Starting a business is challenging. You first need to know how much funding to allocate to each part of your business and then you need to come up with the capital to support it. There are many moving parts, and it can be challenging to determine where and what you need. Having a strong plan for your business is critical to your success, and marketing needs to be included in that initial budget.
When it’s time to implement, many people put marketing last, which means it doesn’t get done because the money runs out. Most small businesses feel they can do marketing with little money or completely on their own. There is little understanding of the strategy, dedication, and consumer knowledge that goes into this business practice. So, it’s time to stop pushing it to the bottom of the list and provide small businesses with the tools and education they need to market their business successfully.
There are a lot of components to marketing and you can go in many different directions. A good rule of thumb is that marketing should make up at least 10 percent of your total business budget. This amount should already be figured out in your business plan, and if it isn’t, now is the time to create your marketing budget! Starting with a marketing strategy, you will be able to determine the expenses and plan each component of marketing your business. This includes long-term and short-term plans.
Still struggling to figure out what your budget should be? Web Strategies has created this handy marketing calculator to point you in the right direction. Once you’ve crunched the numbers, financing can come from a few places:
- Savings - You should have a minimum of three months of savings in the bank. You can use this for your marketing budget if need be. Just be sure to calculate how you are going to put your savings back!
- Small business loan - There are several places to find a small business loan. Your local bank or the Small Business Association are two places that can lend you money. You can also consider online lenders, especially if your business isn't quite ready for a bank loan. Depending on your business, there could also be grants or contests that you can apply for. Get creative!
- Love money - Money can be a difficult thing to discuss with family or friends- but, they love you and want to help you, so don't be afraid to ask. Even small amounts can help! Have a plan to show them and be ready for hard questions.
- Angel investing - Angel investors are people who are eager to invest in small businesses or start-ups without the expectation of money being returned. They invest because they like the idea or they like you. Make sure to stay on top of your professional networking to get yourself and your business in front of potential angel investors.
- Business incubators - Finding a business incubator can be a great option, as they often support many businesses and offer more than money. Make sure to look locally for economic development incubators, which are focused on areas such as job creation, revitalization, and hosting and sharing services.
With financing in place, you can move forward with your marketing plan. Remember, it's important to keep up this plan even after you’re making profits! Marketing helps you retain new customers, keep existing customers apprised of what you’re doing, and earn more referrals from both the old and new. This business is your passion, it has value to you. When you share your passion, people want to help you succeed.
To know more about running a small business, you can download our FREE e-book, 5 Small Business Trends for Vet-owned Businesses. From customer experience to new marketing trends and company culture, this FREE e-book lists small business trends that are sure to bring you success. Download it now.
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