How Can I Grow A Startup With No Money?
Throughout my time in my local startup community, I have met with dozens of founders with deeply interesting and unique stories.
Some were attracted to our community as new visitors to Las Vegas, some were looking for additional team members to help grow their business, and some came looking for help raising capital.
As an aspiring entrepreneur who tends to be extremely frugal, I wanted to learn more about how the founders I have spoken to were able to grow their startups without relying on outside investment.
In this article, I want to share 5 quick strategies that I have learned from these conversations about how to grow a startup with no money at all.
- Networking Events
Seems obvious right?
Turns out many entrepeneurs or business professionals undervalue the importance of networking events.
Because of the internet, many disregard meeting in person since communication is often easier done through social media these days.
However, just like with most social interactions, people tend to build more meaningful relationships when they see other like-minded entrepreneurs at a networking event and really explore their business motives.
Events like the ones hosted by Startup Vegas here, open the door for new entrepreneurs to meet a variety of people that they would have never met if they hadn’t attended.
With social media, users choose who they interact with, but when you are immersed in an environment full of ambitious individuals, people are often introduced to attendees who are completely unfamiliar just by having the right conversation.
These events are a quick way to find team members, pitch your ideas to customers, find investors, partnerships, freelance help, and more.
Although almost every business professional uses it, LinkedIn is still such an underutilized platform to find talent, prospects, and all things related to marketing your business.
LinkedIn is high on this list because of their powerful Sales Navigator tool.
As a salesperson myself. I use LinkedIn Sales Navigator every single day to find new prospects to call, message, and email.
What’s awesome about LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the ability to filter and save lists of similar customer personas.
With these filters, you can design a custom list of all potential customers who fit a certain title, are in your specific industry, use specific keywords in their posts, and if they have been active in the past month.
As a salesperson, I always apply a filter to my prospect lists that shows all people who have posted in the past 30 days as these people will have the highest likelihood to respond.
For example, my friend Caleb Woods, who is the CEO of an app called Plore which helps small e-commerce businesses market to the right customers, can use these filters to build a list of all prospects that are small-business owners in the e-commerce space, and can apply the keywords “e-commerce” and “shopify” to the keyword function shown above.
Now with this tool you can build a list of thousands of people who fit your customer persona and then simply start making some cold outreaches!
While all video content is important, it is undeniable at this point how effective TikTok is at reaching a larger audience.
The key with this choice, just like with any social media platform, is to CONSISTENTLY PRODUCE CONTENT.
And not only that, make content that is engaging by using text, quick edits, and by creating each video with an answer to why someone would want to watch your video.
Here are some general DO’S and DONT’s from my experience on the platform.
- Post short, fast-paced clips of your business
- Use colorful text
- Switch the camera angle often
- Start the video by saying or writing text that clearly explains why someone should be watching.
- Make every video for a stranger (Here’s why YOU should be watching)
- Record meaningless content unrelated to your business
- Make every video all about you
- Make videos that only people close to you will enjoy
- Post every now and then
Partnerships are an amazing way to find additional help for those struggling to find employees.
For example, if you need help producing content to market your business, reach out to freelance videographers, photographers, and editors on LinkedIn or at a networking event and ask them for help and, in return, you can refer them other customers.
In many cases, not all, this tactic works with competition as well.
At the end of the day, if you have a direct competitor, then that means you both are in business to achieve the same outcome.
If you can create mutually beneficial transaction between yourself and your competitor, then you both can make progress towards the same initiative.
For example, my friends who own a landscaping business in NorthWest Las Vegas partner with a “competitor” in East Las Vegas and both parties refer business to each other based on the location of the client.
If they receive a request for yard maintenance from someone in East Las Vegas, they simply refer the client to their “competitor” and receive a commission for that referral.
5. Interest Groups
Lastly, similar to in-person Networking events, there are multiple platforms that allow you to chat with likeminded individuals and grow communities around common initiatives.
I would strongly suggest Meetup, Facebook Groups, and Nextdoor, as platforms to use to build communities either locally or online that are around a common goal.
We have utilized the “Las Vegas Business Networking Group” on Facebook, for example, to grow the attendees at our live events each month.
All we did was simply join, and message as many participants in the group as possible.
In conclusion, there are a multitude of ways to grow a startup with no money at all.
All it requires is a little out-of-the-box thinking and hard work on your end, which if you aspire to be an entrepreneur, you likely already have.
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