For most people starting their own business, there is a point where you will have to network and promote yourself in order to keep yourself going. This means taking what you are offering, whether it is physical or digital, an item or a service, onto the road. It shouldn’t be too daunting; everybody has had to do it at some stage in their freelancing career, especially when they’re first starting out. It’s like the initiation process to successful startup.
Depending on what you’ve got to offer, you may find that certain roadshows and exhibitions are very useful to get a pitch at. These don’t come cheap – the more well known the company organising it, the more you will have to cough up. This means that you are getting more exposure though, and will look great should you have to send a resume over to anybody requiring to know a little more about your business. Not only is it good for exposure to clients and customers, but it’s a great way to mingle with other startups like you. It can be a way of either making friends, new business partners or you can leave it at just a chat. Either way, be sure to take a lot of business cards to pass on to people who may have shown an interest in what you do. You never really know who you’ve been talking to until they’ve put their money where their mouth is.
Markets, whether they’re craft, farmers or general, are brilliant things to go to if you’ve got something physical to sell. Even if it doesn’t directly tie in with the theme of what the whole setup is promoting, organisers still give some companies the chance to exhibit their wares at a stall there to offer diversity. Stall sellers are moving into the new digital age now, and no longer do you have to rely on your customers having to visit an ATM before they reach you – you can take payments using apple pay, a wireless card reader or even by an app you can download onto your phone. Good old-fashioned cash should never be shied away from, but having other systems available will only boost your profits for the day; the more ways you can offer people to part with their money, the more likely they are to take you up on that offer. It’s a win-win situation for both of you, but more so you.
There is always a chance to immerse yourself into your local community by taking part in events that are happening around you. Look for things that your local church is doing, or maybe even a project that the whole town is getting involved in. By offering a helping hand in whatever they’re choosing to do, you are on the way to promoting not just yourself, but your business, too. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people like you, too – you will meet them in the most unlikely of places, but it’s always good to keep them close to you just in case you need them at some point.
This isn’t so much you physically getting yourself out on the road with your startup, but can be a great way to get people thinking about it. In the UK recently, the Grand National race was sponsored by a different company that usual, and surprisingly one that few people had heard of. The fuss about who Randox Health were was just the promotion that they needed as the Google searches went off in their thousands, with people desperate to know just who on earth they were. You probably don’t have the funding behind you to sponsor a major race watched by millions, but if you can give a little to help out a local school soccer team or put a bit of cash into a church or community scheme, you just have to let the words do the talking from then on. Choose a vibrant and memorable logo, or give yourself a punchy tag line that people will remember. Getting yourself involved by going to watch a few games or offering a hand in the scheme that you’ve invested in is a way of putting a face to the name (or the brand, in this case). This can’t be done forever, but as a startup company, it’s a valuable thing to do in terms of getting yourself out there and earning the trust of those who you want to invest back into you.