The Power of Broke

7 November 2018
Mark Friend
Ambitious Startups, Building a Business, Raising Finance

Sometimes a book comes along at just the right time and really resonates with you.

This is what happened to me when I read The Power of Broke by Daymond John.

You’ve probably not heard of Daymond; but he’s a big deal in the US. The US equivalent to Dragon’s Den is the Shark’s Tank, and Daymond is one of the “Sharks”. He also founded the fashion group FUBU.

His book expounds the virtues of being broke! With no cash he’s had to develop creative ways to promote his business. The book is filled with examples of ways entrepreneurs have built their businesses without cash. In each case, the lack of cash resulted in the entrepreneur coming up with a creative way to build their businesses. From startups, through growing businesses to established businesses, Daymond gives example after example.

Key to this thinking is the ability to get under the skin of your customers so you can identify the best ways to target them. One example was Nature Valley granola bar, which became popular by targeting ski resorts and outdoor adventure centres with localised marketing, posters and free gifts. By identifying their target clients and carefully targeting their marketing, they built up increasing demand. In the end the product was being sold worldwide in nearly every supermarket.

So why did this resonate with me?

Thinking back to when I started in business every £ counted. With a young family my marketing had to provide me with a return on investment. I quickly established what worked and what didn’t.

I started with an advertorial (a quarter page advert and article) and a repeating one inch advert in the classified section of a local newspaper which brought in the business. Fancy local magazines bombed. I tried everything from yellow pages, leaflet drops and meeting local solicitors and bank managers (which also failed) and much more. All was done on a shoestring.

Twenty six years on, it’s easy to forget those lessons learnt when cash is more abundant. Recently we have invested in an office refurbishment. The costs have been high and the return on investment questionable given the amount of time I have spent on the project.

As a result I’ve looked more carefully at our latest investment, the new website. We need to find someone to do videos; not just a company video but testimonials and educational videos.

The simple answer is to ‘buy-in’ the service, which we’ll do for the main company videos.

The challenge is we want to produce more videos, so it makes sense to see if we can do it in house rather than outsource. But this only works if there’s a saving. So we asked if anyone in the company has any experience with videos and to our amazement one of our junior accounts trainees, Jack, has created videos.

We think it’s great that, at least in the short-term, we’ll be able to prepare short videos in house that will keep our clients up to date with new developments and informed about important issues.

A powerful lesson learned; if you have a team, talk to them and find out whether there are other ways they can help you drive your business – you might be surprised!

Think scarcity to get you thinking outside the box; it could result in an unexpected and exciting solution!

If you haven’t read the book I would highly recommend it and also check out the video “Scholly- the Shark TanK” – Dragon’s Den is so tame in comparison!!!

Call us or email us here if you have any questions in respect of this article or need help with raising finance.

The content in this blog is correct as at 7th November 2018. See terms and conditions.

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