Business Success on a Budget – with Kimberly Crossland
In the past, we’ve talked about some of the considerations you need to take into account when thinking of starting your own business. Once you’ve made that decision, the next step is finding your way to business success – without running out of money before you get there.
This week, we talk to Kimberly Crossland who has already managed to start up a successful business on a budget and get some of her tried and tested tips.
Who Doesn’t want Business Success – just without the high pricetag?
Small business and startup companies are the only things I’ve ever known in my career. I had my time working at a Fortune 500, but even then each area, and each office was treated as its own business. As the manager of two of those offices, my paycheck was directly impacted by the performance of my team.
In school, on television, and scattered across the web, people tell us we need to put thousands of dollars down to start a successful business. So, when I decided to branch out on my own, knowing full well that I did not have the will to drain my savings account, or the endurance to try to track down capital, you can bet how scared I was.
But I had reached a point in my life where I had no other choice.
The company I worked for at the time couldn’t pay me. I put my time in at the office, but when it came time for the paycheck to hit my desk, there was always an excuse why I wouldn’t receive the money I’d earned. I was faced with a morally difficult decision.
After a month of not being paid, I had to put my foot down and step away – unpaid – until the company could sort itself out. Instead of working on building a product, the owner scrambled to get capital. I saw this song and dance take place time and time again, and knew how stressful and overwhelming it was to try to reel in investors and bring in new startup capital.
When I said my final farewell to the company and left the office for the last time, I vowed I would build something I was passionate about, doing something I was an expert in, without investing more than $100 into the business.
And that’s what just what I did.
Have you thought about how to start a successful business and then been scared off by how much you think it will cost? You might be surprised to learn that it’s not as difficult as it sounds. The Internet affords talented individuals like you and me to pursue our dreams of flexibility, freedom, and fun (yes, fun!) at work by giving us a unique jumping off point.
Here’s how I did it, and what you can do too.
Start Your Website
Claim your digital real estate with a website. This is perhaps the most expensive thing you’ll invest in at the beginning, and it’s worth every penny.
The total cost to start my website was $22.99. I purchased my domain name on sale for only $12.99 USD, and I found a reliable hosting package for only $10 per month. I used WordPress, so the design of my website was free.
Too many startups get caught up in how their website looks from day one – so much so in fact, that they focus all their resources on building out their website, and not on creating a product to sell. Once you have your product, then you can invest more in making your website look better, but until then, a basic design will work.
It is important to note that I bought my website. I own that spot online. Another mistake many bootstrapping startups make is to use a social media network as a website instead of creating their own page. But consider this: What happens if the social network makes a change and you lose access to all the contacts you worked hard to build?
There is a spot for social media in a bootstrapping startup plan (more on that in a minute), but you must have a piece of digital property you can claim as your own. When starting a business, bootstrapping it or not, you have to own your space, and own your connections.
Get the Pen on the Digital Paper
A website is a great starting point, but you need to give people a reason to visit you. That’s where content marketing comes into play.
Start to build out your pages with interesting, compelling information about your business and why people should work with you. Tell your story, but more importantly, tell the story your customers need to hear in order to open their wallets to you.
I was blessed in that my business, and my passion are copywriting and content marketing. Many business owners struggle with this step, unsure of where to start or what to say. Here are a few pointers to get you going in the right direction:
- Tap into your target market’s emotions. What problem will you solve for them? How will you help them sleep better at night? Harness these emotions to let them know that you hear their pain and you want to help.
- Talk about how you will benefit your audience’s life. People don’t care about features. They care about how the features of your product or service will benefit them. Use benefit oriented statements to give people more of a reason to work with you.
- Answer their questions up front. Questions are just objections to buying from you. The quicker you can answer them, the quicker you’ll make the sale. Use your website to earn trust and earn new clients by addressing concerns up front
Create Your Social Media Profiles
Once you have some shareworthy content on your website, whether it’s on your blog, on a landing page, or on your FAQ page, it’s time to start driving traffic. THIS is where social media can do wonders for your efforts.
Conversations are happening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, Linked In, and plenty of other social sites. Find the conversation being had by your target customer and join it.
NOTE: Joining the conversation does not mean selling your business. It means talking with your target market and getting them to trust you by showing them you understand who they are and what makes them tick. Use the 80/20 rule for social media communications; 80% of your conversation is about something other than your business, and only 20% of your conversation has to do with what you sell.
Ask questions, and give people a reason to want to listen to what you have to say. Then, people will want to go to your website to learn more about what you do. Once there, they’ll already feel like they know you, and you can use your messaging to reel them to and buy from you.
The Gist of It
You don’t have to invest a significant amount of money to start your business. To get the ball rolling, all you need is a spot online, a compelling message, and to join the conversation already taking place on social media. With that, you will soon have a steady stream of income pouring in to your new business.
Author Bio: Kimberly Crossland helps small business owners create and execute magnetic content marketing strategies that attract a perfect audience while repelling crazy, demanding customers. Download her free ebook, “Magnetize Your Website” to learn more about how to get started with the business of your dreams – without breaking the bank.