How to Successfully Launch and Grow Your Local Business

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If I could go back 13 years to when I first launched my marketing company, I would do things a little differently. Of course, I’ve learned a lot along my entrepreneurial journey, and am much savvier about running a business now than I was then.

Recently, I launched a second business—a local craft workshop company—and was able to learn from my own wisdom gleaned from mistakes made with the first. May you also benefit from these tips so that you get to success even faster than I did!

1. Invest in getting off on the right foot

With my first business, I was reluctant to spend even a dime on anything related to my business if there was even the slightest possibility I could do it myself. But I have learned that just because you can DIY doesn’t mean you always should.

Case in point: I designed my first website. And this was long before the days of easy-to-use website builder tools. So it looked like I, a non-graphic designer, created it. Nothing to write home about. I cringe at the memory. Now I use Wix and pay for the premium service to customize the site exactly how I need it.

2. DIY your marketing . . . but pay for it, too

I’m fortunate in that I run a marketing firm, so I’m adept at posting to social media, writing blog posts, and sending emails to promote my new business. But you might not be quite as savvy at marketing as I am, or you might be focused on other aspects of running your company.

Know where your weaknesses are and spend money to shore them up. Hire a part-time consultant to help with the marketing you can’t or don’t want to do yourself.

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Most of the money I’ve made with my craft business so far has gone into marketing, and I don’t regret that decision at all. I invested in a six-month membership for a Meetup account . . . and within two weeks had booked a class that more than covered that investment through my Meetup group. I paid for a feature on Wix that allows me to book classes without paying a fee for it, and I’ve more than made up the difference. Yes, it’s scary to spend money when you barely have any, but when you can do more with your business, faster, it’s well worth the investment.

3. Establish your local presence

One thing that’s been different for me with this second business I’ve launched is that it’s locally focused. I host craft workshops at venues in my San Diego neighborhood, which means I need to be known to locals.

If you’ve got a local business association, I highly recommend attending regular meetings and mixers, not necessarily with the goal of selling, but simply focusing on building relationships. I am a member of my business association, and those relationships I’ve nurtured over the years are now paying off: now all I have to do is ask a local restaurant or bar owner if I can host an event at their location, and they’re happy to help me.

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