Starting a new business can be very difficult, on average it takes three to five years to reach a comfortable level of success. After you have put a lot of hard work into your new business, you get to a point where you want to reach the next level.
This can be a bit difficult if money is not readily available, but is not impossible. You can look into securing some capital. You can look at finding an investor who will put up money to help you grow. You would have to work out some terms, would they be getting a percentage of the profits? Or would you be paying them back a certain amount of money? You can speak to a bank directly about securing a loan, for 3, 5 or even 10 years. Businesses will sometimes use their credit cards to finance a bigger purchase. My suggestion with this is to find one that will not charge you interest for 6 months to a year. If you divide your payment up into equal parts, you can pay the money back before the interest becomes due. I do not suggest doing this unless you know you can pay back the money in full. With the new laws, credit card companies have to disclose how much interest you will be charged each month if you do not pay off the amount by the end date. There are even some companies that will lend you money based on your accounts receivable. Remember they will be charging you a percentage on each invoice they pay. This usually works best for someone who has a longer wait for receiving payment, terms of net 90 or 120 days.
Your other option is to increase your current client base. This may be the slower of the options, but you will not have to repay any money. In fact, once you build your client list, if you treat them well they will stay and keep adding to your bottom line. For starters you can ask your current clients for a referral to their friends. A good way to do this is by rewarding them for their help. You could offer both parties 10% off their next service. To ensure loyalty amongst your clients, try offering a rewards program. When they spend x amount of dollars they get something free, or a percentage off their next purchase. As women we love to get something extra for free. I know I personally have a few loyalty rewards cards in my purse, for the stores I frequent the most. When deciding where I am going to spend my money, I often look to who I have a rewards card for. If you do not have a client base, your best option is to get people talking about you. You can pay for advertising, but please be consistent. A onetime ad is not going to work. Try for at least 6 months before you make a decision. You may also send out press releases to local media. Be sure and include how you are different, or unique. You can sponsor a charity event, or give a talk about your product or service at any number of local meetings. When you speak on a topic, it is often publicized many different ways. This translates into more people hearing about you and your company. Your audience will see you as the go to person. Remember, when you give your talk offer up some free information. Be sure and put your name on your hand out. You want people being able to find you easily. People will often take the information back to their office and pass it around.
Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on September 2nd, 2015.