As entrepreneurs, business owners, employees, or just as people, we all face challenges. And often those challenges involve the BIG M - money. When it comes to growth, you need resources. Money for marketing, for inventories, for systems, and oh yeah, groceries.
When I started my business in 2002, I went from the world of leveraging the corporate pocketbook to dipping into my own pocket - and let me tell you - it was NOT anywhere as deep. It was a problem. So I had to get creative.
Here's an example I shared with the Society of Women Engineers last month.
There are lots of things we can do to find or develop the resources we need to help our businesses grow - even when times are tight.
Here are a few ideas...
- Talented Friends and Family may be just the thing you need to help you through a rough spot. Don't hit them up for cash. Ask for a little help with something they are good at. (I'm not sure I would have survived in those early days without access to a talented IT Guy. Lucky for me I was MARRIED to him. :-) Just remember - exchanging favors means that there is an equal balance in the relationship. If you are all take and no give...you might end up with no friends to call on.
- Barter - True bartering is a much more formal exchange of products or services. Sometime they are arranged one-on-one or they my occur through a more formal process using a Barter Exchange. But just so you know, formal barter exchanges do get reported to the IRS via for 1099's - so it is important to keep track. You can learn more here.
- Leverage existing resources in a creative way. Think of a skill, some excess space, or a resource you might have that is more than what you need. Instead of letting it sit unused, leverage it into something someone else can use in exchange for something that you might need.
- Take your show on the road. Get out there and talk to people. It might be in free presentations to local groups and organizations or like I did on the speakers circuit. Not comfortable speaking in front of a crowd? Join your local Toastmasters group and tune up your skills. Get to be good at delivering your message - you never know who might be in that audience.
- Utilize Social Media - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many other tools can help you get your message out to potential customers. Compared to traditional advertising this is a much less expensive way to get the word out and the business in. Most of the tools are free or close to it - but remember it is NOT free - you are simply choosing to invest your time instead of your dollars. Watch for the return on investment or ROI just as you would if you were investing cash,
The Time Money Continuum
To be very clear, there is great value in being able to go to the experts to get the products and services that you need and PAY for them. Very often this will move you faster. They do what they do best while you are out doing what YOU do best. There is a time/money continuum. You can invest your dollars to get things done and often get it done FASTER than if you go the Do it Yourself or DIY route. But, if you do not have the money, some creativity, a bit of elbow grease, and a network of talented friends can make a BIG difference.
So if you've got a problem, get creative. You just may find you have "created" your solution.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay Tuned...