While the start of a new project is always super exciting it can also be difficult when we have little financial resources to invest in our business development. From my experience and from my clients’ experience as well, I compiled a few different actions that have helped us to make our business grow.
I hope it helps and inspire you to push your business as far as you can imagine!
- Master your pitch
Everyone is talking about this right now and yet, some of my clients are not able to explain in an easy, short and comfortable way, what they do. The pitch, sometimes called the “elevator pitch” because you should be able to state it in the time of an elevator ride, is a short clear explanation of your business and offer. Once you master your pitch, you can start communicating efficiently and with confidence about your project and ideas.
- Network often
See networking as part of your weekly schedule, setting time aside for this. If you are not comfortable attending networking events alone, ask a friend to go with you. They are often informal, free and you get to talk to interesting people while sharing ideas, exploring possible collaborations and maybe creating future friendships. If you don’t know where to start, this article might be useful to you.
- Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile
Even if this is not essential for everyone, I still encourage you to check out the platform and work on your profile if you think you can benefit from the following: having your CV easily updated and accessible online from everywhere; being visible for potential clients; having a professional platform to share your articles; receiving referrals that will be posted in your profile gaining credibility; adding a useful networking and prospecting tool.
- Create a social media strategy
Once you have defined your content (what you want to share with your audience) choose your favorite social media channels, develop a personal strategy that is in line with your brand, your personality and values and stick to it. I’d suggest not copying what other people are doing unless you are comfortable with it. Learn from the process.
It is always better to start small and grow slowly but surely. If at first one post a week or even a month is all you can manage, do that. To complement that content, do not hesitate to share other people’s content – there is a lot of good stuff out there, and everyone appreciates their content being passed on.
Once you’ve created your strategy you can choose to automatize your posts with different tools you can obtain from the Internet or otherwise, or just schedule quality time during the week to do it manually. Privilege quality over quantity.
- Write a blog
There are a lot of guides on the Internet for writing articles. Start with what you have and practice. Don’t aim for a Nobel Prize but for clear and honest content that will be useful to your readers. Once you finish your article, share it in your favorite social media channels.
What to write about? Your work, your past professional experience, your hobbies, your passion, your struggles, life lessons, what other people are doing or anything that you think can bring value to your reader.
If you don’t want to maintain a blog on your own website, you can just publish articles in social media channels or through a third party (many people accept guest bloggers, and outlets often accept submissions).
- Record videos and share them
You can record them with your phone or camera (always with the screen horizontal as that’s how you watch TV and screens, too!) and share your recording on social media or on your website after posting the video to YouTube or Vimeo. Videos communicate emotions and generate engagement; they are a key marketing tool. Just be sure that you have a visual that is professional, appealing and a good content.
- Create or join an online group or community
There are a lot of groups in Facebook or LinkedIn targeting different audiences and themes. Depending on your project this could be a great way of putting yourself and your ideas out there, and to exchange valuable feedback with your followers. If you’re not sure about creating and managing your own group, start by finding existing communities to join and get involved with, to benefit from an existing audience.
- Give free talks about your services or product
If you feel comfortable about public speaking, you can present your products or services in networking events. Contact organizers ahead of time to see if they would be interested in featuring you, or at events find out what their process is to organize future get-togethers to see if you can play an active role in the program.
- Develop collaborations
If you know people who have an offer that is complementary to yours, think about possible ways of collaboration in order to promote your services. For example: holding an event together, putting referral links in both websites, creating contests promoting your respective products. The key is to find people who share similar values and with whom you can work on a basis of trust and honesty.
- Exchange services
When you are starting, it can be a lifesaver to do some service exchange. For example: if you are a marketing consultant and you need help with your website, you can exchange hours of service as a marketing consultant for the same amount of hours of website coding or maintenance. I’ve done it and it’s been a great experience. Just be sure to be very clear from the beginning about how the exchange is going to happen and for how long.
If you are in Paris you can try the Co-happening skills exchange group held by my friend Carrie So.
- Join a pertinent organization or a group
Joining a couple of entrepreneurs groups in Paris has brought me valuable connections, personally and professionally speaking. You can search groups where you think you’ll find individuals with similar interests and values. At the beginning it takes time, as there are so many out there, but once you find the right ones for you is very rewarding.
- Ask for help
Please do it! I know people who work almost secretly, without even asking the closest circle for help when they need it. If you are an entrepreneur, do contact people around you to have feedback, to share your work, to brainstorm, call them and ask exactly what you need from them. People are usually happy to help and collaborate.
Whichever options you choose to use, privilege quality over quantity and trust your intuition. There is a time at the beginning of every project, when we spend a lot of time doing Internet research and benchmarking, we get inspired, we learn different strategies, but at the end only YOU know what’s better for you and for your project and that’s exactly what’s going to make your project unique.
Are you thinking about anything else that can be added to this list? I look forward to read your comments! Thank you!