Growing a business is certainly not the easiest endeavor you could do. There are a lot of things to consider: where to get the funds to get started, where to post up your physical location (office), who to hire as employees, and of course, how to maintain revenue.
Los Angeles is an especially difficult place to start a business because of the competition. Yet, I managed to keep my Facebook advertising agency alive these past 6 years. This is what I did.
I Utilized Small-Business Lenders
When companies first start out, they need to generate revenue. But here’s the catch: They often need capital to help get the ball rolling. You can’t start a business without money. So where can you get capital? Lenders. But this can prove to be a difficult scenario because lenders don’t want to give you money until after you can prove you’re generating revenue. How can you prove that when you haven’t even started your business — and thus generated money — yet? This system makes it hard to get started.
In Los Angeles, I utilized a small business lender called VEDC, which helped new businesses in the area secure microloans. The amount of work to complete the loan was more than expected, and the final loan amount was only $5,000, but it allowed me to begin building credit and utilize the funds to continue to grow my business.
I Rented A Co-Working Space
It was my goal to create my company’s headquarters in Santa Monica, also known as silicon beach because of all the tech companies stationed there. Rent in this city is enormously high and very exclusive, often with waiting lists that are months or years away. So, I looked into renting co-working spaces, ideal for small startups that aren’t big enough to rent an office space yet. These lower-cost options allowed me to get an address in a prime area and also begin to network and interact with other entrepreneurs in the tech industry.
Eventually, I found a place at WeWork, right above a Victoria’s Secret store in 3rd Street Promenade. At WeWork, renters often work in the same area, so you will have five or six companies working from the same large room. This opened opportunities for making friends and networking. During my time at WeWork, I met people who helped me grow my business by becoming clients and referring their connections to me. I also shared my insights and raised awareness of my startup in Lunch and Learn events.
I Joined Networking Events
Starting a business in Santa Monica allowed me access to an ongoing stream of events about topics like programming, legal, accounting, marketing, and new technology. These ongoing events helped me understand early concepts like blockchain or Facebook ads before they were mainstream in the market. If you are not in a major city, I would check out local events on Meetup or set them up yourself and invite others to join. Sometimes even just a meetup at a bar or restaurant can allow people to discuss the topics they are interested in and get like-minded people together.
I Become A General Assembly Instructor
As I was starting my business, I needed money to grow my company and my clients. Becoming an instructor allowed me to solve both of these issues at the same time. I partnered with a company called General Assembly and asked if I could teach a class on Facebook advertising. This was prior to Facebook becoming the leading advertising platform. General Assembly provided the classroom to teach and did all the marketing to promote my classes.
I would put on a 2-to 5-hour presentation and answer any questions. I put a lot of time into creating a fast- paced class that was highly valuable for the students. This led me to having some of the highest instructor scores and being asked to continue teaching the same class for the next three years. I was able to secure several six-figure clients from this method alone and also ended up meeting my future wife, who attended one of my classes.
I Applied To Government Programs When Things Got Hard
When COVID hit, lots of businesses were unsure about how to survive and pay the bills. The city of Los Angeles launched a Small Business Microloan program to help businesses secure capital at a 0% APR. Options like this allowed us to continue moving forward with payroll and growing the company. These business-focused programs are fantastic and helped us move forward during difficult times. Check with your local government to see if they have any programs for small businesses.
When you grow a small business, you will face challenges. Often, you have to be creative when finding solutions. Hopefully with these tips, you won’t feel alone in your journey. Hopefully you’ll use one of the tactics I used to grow my business so you can grow yours.
Author Bio: Brian Meert is the CEO of AdvertiseMint, a Hollywood based digital advertising agency that specializes in helping successful companies advertise on Facebook. Advertisemint has managed millions of dollars in digital ad spends in entertainment, fashion, finance, and software industries.
Brian is also the author of the best selling, The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising, and the innovative The Complete Guide to Digital Advertising Policies infographic. He is a 15-year digital advertising executive and a member of the Forbes Agency Council. Prior to founding Advertisemint, Brian built and sold Gofobo.com, an online ticketing system that revolutionized the entertainment industry and is now utilized by Warner Bros. and Disney.
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