When I was first asked to participate on this panel, I thought, “WOW things really have come full circle!” You see, I started my business back in 1991 on a shoestring.  I had no marketing experience having just got out of the Air Force.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon a seminar on the same topic where I met my first business mentor, Richard Gerson. Richard promoted a seminar call Maverick Marketing.  I attended and was hooked.

Since then, I have used shoestring techniques myself and with clients hundreds of times with great success.  Why would any small business use traditional methods when these low cost methods get great result and cost a fraction of traditional marketing methods?

While preparing, I realized what a great topic this would make, so tune in over the weeks to come join the discussion with regard to shoestring marketing tactics. I begin with the discussion here with I believe is the most important first step in ANY marketing you do for your business.

Before You Begin Low Cost Marketing

Before you begin using shoestring methods, you better have a solid business and marketing strategy. Or you won’t get the results that you are looking for. In fact, many businesses find themselves wandering aimlessly and don’t know why. It’s because they have no direction.
A business plan is a must. I don’t mean a “go to the bank for money business plan.” I recommend a 1 – 2 page strategic document that communicates what you ultimately want to accomplish and what is needed in the next quarter and year to make it a reality. This plan should answer the following questions:
  • What is you vision 3 – 5 years into the future?
  • How do you plan to exit your business? (Just close it down, sell it to a buyer or employee, leave it to your children, etc.)
  • What do you want to accomplish this year to begin the journey? (This is an annual goal with a revenue target)
  • What key factors must you accomplish to meet that goal?
Use the document as a litmus test. As you come up with ideas, measure them against your plan. Does it move you toward your goal and ultimately your vision? If the answer is NO, then put it away for another time. Not applying this approach will find you wandering aimlessly. When you are in business, time is your most precious resource.  Once it’s gone you can’t get it back.
Stay away from cool tactics.   Focus on tactics that get you the results you document in your plan and it’s only a matter of time before your vision is realized!
What kind of experiences have you had when preparing to market on a shoestring?  Share you thoughts and experience with us.
If you need help applying this business planning approach, contact DE, Inc. for a copy of our Business Plan and Action Planning templates. These templates are part of our High Impact Business Planning training, part of our Business Accelerator Training program, is now online!

Copyright ©2011, 2010 Dino Eliadis