By Daniel Griggs, founder/CEO at ATX Web Designs.
Although I'm the founder of a web design and digital marketing agency, I began with no knowledge of web development. But I knew how to build a business and am great at marketing. I started my company with $9.90 on Wix.com. I knew every month I needed that $9.90 to keep my business afloat. It’s not much, but it was a lot for me at the time: I didn’t have much money, was always behind on bills, yet trying to start and grow my business.
That $9.90 was an important investment because that’s what kept my website up, and I needed to drive people to my website to show legitimacy. I didn't have a penny to invest in any marketing, so I did cold calls to set sales meetings and drive traffic to my website so they could see other small business in the local area that I’d built websites for. That's how I began building my business on a limited budget. While my funds were low, I still had time and effort.
One of our clients, a veteran, contacted us to build his website. Mario had left his job, taken out his retirement, sold his home and went 100 percent into building his startup company. While he'd taken this huge leap, he still only had a limited budget for our agency to design and develop his website.
A week before we launched his site, we met and I applied my experiences to his situation. I told him how to began building his business on a limited budget. Once your website looks great, you need to get it in front of people. All business owners, at the end of the day, need to have a good-looking professional website. It goes a long way. Initially, it doesn’t have to be amazing -- it doesn’t need to have unicorns flying across it -- but it needs to be professional. Add some nice images and make it look presentable. It may not wow anyone, but it shows you’re legitimate and that you're invested your company.
Whether you’re balling on a budget or have a limited budget, you still have to market your business. There are no excuses. You don’t have money to put toward it so put your time, effort and hustle toward it.
I told another client of ours with a landscaping company, Todd, to introduce himself to the local neighborhoods. When doing this, be strategic with your approach. You want to separate yourself by presenting the perspective that you're a legitimate company and want to build relationships.
That exact same day, he got four leads that turned into clients. That was two years ago, and to this day he has been able to generate leads weekly and grow his business along with a solid reputation in the community. And it didn't cost him a dime.
Always know your business goals and your target audience, and create strategies based on those key factors. Don't allow your financial limits to take away from your marketing efforts. Mario and Todd marketed right from their smartphones: They sent emails, made phone calls and posted online. It didn’t take a ton of time or cost them anything.
When my budget was limited, I took the time to contact businesses from the Chamber of Commerce and create a cold call list. Different industries will require different strategies, but always come up with a plan and base everything on your business goals. Even if you don’t have much time or money, create marketing strategies that will allow you to keep your head above water.
If you don’t have money, you probably have time. If you have time, it comes down to effort and hustle.
Daniel Griggs is Founder & CEO at ATX Web Designs, focused on growing corporate companies revenue by web design, social media, and digital branding.