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    Always wanted to start your own business but never taken the plunge because you just don’t think you have enough money or time to get started? It’s time to think again. The fact is, you don’t need thousands of dollars to get your dream business off the ground. With a little creativity and a good approach, you can start bringing in business right from your very first week.

    Let’s go over a few of the top strategies to grow your business on a shoe-string budget. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to do all of the following either. Think about what you’re most comfortable doing and start from there. Evaluate your results and then decide if you want to continue on your path or expand and try other strategies as well.

    Social media

    The main social media channels to get involved in include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. The great thing about social media is that it quickly allows you to position yourself as an expert as well, providing a solution that viewers need.

    Businesses who are not harnessing this powerful outlet are simply missing out and will lose customers as a result. Get started off on the right foot. Not only is social media virtually free to begin using, but it gets your company out to hundreds or thousands of people quickly. If you can get a few posts to generate engagement, it won’t be long before people are aware of your presence.

    Of course, you can pay for advertising on these platforms, but you definitely don’t need to in order to get started. Be sure to plan out your social media strategy before you start posting and have a crystal-clear vision of how you want to portray your company.

    Referral systems

    One of the best ways of growing your business quickly is by using referral systems. These are going to get new people into the door without you having to do the dirty work. As the saying goes, a happy customer is your best salesperson.

    You can make use of referrals by running a contest, for example, with your current clientele. Make it a contest that whomever brings in the most new clients for your business gets some sort of prize. You’ll be amazed at how often people will mention your name when there’s some sort of reward at stake.

    Another method is to host bring-a-friend days. On these days, your current clients can bring one of their friends to join the in a workout. You might just find that many of these people sign-up as a result.

    A transformation contest can also be a great referral-type of system. People are naturally drawn to these types of contests and when you post your clients’ great results, others will want to get involved as well. This is really a win-win as not only will your current clients work harder as they’re now more motivated, but others will see this and feel the need to take action and contact you.

    Cross-business marketing

    Cross-business marketing involves approaching businesses that complements your own. You don’t want a business in direct competition with you, but rather, one that many of your target clients also tend to frequent.

    Once you’ve identified these businesses, see if you can place your business cards in their office or location. Or, come up with a package deal where you bundle your services with theirs for a discounted rate. This is a great way to help bring some of their customers to your own business.

    Many other businesses will be quite receptive to this idea as it’s a great way for both of you to benefit. When approaching another business with this goal in mind, always ask yourself first, what can you do for them? Too many people in this world tend to be out for themselves and as a result, don’t get the response they are looking for. By giving before asking, you’ll find that you fare much better.

    Attend trade shows and community events

    Make note of any trade shows or community events that are taking place in your neighborhood. This is another way to get your name out to all the people who pass by your booth and provide further information on what you have to offer. Often these trade shows will focus on one particular industry or interest, such as health and fitness, so it’s a great way to get many target customers together in one place. Offering demonstrations at these trade shows can be really helpful as it gives these passersby a chance to really see what you’re all about.

    Networking

    Finally, don’t overlook the power of networking. As is the case for many business models, it’s all about ‘who you know.’ Reach out to others in the industry and talk to them. Get their advice and see what referrals or clients they may be able to send you.

    Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities. Remember that if you don’t look for them, they’ll often pass you by. Your networking brain should never really shut off as you always want to be open to opportunities.

    None of these effective business-building strategies require you to have thousands of dollars at your disposal. While there are other advanced strategies that do become more costly, you need to start somewhere. Focus on these strategies first and as they payoff, you can graduate to some of the more high-cost methods of generating new business.

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