Marketing your start-up or fledgling business with zero cash means you must be inventive and use multiple actions to achieve your targets i.e. making your business a success, achieving longevity and providing you and your family with an income.
So what do I mean by zero budget? Whatever business you intend to start you will need a website to host your blog or content; a domain name and an email address. Depending on your choice, all of these can be set-up free. Social media enables you to start marketing your business free and there are other ways to promote your fledgling free. It is possible therefore to start a business on zero budget.
Advertising for small businesses is a minefield, you can spend a fortune with no guaranteed results, knowing how to market your business without cash therefore is going to be essential for your start-up.
Before you begin any kind of marketing you need to establish:
Who are your target demographics?
How will you monitor the success of your campaign?
What is your budget, if any?
What is that you offer that will make the customer come back to you?
What are the benefits to the customer to using your business over that of your competitor?
Using social media is free and can be the cheapest option for developing your brand. Each platform reaches a very different audience so is useful for a variety of different marketing options. As a creative entrepreneur I would recommend Pinterest at the top of your list.
Offline marketing is largely forgotten in this digital age but it is possible to get some free promotion if you're a bit savvy. Networking, Referral Marketing, talking about your business with local groups that fit your niche and P.R.
As a small business we want to get free PR and the only way to do this is by having a newsworthy item that a newspaper or magazine would be happy to get hold of that suits their mainstream audience. The best way of achieving this is by having an ‘angle’ or a human-interest story. For example, a few years ago Kimra Luna became headline news with her story 'from welfare to millionaire'. Amongst many other magazines, she was featured in Forbes and Business Insider. You can read about her amazing and inspirational story here:
Kimra had by then already built her business, but she new that being published gave her credibility and would propel her business even further. Newspapers and magazines are always looking out for stories that will fit their reader profile, so if you have a great story to tell, can think of a sassy hook and then give them valuable content; you could be the next Kimra Luna.
Hosting workshops in your home while not completely free as you will no doubt have to buy products, is relatively inexpensive to set up especially if you start off with a 2 hour taster class. People love attending workshops, taking time out and learning new things; as an expert in your field you can teach them.
Online shops such as Etsy, Amazon Handmade or Ebay, gives you the opportunity to have your company found by the millions of visitors that go to these stores each day. Fees are usually based by a percentage of your sales, so you won’t have any large upfront costs. However, as you can imagine with the hundreds of thousands of sellers on these sites, getting found, unless you have a fabulously unique product, can be extremely difficult. And this brings us neatly back to social media marketing.
If you really need to raise funds for your start-up, then free cash is around if you know where to look. Crowd funding has been in the news a lot but it's difficult to raise funds through these mediums unless you have a community or ethically based business. However, there are free grants and competitions to be found, plus if you're under 30 years of age, the Prince's Trust. There's more information in my free guidebook 'Go Fund Your Business'.
In summary, it is possible to start a business working from home on zero budget. If you’re working a day job, granted your expansion will be a little slower, but it can still be done. There are many courses on the Coast Academy website especially designed for start-ups and new business owners and, as a subscriber you can access the Business Resources page, download free business resources and sign-up for the regular Business Building Classes.