Think Like a Nonprofit

Planning a budget is key for your business. You want to make sure you have money for things like payroll, inventory, utilities and rent. But the most important thing you need to factor in is outreach. You’ve launched this fantastic new product, opened a beautiful new store, or created the next big mobile app. But how are people going to know about you if you don’t tell them?

Creating a communication strategy is essential for your business, but that’s for another blog post. The objective is to make every dollar you invest in your business stretch as far as possible. Nonprofit organizations are the best at this. Every day they work with limited budgets to achieve missions that try to reach as many people as they can. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Here are some tips to help your brand stretch every dollar and have the greatest impact: 

1.) Think Creatively

You’ve got to be flexible and think outside the box. Ask yourself, how much can you accomplish before you hire someone? If you need a website designed, think of some layouts, colors and fonts you want to include. Before you hire a graphic designer for a new logo, draw up sketches of what you would want to see. Even if you hire a professional, your prep work will help your collaborative relationship and inevitably your brand. The only limit to where you take your brand lies with you.

2.) Plan with a Purpose

Running a business is no small task. Before you spend a dollar on anything, you need to break down where every single cent will go. Set a budget that keeps the lights on but considers growth. When you plan to host an event, print a poster, make a post on social media, or hire a freelancer, keep two things in mind:

• Is there somewhere else that fits with my budget?

• What is the main goal(s) of what I’m doing?

Don’t settle with the first option or just with someone you know. Before you cut the check, check with yourself. Success and failure lie with you. That’s what comes with being a boss.  

3.) Be Patient

Success doesn’t happen overnight. While you have every right to see how your money is being spent, don’t rush anything. If you’re thinking about launching a social media campaign, garnering media coverage or hosting an event, start the conversation sooner rather than later with a professional. How you succeed is based on the tone you set with yourself, employees and those you hire to help you. 

4.) Network, Network and then Network Some More

You are the people you associate with. Making connections with people across industries can be the difference between saving your organization thousands of dollars or a one-way ticket on the path to failing fast. If you’re the founder of your company, you should attend conferences, join professional organizations and participate in as many events as possible that increase your potential audience exposure. Nonprofits rely on other nonprofits and individuals in other industries to help them reach their goals. To help get the word out about their organization, nonprofits get people excited about their mission, and those people act as ambassadors for the nonprofit. Small businesses can do likewise. Get out there and meet some people! 

5.) Don't Take Everything On Your Own

Nonprofit leaders have to juggle many “hats” because of how limited their funds are. In addition to his or her other responsibilities an executive director could also be an event planner, social media coordinator and marketing director. The same goes for small business owners. Creating and running my own business, I have to be the accountant, marketer and customer relations expert while managing responsibilities with client work. If you feel overwhelmed or need help with a project, it might be time to bring in outside help. And that’s OK. Nonprofit staffs are typically small. By using outside help, these organizations stretch their budget dollars without having to add permanent staff. If your brand is important to you, find the right help to build it and tell your story.