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For any business that’s just starting out, or maybe a smaller business who’s been around for a while but still needs to watch their budget, marketing can seem daunting! When every penny counts, you may not feel like you even have a shoestring to budget with, let alone enough to really make a difference, but there are many things you can do to maximize your time and your marketing budget, simultaneously!

For starters, what exactly is a shoestring budget? According to legends (or Google, whichever sounds more intriguing to you) the phrase shoestring budget is English and harkens to a time when prisoners used to dangle their shoes out the window by their shoestrings, in hopes that passersby would drop some money inside. 

Now if that sounds like about the amount of money you currently have earmarked for your marketing budget, you’re in luck, because we are going to show you how to create awareness, increase sales, build your brand or promote an event, on a shoestring budget! 

For starters, everyone has the same three things to work with when it comes to marketing, advertising, branding, or promoting and event.

Those three things are:

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Time

Talent Icon

Talent

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Treasure

Now if you’re reading this, it’s safe to say that you might have more talent than time, and a lot more of both than treasure, so how can we leverage what you do have, and make an impact?

Network

People do business with people, and they do business with people they like, and trust. The more people that like you and trust you, the more business you can generate, and in order for people to get to like you, they have to get to know you. 

So network. Check out events that have the potential of drawing the types of individuals who might be your clients or collaborators, and be genuine! Don’t just share about your business, because after all, you are there to create relationships. And either that day or even years down the road, business will come out of the relationships you have fostered.

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Budgeting Money

Save Money

“A penny saved, is a penny earned.” Words that were never truer when it comes to your small business! 

Now that may seem like common sense, but what we’re talking about is intentionally looking for little pockets of money that you can save and compile together for marketing. 

That means being a little bit of a sleuth, and making sure that you allocate the saved funds toward your marketing goals.

Barter

If you’re holding a frying pan, and someone else is holding an egg, why don’t you do a trade? Trade a little of what you do best in exchange for exposure! Also bartering is a great way to build relationships, and get your name out there. You can even do partial trades, where a percentage is in cash and the other in good/services. 

This is a great way to introduce yourself to businesses that might otherwise not consider your services, get in front of a new audience, and give back to your community.

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Wait to Take a Salary

Prior to taking a salary, it’s suggested that your company:

  1. Has sustainable revenue
  2. Revenue is projected to remain steady
  3. Is in the black?

There’s other factors to consider, including how much of a salary you should take, when you do. It’s often recommended that your salary should be no more than 50% of the profits. This way, you can take the other 50% and reinvest it back into your business! The funds you are able to save can then be directed into your marketing budget and other improvements.

Avoid Paying for an Office

Most of us have seen those grainy photographs of Apple’s first office (a modest house with a two-car garage) and Amazon’s original logo tagged on a banner with spray paint. The same should apply to you! 

Having a storefront or office is a big expense for any business, and one that you should avoid as long as possible. Instead, take the funds you would spend on an office, and invest it in your marketing!

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