want the reward as desperately as you.

 

Marketing

  1. Set up a company website. These days, one does not need to be technologically savvy to set one up. There are websites that provide you with templates of everything you will need to look presentable to your customers. Companies like Free Parking have also shattered the glass ceiling for small businesses with powerful but affordable website domain and hosting packages. You can get started with them here http://www.freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting .
  2. Donate some of your products or services. Hand out branded pens, key chains, t-shirts, journals, wrist bands, etc., at every event you are invited to.
  3. Open several social media accounts in order to attract a wider audience.
  4. Advertise your company logo on your vehicle. Driving around is a sure way to market your company and attract customers.
  5. Organize a charity event in association with the company brand. For example a 5k charity walk or free haircuts to your countryís homeless veterans.
  6. Offer discounts or services at events. For example, a ski and snowboard center might hand out discount vouchers to students at a college fair.
  7. Send newsletters with offers, deals and updates about your company, to your customers.
  8. Hand out your business cards to those who can help you widen your clientele base. Hand out a stack of business cards to your friends and family, who will in turn pass them out to those they know.
  9. They say gossip is the most influential form of marketing. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask for customer referrals.
  10. Post videos about your business and product or services. YouTube is a popular place to post and share short videos with a wide audience.
  11. Ask customers to rate and review your company on recommendations websites like Yelp.
  12. Cold call potential customers. In brief, describe who you are, your company and invite them over.
  13. One time deals for a service you might offer can leave a good impression on your customer. For example, a free eyebrow waxing job for all manicures and pedicures to first time customers.
  14. Hand out samples of your products or services. For instance, hand out small samples of a variety of cakes at a local mall, to bring awareness to you bakery down the street. Or if you own a karaoke bar and lounge, you can hand out keychains with miniature microphones.
  15. Experiment with Pay per Click marketing. PPC advertisements direct traffic towards your website and essentially increase your customer size.
  16. Authorize resellers. It is a good idea to have corner stores sell your products.  
  17. Try your hands on guerrilla marketing or just attempt something that will create buzz for your company.
  18. Hire a spokesperson for your company, even if it is not long term. An idea might be to have a local, well known comedian be associated with your brand for a while.
  19. Join online group discussions in relation with your brand, product or service and occasionally answer some inquires by other members of the group.

 

Now, you are well equipped with the ideas to fund and market your business. These tips are more than enough to boost you out of business limbo. Try them all out and comment below how well your business has progressed.

 

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