Building Your Brand With Next to NO Budget - SOS

Summer is coming and it's time build my brand. As a recap up to this point, I have formed my business, created my logos and initial designs, acquired my first round of product line, started my online retail store and told my dad to do the taxes. Done. Now it's time to build my brand, but there's a slight problem. Money.

I have been fortunate enough to get some of my Winter One items out locally to some stores, so that's a win. The question that I have now is - what's next? My Summer One collection is coming in soon and I need to branch out. Up to this point I've been a busy student doing 2+ hours of homework a day, while training 5 days a week for 3 hrs. The good news is that I will have more time once school ends, so it's time to act. This will be my first year creating and promoting a brand, so I'm quite excited. My summer will kick off with Young Entrepreneur Business Week, so I'm sure that I'll learn a lot during this time - but, that aside, I need a plan. 

I need help and I'm looking for ideas, hence my SOS. What says you - any thoughts on how I can promote my brand with summer quickly approaching? The internet is a wealth of information, so let's start there. Constant Contact lists '10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget'. That's right down my alley, so let's proceed. Here's their list:

  1. Craft an elevator pitch
  2. Leverage your community
  3. Collaborate
  4. Network
  5. Give a speech
  6. Create buzz
  7. Ask for referrals
  8. Build relationships
  9. Offer coupons
  10. Give it away

So, I have to ask myself - what works? I'm selling a product and not a service, so that will wipe a couple of these from my list right off the bat. I could use an elevator pitch when leveraging the community, looking to collaborate with others and networking, so let's put 1 thru 4 into a single category. I'll call it 'Outreach'. I don't find the need to give a speech or ask for referrals at this point in time, so I'll scratch those off my list. That said, I can't overlook the Create buzz at #6, so I'll leave that one as is. Finally, the last 3 items are also important. I'm a small business owner, so it's important for me to build relations locally and get my product out there for the masses. I'll bundle coupons and giveaways under 'Promotions', so I have my new list down to 4:

  1. Outreach
  2. Create buzz
  3. Build relationships
  4. Promotions

With MY new list, the next thing that I need is help and a plan.

The help comes in the form of YOU - do you have any thoughts in regards to what you think may be a successful strategy for a new, growing business? What would you do if you were me? Hit me up and let me know of some cool summer 'outside the box' type of ideas that would assist me in getting my product out and about in the Bend and Central Oregon area. 

 The plan can shift, but to start I need a consistent strategy from a marketing point of view. My goal for the summer is to promote my product locally in the immediate Bend area. The reason for that is quite simple - I'm 15 and I'm not Elan Musk. With local branding in mind, I need to establish a foundation and set some goals.

I need to be seen at least twice a month. This means that I need to set up a table/booth at a First Friday, a farmer's market or at a couple of local events. I have my product in a limited couple of stores and I'd prefer to keep it that way (loyalty), but I will need to explore the correct places to display and sell my product line. This covers my desire to continue to build my relationships. I could also set up a booth in high traffic locations during the summer as well. Any thoughts? 

From a promotional side, giving discounts and handing my product away is not ideal, but is a great way for my business to grow. I will need to think this one through. I'm open to ideas, but the goal with giveaways would be for those folks to help promote my business to sell more, right? Lastly, I would love to either get a piece into the news, a spread in a mag and/or get interviewed by Emily Kirk from KTVZ. You'd be surprised - the weather has everything to do with anything that goes on your head. 

Again - looking for ideas from anyone out there with suggestions. If this was your business, what would your approach consist of? I would love to hear from you.  Reach out - I'm all ears. 

- Zach

1 comment

Tracy Cuneo

You are killing it at Cross Country Ski Nationals this week in Tahoe, CA, and you own your own business at 15 and are a high school freshman? Impressive! I’ll be watching out for you as a major business leader in 10-20 years. There’s one kid out there off devices and making it happen!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published