You’ve come up with the idea, you’ve done the research, you’ve generated a plan, you’ve received the capital, and now it’s time to let the world know about your small business. The only obstacle is that you have a next-to-nothing budget and you don’t know where to get started. When starting a small business, budgeting for marketing is often overlooked. And looking at the logic of it, it just doesn’t make sense. Your success is completely dependent upon having a client or customer base. And how can you achieve that if the customer doesn’t know you exist or what you’re all about? Marketing is what will create that significant impact you need to get your business off the ground and create consistent revenue. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you need to give your product or service away for free – just at first and just to target customers! They will then be able to spread the word like wildfire about the brilliance of your company. They will become ambassadors of your company and you didn’t even have to pay them to say it. Once they become regular customers, ensure their happiness with great customer service. Go the extra mile for them. They’re more likely to refer you and begin the networking process for you. Speaking of networking, do it. Do lots of it. It’s not just your job now to market your product; you have to market you. Join local business groups and attend events where you’ll meet key community leaders who can point you in the right direction of who to talk to and how to grow your business. Use social media. If you’re not savvy with hashtags and trending topics, spend the money to hire someone who is. It’ll be worth it. Ensure that you’re posting useful and relevant information. To be safe, use the 80 – 20 rule. 80% fun and engaging but also relevant content, 20% of self-promotion.