If you are a fan of Maisha’s Lemonade Stand on Facebook then you know I am a big advocate of FREE tools to help you grow your business. Mind you, I am not a finance lady but even I understand keeping the costs of running a business as low as possible when starting out. I thought I would help budding entrepreneurs with sales and marketing tools that you need at this stage of your business which I call the “IDEA but a REALLY GOOD IDEA STAGE”. My last post talked about the elevator pitch. So with your IDEA but a REALLY GOOD IDEA , your elevator pitch and with the tools below you are ready to go get your first customer!
Facebook page – I am a big advocate of social media and not just because of its ability to engage with customers on a personal level but because it’s FREE! There’s a time commitment but as soon you get to 30 likes it can function as your website. A landing page allows you to collect names but Facebook powers you to learn about your customers! #ALWAYS PUT CUSTOMERS FIRST!
Email – I don’t think I need to get into email except to say that if you know what your website is going to then reserve the domain name and use the email address that goes along with it. If you don’t know what your idea is going to be called then an email with your name is fine. However, Erika Dickstein, Owner of Spring Insight really disagrees with me. You should have seen the emails that flew back and forth about using Gmail or a branded email.
Business Card – No need for a logo unless you fancy yourself a graphic designer. Name, telephone and a heading that indicates the idea and you’re good. I used a Vistaprint special for my first card. You’ll start to see the ads everywhere! (Don’t laugh at my card, I know you can hardly see the yellow but it looked good when I previewed. Bad marketing person, Bad!)
Logo – Now, if you insist on a logo for your brand I found a great DIY resource. Logo Garden is a free logo design and website company. I played around with it and had fun but I couldn’t find the image that I wanted. But, if I knew about it six months ago I would have used this site instead of Vistaprint! Well, I have more ideas so I will get it another shot.
Email marketing – Now, this is a borderline item and depends on who you’re communicating with, how many and how often. I used Mail Chimp to let my audience ( friends and family) know what I was up to, a few successes I had earlier. It was perfect, professional and FREE. I have since upgraded to Constant Contact.
CRM – I’m a technology marketer first so whatever tools there are to make my life easier the better for me. Capsule CRM is one of these. It’s a great resource for you to capture customers information, forecast and see your win and loss ratio.
If you add these tools to your first sales and marketing kit you are on your way to start up success, your first customer!