Small Business Strategies: How To Grow Your Business On A Small Budget


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Most small business owners are trolling for new clients. Not a day goes by that I’m not asked how to make the phone ring or where to advertise or invest marketing dollars to find new clients.

My best advice for finding new clients doesn’t require a lot of money. It’s simple actually. Go back to the basics and get really involved with something you are passionate about – a charity that needs your time. Before you say you don’t have any extra time in your life, let me challenge you.

Last week I had the privilege to work with 25 of the top photographers in the world. And while their art moved me to tears, what is more impressive is their passion for giving back. From building schools in Ecuador to developing fine arts programs in inner cities and helping orphans in Nepal, these are some of the busiest small business owners in the world. Yet they stop and give their time (and a lot of it) to make the world a better place. It’s that important to them.

When you put your heart into something you have a passion for, a funny thing happens. People see your values in action and are impressed. They view you differently. You’re no longer that guy who owns a camera and takes pictures, you become a valuable asset to your community. You move into customer’s consideration set when they need the products and services you offer. They now think of you and your business when they have a need.

You may be thinking, I already donate to charities in my community. Every year I give to 5 auctions, the local school, etc. You’re missing the point. Writing a check is nice, but it doesn’t let people see and form a connection with the real YOU. It’s not good enough to tell how you give back on your website. You need to SHOW how you give back by getting involved and giving your time.

For example, if you’re a chiropractor, how can differentiate yourself from the other 50 chiropractors in your community? You can run tv spots, send out direct mail, write checks to charity golf tournaments. These marketing tactics do work to an extent. But when you get involved and share your skills with a charity, you make a stronger, lasting impression.

Charities need volunteers of all shapes and sizes. Maybe you’re great at putting together a team or soliciting donations. Or maybe you’re better at  taking a task that is assigned to you and running with it. As business owners we have a skill set that charities can benefit from. Find something you are passionate about – arts education in schools, care for elderly shut ins, domestic violence victims rights, etc. Then get involved. Mark off a day on your calendar each quarter or an hour every few weeks to spend time helping the charity meet their mission.

A friend shared this with me and I absolutely love it (thank you, Monica). We all have different amounts of money, different amounts of
resources, different amounts of power/influence, etc.  But what we all have the VERY SAME amount of is time. No matter how rich/successful/famous anyone is, no one can manufacture more of it. Therefore, time is the absolute most precious gift you can share with
anyone. Get involved in your community. Your business will thank you for it.

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