If you’re new to this game of marketing and business creation, or if you have no budget, you’re going to need help. Obviously.
What may not be so obvious is where you might find this help
You’re going to need to do some research and get good at using all available systems to their max.
There are many people and entities out there who are willing to assist you in moving forward on any worthwhile project, if it fits the parameters of how they’re allowed to give aid. They’ll help you if it furthers their cause; if it matches their mission statement.
The government offers quite a bit of help on all levels. For business and marketing help, you’re going to want to visit the Small Business Administration. They have areas dedicated to vets, disabled people, and minority individuals too. Hey. If you fit a category that gets you financial aid or some sort of specialized help – use that!
There are fraternal organizations such as The Lion’s Club, The Moose Lodge, etc., that give out grants.
Local colleges are a great place to begin asking questions. Just visit their administrative offices and make some noise.
Librarians are powerful people. Go meet one. Every librarian or head of a library has been of great value to me. They’re what Google was before Google arrived and they have knowledge you’d never think to ask of them. Go visit, tell them of your needs, and see what awesomeness spews from their mouths from there. I love librarians!
But we do not wish to discount Mother Google. On the contrary, she is a godsend. Focus on your keyword, the one that best describes what you do or need and add your city, town, county, or state to the search box and see what pops up.
Any agency that already does what you’re looking to do might have a loan program, free counseling, or free workshops to help you grow.
There are agencies of all types that have funding and resources for you that would never seem to be associated with what you’re doing. Government agencies are great for this.
You might find educational help for entrepreneurs buried inside some county housing entity, or something like that. It’s truly bizarre but possible. Which leads me to:
Search EVERYTHING!!! Approach EVERYBODY!!! DIG!!!
There are funding websites where people will simply donate to your project if you impress them more than your competition on the site.
Advocate groups abound. Find one on your topic. If they can’t help directly, they’ll probably have a connection to someone who can.
If your mission matches the mission of a local charity, see if they’ll sponsor you or develop a fund drive to finance whatever it is you’re trying to get out to the world. They’ll benefit from the buzz you create.
Chambers of Commerce can offer loads of free info to move you forward.
Increasing the amount of networking you do can catch the eye or ear of a potential partner, mentor, or financier.
Angel investor groups often hold meetings that are open to the public in which you get a shot at pitching your idea to the people who can make it come to life. You’ll also be in a room of like-minded souls and there is no telling what may come of that. The energy can get incredible!
Learn to look at world differently than you do now. See it as a business person, a marketer, a leader. What are other companies and organizations doing around you to get traffic to their doorsteps? If you see something you like, figure out how to duplicate it, or better yet, find someone who’s in charge of it and have a chat.
Get yourself involved with any group, event, or activity in your local area that will expose you to people doing what you want to do who are already successful at it. Then watch and learn. Shake a hand, slap a back, offer to help in any way you can and watch what returns you get.
Above all else, don’t sit behind your keyboard forever, hoping to find the answer
Everyone I mentioned above has a website or is linked to one so that they may be found online. But your physical presence is going to be required at some point to make the gears turn in your favor.
Personally, I have taken more risks, looked the fool more times, lost more money, and helped more people for nothing, than I can remember. And it finally got me to the right people because I became a known entity and I became known as someone who’d lend a hand.
And there’s an important last item. When it’s applicable, think out beforehand how you can be of use to whomever you’re approaching, before you ask for help.
Come bearing gifts
The gifts, in this case, are your time, energy, and resources. Anything that can make you of value to the ones whose help you need. Be sure to help them first.
In the beginning, you can’t really harm much. It’s better to just get going and make the most mistakes you can in the fastest manner possible. Once made, you’ll have learned. And you’ll get better at this as you go. Trust me.
It can sting a little, at first, when you blow a perceived opportunity or shove your foot in your mouth up to the ankle but none of these things can kill you or destroy your mission. Just keep moving!
The photographer of this post’s featured photo: rawpixel.com