It’s a vicious cycle. One that paralyzes small business because of just how difficult it is to break.
It’s called the Cycle of Broke, and you just might be in it right now.
“What on earth is the Cycle of Broke?”
The Cycle of Broke is when you don’t have enough customers, but you aren’t doing anything to get more customers because you “can’t afford” to do any marketing. You can’t run any ads, you can’t hire someone to work specifically on getting you new customers… you can barely pay yourself a measly salary!
Unfortunately, this cycle has no end! You’ll never get more customers knocking at your door without some activity from you to get them there.
“So what can I do to break out of the cycle?”
Don’t panic – I’m going to give you four ways you can break out of the Cycle of Broke to break .
Get down with Content Marketing. In short, content marketing means giving away free information in the form of blog post, newsletters, checklists, cheatsheets, reports, etc in order to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Once people start to get to know and like the valuable content you give away, many will convert into paying customers. It’s also a great way to build your list! (Find out exactly how in my webinar, Turning Likes into Leads).
It doesn’t cost anything to create and distribute content in order to drive more people to your website and get the word out about your services. It will, however, require a consistent time commitment. But you could start very simple with a newsletter or blog that you produce on your own, and eventually hire a freelancer to help you take it up a notch. Need a bit of inspiration? Check out real examples of how one of those very freelancers you could hire supercharged her content marketing by using social media.
Use social media to get the word out for free!
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn… I almost can’t believe these marketing tools are still FREE! They might not be forever, though, so I say get in while the gettin’s good!
You can use social media to build up a fanbase of people who are psyched by what you’re doing and will actually help you get the word out FOR you! Not sure exactly how to go about this? Not to worry: we’ve put together some can’t-miss-em marketing guides to help answer all of your questions. Click to grab the one on general Social Media Marketing, or get specific with marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Social Media Optimization!
(Can you tell I’m excited about this stuff? Maybe just a little.)
Charge more for your product or services. OK, I know this one can be hard to digest. You’re probably think, “If it were easy to just raise my prices, I would have done it already!” Easy or not, your hard-working self very likely deserves a pay raise – who knows, you might be currently charging below-industry standards. So check out this step-by-step guide to increasing your prices in order to boost your monthly revenue so you can break free from this beast of a cycle!
Hire someone. Now before you think I’ve truly gone off the deep end, believe me when I say that this is a real option for “broke” businesses. The Cycle of Broke means that you need more revenue in order to grow your business, right? But you’re already up to your elbows in serving your customers, answering emails, collecting payment, and so on.
Here’s the deal: the FASTEST way to scale your time and expertise is by duplicating your working hours with another set of hands. Think you don’t have the cash flow to pay someone else? Think again: there are people around the country and the globe who have significantly lower monthly bills than you do and that are looking for part- or full-time work. You can find them on sites like Elance, oDesk, and Zirtual. Plus there are TONS of students looking to gain experience before they graduate and are forced to face the working world with a flimsy résumé.
This hire should either do something that directly makes you more money (like sales or marketing work) OR frees you up to make more money (admin and customer service stuff). So calculate what one new client or sale per month would make you, then use that as a guideline for spending on hiring. So if this new hire could free up your time to get 5 new sales and that will net you $500, that’s your budget for the new person. Whip up a job description that includes that monthly wage you can conceivably pay and post it online. Your next (and maybe first) employee is currently out there looking for that position, so help them find it but putting yourself out there!
At the end of the day, there’s no quick fix to get out of the Cycle of Broke. The only solution is to rev up your marketing in order to bring in more revenue. (And I know, it’s much easier said than done!) But you CAN break the cycle using one or more of the tactics above.
Are you familiar with the Cycle of Broke but are glad to say it’s part of your past? Tell us how YOU broke the cycle in the comments below, and let others learn from your success!