When you run a business, the challenge always seems to be how to cut down on spending as much as possible. Whilst that is a good idea in principal, it neglects the simple adage that is taught from the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey; you have to spend money to make money. Perhaps at first that seems to be a rather nonsensical phrase, but there are times – especially in business, and even more important in a startup – when spending money is the only way you are going to make any. When does it really pay to spend money in business?
Industry shows are a useful place to show off what you do and how well you do it. They are a great way to network, to meet potential new customers, to engage with suppliers, and to generally get your name out there. They can be pricey, but when you are in a room full of people who are there specifically to find out more about the industry you’re in, it’s certainly worth booking a booth. If you can, spend a little more money and opt for a corner booth. You’ll get double the foot traffic past you, and if you take every opportunity to speak to the people passing by, you can potentially make a lot of sales and enquiries.
Hiring a PR (public relations) firm may seem like an extravagance, and for smaller, newer companies maybe it is, but having a PR firm on hand to help you place the right adverts in the rights newspapers, to help you get interviews with those willing to promote your product or service, to generally let everyone know that you are a good business with a great product that needs to be seen can be a priceless investment. Make sure you have the money to do it long term, though. If you only do a small amount and then can’t afford any more, not only will your company disappear from view, but the public will notice that you’re no longer advertising like you were. This can worry potential customers who could think that you’re about to fold. So, if you’re going to go the PR way, go all the way. It’s essential.
Be Mobile Friendly
A huge number of people access the internet via their smartphones and tablets. For some, it’s the only way to browse. Having a website that isn’t mobile friendly is severely limiting your sales. It’s true that you may need to pay a web designer a fee to help turn your website into something that everyone can easily use no matter where they are, but once it’s done, and those new sales come flooding in, you’ll find that you’ve made more than enough to cover the costs. Plus, it’s ongoing. Once the website is done, apart from the odd tweak here and there to keep it up to date, the sales will continue to come in through it.
Promotional products can be the perfect way to say thank you to your customers. They are also the perfect way to market your company without needing to do too much – apart from spending a little money in the first place. The right promotional products (anything from pens to keyrings to sweets) can do a lot to put your business at the forefront of the minds of those who matter most; customers. Giving something away is something that will stay with a customer (or potential customer) and give them a good feeling about you. However, more than that, a pen or something that is both branded and practical will also literally stay with the customer, and others will see it when they use it. This is a great way to boost your company’s reach in a cost-effective way.
Packaging Is Important
If your product requires packaging, invest money in getting it right. Don’t opt for cheap materials or design. Do not design the packaging yourself if art is not your forte. Paying for the best packaging materials you can, and hiring a qualified designer or design company to create the look of the packaging is the best thing you can do. There is no point in having a wonderful product that you want to charge a good price for if the packaging lets it down – no matter how good the product is, customers will feel it is worth less due to the inadequate packaging. The packaging could even become the star, and when people show off their goods, they deliberately show the packaging too (in person or on social media), thus letting everyone know who you are and what you do.
The appearance of your company will go a long way to making a good impression. Appearance means many things, and you should invest in each of them to ensure that you are giving off the right kind of look and attractive customers to you rather than accidentally pushing them away. Your premises – assuming you have one – needs to look smart and modern. You don’t have to have every gadget going within your office or store, but you do need to keep it neat and tidy. It should be light. Paint should not be peeling, windows should be cleaned. Just keeping up with housework is a good start, so you could employ cleaners to save you time. Have a company come in to decorate and they will give you a much better finish than if you and your employees did it yourself.
Appearance also means your clothing. Dress smartly as the boss and lead by example. If you are more comfortable in jeans and sneakers, that’s fine, but make sure they are clean and professional looking. If you want your employees to look the part then buying them each a uniform can help. This is a great way of creating a cohesive brand that is recognized and admired whether you are in or out of work. Vehicles should be kept well-maintained and clean – they should be sign-written, and of course they need to be driven carefully.