In my years of working with entrepreneurs and small businesses, one thing has always amazed me: how many people, who are so passionate about growing a company, and who put so much effort into getting it off the ground, will say something like, “I don't have any money for marketing.”
Really? How are you expecting people to find out about your business, unless you're opening an IKEA?
If you're going to start a small business, then expect to do some marketing. Yes, it's nerve-wracking. Marketing is a hit-or-miss kind of business with no guarantee that it's going to pay off the way you want it to. But if you're putting your site up and just expecting people to show up, then quite honestly, you're wasting your time.
But what about social media? you ask. Can't I just work Facebook to get people to come to my site? Good question—and the answer is yes and no. Social media is absolutely an avenue you're going to want to work for your online business. But even that has a cost—maybe not in direct dollars, but in time, and as they say, time is money. However, while social media will be an important avenue (and one that I explore in detail throughout this part of the book), it should only be a single component, balanced by marketing that you'll have to pay for as well.
Be prepared to spend some money on a marketing program, and put money aside for this in advance. Having an open-ended budget will likely cause you to spend very little. When it comes to marketing, you're better off saying, “This is how much I'm going to spend,” and then being mentally and financially prepared to spend it. Business is a contact sport, and not for the faint of heart. If you're not ready to take some risk and put some money on the line to build your business, you might not be ready to be an entrepreneur.