By Kelly Lynch

So, you want to grow your business. If you run a small or online business, you’re most likely searching for places to build your audience and grow your business online. This can be a challenging, time-consuming, and sometimes expensive process.

In addition to blogging, collaborations, and paid social media marketing, here are three less traditional (and inexpensive!) places which have helped my small business grow. Ready to grow your business? 

Grow your Business in Local Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a completely free and a very easy way to grow your business. If you live in or near a town with a Facebook group, join it. It is a great place to connect with people and events in your community, but it’s also a great place to let others know about your brand and connect with customers. People in your town want local businesses like yours to succeed. 

There’s one catch. Local groups often have rules about when and where it is ok to post about your business. Make sure to read and respect these rules. Choosing to ignore them, may annoy your neighbors, or even worse, damage your brand.

Grow your Business at Craft Fairs and Events

If you go to a craft fair in an attempt to grow your business, know that the cost of this one varies from zero to thousands of dollars depending on the event, space size, and vendor requirements. While they are excellent, high traffic places for exposure; it’s sometimes tough to gauge with an annual event whether your target audience will be there ahead of time. 

This is where a bit of research, prediction, and luck come in. Oftentimes, organizers will be able to help you determine whether or not their event is a good opportunity for your business. Keep in mind that these events often take place outside and that crowds are weather-dependent. Make sure to read over any contracts carefully, especially when paying in advance. Prepare for these events by bringing plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks in addition to your merchandise!  

Grow your Business at Country Markets

Country markets are usually weekly events that are inexpensive places to secure a spot. Like craft fairs and events, country markets are often outdoors and introduce the challenges of outdoor-selling such as wind, temperature, rain, setup, and other issues. Unlike craft fairs and other events, country markets give sellers the opportunity to see the venue before committing the time, money, and energy to selling for a day. Although, as with fairs, country market crowds can vary widely based on weather, time of year, and nearby events.

It can be a bit intimidating to bring your online business into other venues, but a mix of these suggestions (and your own ideas, of course!) can be a positive step towards branching out into your community and reaching new audiences which are the first steps you’ll want to take to grow your business. 

Kelly is a graduate student by day and a business owner… also by day. She started and runs Just Six Club, a quirky boutique for students and young professionals.