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20 Smart Ways Small Businesses Can Spend $100 (Part 1)

By Jessica Brown

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How many hats do you have to wear as a small business owner? In a perfect world, your to-do list would be filled with high-level business decisions, like what your core values are and where you’d like the business to go in the future. But more often, your daily tasks also include sending 500 emails, faxing three piles of paperwork, or calling a plumber to deal with a leaky pipe in the office.

You are also most likely involved in your company’s budgeting process, and know from experience that in a small business, every dollar counts. But are there areas that can get you more bang for your buck involving the promotion of your company and growth of your brand. If you had $100 (or less) to spend, with the end goal of increasing exposure or creating a stronger foundation for your business, where would you start? Right here.

1. Pay to have a problem solved

There are a lot of things that could be slowing down your business that you may not even realize. These things include a slow Internet speed or your employees not knowing how to properly use a tool in order to get their job done efficiently.  Sometimes something as simple as buying a Keurig for the office and supplying employees with their favorite coffee can increase morale and, in turn, improve work conditions. Think hard about something small that could be holding you back and brainstorm affordable ways to fix it.

2. Pay for useful marketing or business books

Even if you work with a branding or marketing company to execute your marketing and business goals, it helps to be educated on the industry. It will help you to more clearly communicate your wants and needs when working on projects. Some members of our team suggest “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin, “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek and “The E Myth” by Michael E. Gerber, while I’m a personal fan of  “Contagious” by Jonah Berger.

3. Pay for a seminar

Often, business owners put off going to seminars due to price, lack of time, or in fear of them not providing good value. But seminars are often a great place for business owners, not to just learn from professionals in a different area of expertise, but to interact with and learn from peers in your industry or other small businesses. If you pay for an affordable seminar but don’t get much out of it, you can simply spend your next $100 elsewhere.

4. Put $100 into AdWords

AdWords Pay-Per-Click ads work exactly like they sound:  You pay per CLICK. Which means that you only pay if someone clicks and is taken to your website. Google even protects you from click fraud when someone continuously clicks on your ads, with the intention of driving up your spend. Investing $100 into an already existing AdWords account or creating an account from scratch will help drive business immediately.

5. Browse productivity apps

You’re phone’s app store may sometimes serve as a distraction to those who are always on the hunt for the newest “Candy Crush,” but it can also serve as the hub of your mobile productivity. Downloading a few productivity apps will keep you way below your $100 budget, also. Some of the top apps include DocumentsToGo Full Version, Splashtop Remote Desktop, Mobile Doc Scanner, Camera +, and Evernote (which also has a free version).

6. Throw an event

Think about small-budget events that you could hold at your business and put $100 toward putting it on. This could be for snacks at an open house or be put toward gift cards for a customer or client appreciation event.

7. Get promotional material

Reach out to a printing service and finally get some business cards printed for yourself, or get your quarterly report bound so that you’re more proud to present it to your customers.

8. Join a new organization

Professional networking is a great way to get new leads and build partnerships with other businesses. There are a ton of industry organizations that are available to you around the country, and paying membership dues for a year often more than pays for itself.

9. Sign up for Survey Monkey

While Survey Monkey does have a free version that you can use to collect valuable information from customers, its paid plans could take your research to the next level. Paid features include “Text analysis for open responses” and “Custom redirect after survey is completed.”

10. Try a giveaway

A well-planned social media contest can get you exposure and engagement, not to mention leave you with one happy customer. Put most of your $100 into an attractive prize that your customers would be interested in, and then use the rest of your money for a third-party app like those provided by North Social to run the contest.

Don’t see anything worth spending $100 on? Part 2 of this post is coming next week!