If you’re an entrepreneur, more often than not, you’re likely working on more than you can handle. You’re in charge of marketing, developing new products, trying to keep the books balanced, and dealing with customer service issues all at the same time. The thought of bringing on help to grow your business would be a dream, but it can often feel like a pipedream given the time or budget constraints that seem to hold you back.
Nodding your head? You’re not alone. This is a common challenge entrepreneurs deal with day in and day out. But instead of viewing these as hurdles you don’t think you’ll be able to clear, here are 11 ways you can be scrappy and stretch your resources to help your business grow.
Looking for more help around the office?
1 | Tap into college students.
Take it from someone who worked in the college marketing space for more than five years… if you find the right student, they’ll work wonders for your business.
Most businesses think of college students and immediately think of them as brand ambassadors. But they can bring so much more value to your brand than just grassroots marketing.
Students are looking to expand their portfolios and gain some practical work experience, so they can be great resources for design, photography, videography, social media, or even accounting work, for example.
To find a great student, simply write a job or an internship description and post it on local college job boards. You can also proactively reach out to relevant student organizations at local colleges to help promote your job or internship. If you put in the time to properly vet a hungry college student, you’ll be surprised at how impactful they can be for your business.
Don’t think you can afford them? College students will often work for very affordable pay or even free in exchange for college credit or portfolio experience.
2 | Look for up-and-coming professionals who want to build their portfolio with one-off projects.
Similar to college students, finding a recent college graduate or a professional looking to build their portfolio in a particular area is a great way to get free or low-cost design, photography, social media, or videography work. Unlike a college intern, these professionals are good to work with for a short-term project.
Say you want to develop a social media presence for your brand but you don’t know which channels are best for your audience. You can work with an up-and-coming social pro to figure out which channels will be best for your brand and develop a strategy you can execute to grow your presence.
Post the opportunity on a job board like Indeed, and start collecting qualified and motivated candidates who are looking to gain more experience and build out their portfolios.
Want to network with peers to spread your brand’s reach?
3 | Leverage LinkedIn.
What’s the purpose of your 300 LinkedIn connections if you don’t ask them for help? Have a specific need or want? Post about it on LinkedIn and watch the power of LinkedIn work.
For example, if you’re looking for advice on the best ways to optimize your website to drive traffic and conversions, pose your question to your network: “I’m looking to grow my business, but I need help optimizing my website for traffic and conversion. Can anyone in my network help me with this?”
People within your network generally want to help you so it’s worth an ask.
4 | Join a local chamber of commerce.
By joining your local chamber of commerce, you’ll be able to expose your brand to more eyes in your local area. When you join a chamber, you get listed on its email newsletter, social media channels, and other publications, and new advertising opportunities will be available to you.
For example, you could participate in a grand opening ceremony for another local business. This all adds up to more potential business for you as you get more exposure.
Joining a local chamber of commerce only takes a few minutes and opens you up to new and potentially lasting connections that can help fuel your business for years to come.
Need help driving more sales?
5 | Create your own affiliate network.
Traditional affiliate networks like RetailMeNot cost thousands of dollars to join so you can have your offer (like free shipping) listed on their network, so why not create your own? Partner with relevant businesses in your space to offer them a commission on the sales they generate for your brand.
For example, say you have a small business that sells performance socks. You could target gyms by giving them a unique discount code to have them share with their members. In order to incentivize the gyms to share the code across their platforms, give them a percentage of the sales that come in through that code.
Creating your own affiliate network just takes a bit of hustle and grit, but can be well worth the effort.
Want to increase your brand’s exposure to your target audience?
6 | Work with micro-influencers.
Traditional social media influencers are expensive and out of the realm of most small brands’ budgets. But if you come across an up-and-coming content creator on Instagram who aligns with your brand, shoot them a direct message and see if they’d be willing to snap a few pictures for you with your product and tag you in exchange for the product.
Say you own a business that sells athletic shirts. You could find people on social media who post a lot about fitness (perhaps by searching #fitness) and have a decent following (anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 followers). Once you find these individuals, send them a direct message asking they’d be interested in promoting your brand via their content in exchange for free products.
Not only will you get high-quality content to showcase on your own marketing channels, but you’ll also boost your brand’s exposure when the micro-influencers share the content with their followers.
7 | Host a co-branded giveaway with a non-competing, like-minded brand.
Try partnering with a brand that has a similar target demographic as yours and team up on a social media giveaway. To enter, you can ask people for their email address or have them follow your social media channels.
If you have a brand that sells high-end chocolate chip cookies, you could reach out to collaborate with a milk brand and offer the chance to enter to win a free party with cookies and milk to anyone who subscribes to both brands’ email newsletters. By doing this, you’d be able to build your email list with customers who will likely have a similar interest in your product.
Branded giveaways can help you build your email list size and grow your social media presence.
8 | Set up your business on search engines, like Google My Business.
By setting up a business profile on Google, you help to validate your business and increase awareness of your brand on search engines if someone were to search for your brand. When you start an internet search, you usually receive results based on your location. By creating a business profile, it’ll be easier for people who are searching for what your business specializes in to find your business.
If you own an ice cream shop in Boston and create a Google My Business profile, you’ll be more likely to show up in search results when a user googles “ice cream shops in Boston.”
Take it one step further and ask customers for reviews which will help provide social proof to validate your brand.
Say you’re the owner of the ice cream shop and you have loyal customers. Ask them to write a review for you online. This helps to add validity to your online presence.
Need help creating content?
9 | Use stock photography to strengthen the quality of your content.
Not the most artistic? Don’t have time to take really great lifestyle photography?
If you own a personal training business, for example, but you don’t have the resources to run a professional photoshoot, you can use photos from a stock photography site. This will make your site look more professional and help to validate your brand in the eyes of your customers and prospects.
10 | Guest blog on an industry website to expand your reach.
Are you an expert on a particular subject? Do you have a unique story to share?
Offer up your expertise to a fellow brand or industry blog in the space and use it as an opportunity to expose your brand and products to a new set of customers.
Say you’re an expert barbecuer. Target small BBQ sauce brands and offer to write a guest blog on their website that offers tips on how to grill. This will not only expose your brand to a larger audience, but you may gain some new customers as a result of the article.
Need some support with your emails?
11 | Set up email automations.
Taking the time to set-up a welcome series or an abandoned cart flow allows you to deliver personalized experiences to your customers. This takes a lot of the manual work out of connecting with customers, and helps you reach and engage more customers at scale, legitimizing your brand in the eyes of your consumer.
Say you have a small business that sells retro hats. You have noticed that when someone subscribes to your email newsletter you see more sales when you are able to deliver a personalized message to them about your hats. With an automated welcome series set-up, you can deliver them a personalized message and thank them for signing up which will help to drive sales. The same goes for setting up an abandoned cart flow. You can set a trigger that fires when a potential customer starts the check-out process for one of your hats and does not complete it. This email flow will help you save sales.
Have any of these ideas been successful for your business? Got another scrappy idea that has been successful for you? Share them and with other members of the community on social media. Tweet us @klaviyo.
Looking for more resources to help you grow your brand? Check out the Entrepreneur Growth Guide.Back to Blog Home