If you’re looking for ways to keep some of your small business’ well-earned dollars in your piggy bank, try these free (or very inexpensive) resources to help you build a website, understand your target market, please your customers, and even get a business name.
Websites like MOO let you print small runs of business cards from existing templates or from uploaded designs. This can often save you loads of money compared to traditional printing, and is great if you need a small amount of cards for an event.
Check out websites like Kijiji and Craigslist.org for items on sale, cheap services — even free items. Of course, make sure to keep an eye out for scams. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Weebly and Yola let you create a free website for your small business.
Google Trends can clue you in to what your potential customers are thinking, feeling, hating, loving, and asking for.
FreeCRM, as you can probably tell by the name, is free customer relationship management software.
Enter in some relevant keywords at NetSubstance, and it will suggest some possible brand names for your business.
The importance of social media for a small business is well-known. We bet you’ve heard so many things about why you should join any given social network. Maybe you have a few social networks you like for your small business. Maybe you’re unsure.
A recent article titled A Guide To Building Your Business Through Social Networks helps to clear up some confusion. It lays out facts about social media in small business, offers useful advice for getting started in social media, and how to interact with and satisfy your followers once you have them. Don’t forget, your followers in social media are also customers for your small business, so keeping them engaged and happy is key!
From the article:
Things that once seemed intangible, such as Facebook likes, Yelp reviews, and tweets, are now proof that customers respond to your brand. In turn, these same customers reward your business with public approval and open ended discussions of your business. Not only can you put this direct input into practice, your potential customers can turn to the resources and quickly get what your business is all about.
All of us can likely list off a number of brand names off the top of our head, whether world-famous or locally renowned. Brands are seen everywhere, within every industry. A brand represents the emotional and logical associations that you make with a certain company, product or service. The interesting thing about branding is that it reflects internal and personal interpretations, which may differ between people and cultures.
So how do you design a brand for your small business that customers will react to positively? Creating brand pillars is one way.
What are brand pillars?
Brand pillars as the most important values and characteristics of your small business that you want to communicate in your branding. Your small business can have as many brand pillars as you like, but you should focus on the ones most important to your business’ image and values – for example, “Accountability” may be more important to your business than “Community Involvement.” And deciding not to include “Community Involvement” doesn’t mean you don’t care about the community your small business operates in – it just means it’s less critical to your image than other brand pillars.
When planning your small business’ marketing strategy, identify your brand pillars very early in the process, and empower all your employees to keep your brand pillars in mind with everything they do for your small business. You don’t have to expressly outline your brand pillars word-for-word in your marketing, but use them to guide your actions. If one of your brand pillars is “Community Involvement,” for example, you probably will want to partner with local associations to sponsor events. This consistency and dedication will help maintain a positive association in the mind of your customer.