Value Bank – It’s not always about money

Launching a business with little or no funds can be scary, but the truth is you don’t need so much money. Sometimes, the right set of people around you with something to offer in return for a service is the most valuable capital you can possess.

It’s important to note that you can’t get it right all at once. Big businesses may have lots of cash to throw around compared to SMEs, so they can afford to hire professional photographers for a product shoot for instance. But for small businesses, every penny is a big deal.

The first professional Hingees product shoot took place at a friend’s studio in return for logo re-design and branding of the studio. Undoubtedly, it was a win-win situation. For small businesses that require lookbook shots, preparation can be expensive. Not everyone is lucky enough to have friends with beach bodies or Idris Elba’s physique. Nonetheless, there’s always a way out. One thing I’ve learnt is never to be afraid to ask for help. You’d be amazed at how much people are willing to help seeing what you’re up to.

Hingees’ first lookbook series were taken by friends who had professional cameras.

Another useful tip is to build solid relationships with artisans that may be useful to your product development. Don’t just tell them what you need to get done. Show that you can also add value to their businesses with skills that you possess. We tend to appreciate people more if they have something important to offer. That way, you can easily cut costs and trim that ambiguous budget.

The internet can also serve as a useful fuel for you to cut down on cost. Chances are a few people have been through what you are trying to do. Invest a couple of hours researching online. Google and YouTube served as a great resource during the pre-launch days of Hingees and even up till this moment.

For marketing, you can start almost free. Setting up social media accounts come at no cost. The only thing you might need to pay for is a domain name and a hosting account to put up a website. There are free WordPress website templates with thousands of videos on how to set it up.

On the business side of things, we probably all have friends from school who are now accountants, lawyers, business administrators, etc. Give them a call, ask for their help and see what you can also give back in return.

The bottom line is never to wait for the perfect offering. It’ll get better as the business grows. Leverage on solid relationships and don’t forget to have fun while you are at it!


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