GUEST BLOG: YES founder Carly Ward on cheap marketing and talking X Factor with Princess Badiya

In my last blog I told you about what I had been up to and how I got funding for YES (Young Entrepreneur Society). Since my last entry business life has been extremely busy!

I went to a big event that one of our partners A4E was running in London recently. The event was about the government's new Work Programme. Once funding starts being released to councils, we can start putting bids forward for contracts to work with more young people. A4E and YES are a perfect partnership because they have the expertise with the bids and we have the product. Tip for entrepreneurs: Try to get as many partners as you can as this can win you more business!

I also went to Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, which has recently become a YES Member. I delivered Step 1 of the 12 Steps to Success Programme and 17 students turned up in their spare time. This proves there are young people out there dedicated to becoming entrepreneurs - very enlightening! They were a very energetic group and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

The highlight of my week definitely has to be meeting two of the judges for an award I have been shortlisted for -Women of the Future 2010, Young Star Category. I met them in a beautiful office building near Bank, London and was met by one of the organisers who took me to the reception room to meet the other finalists and the Chair of the judges - Her Royal Highness Princess Badiya of Jordan. We had a very normal chat with about X Factor! I then went through to an Apprentice-style boardroom to meet the chief exec of Hobbs clothing Nicky Dulieu and Lucy George from Chic Outlet Shopping Villages.

I just about managed to fit a whole years work and achievements into 15 minutes which was an experience! They announce the winners at The London Marriot Grosvenor Square on November 9th at the gala dinner.

I also filmed with Smarta, which was a great experience.

Anyway! I wanted share a few marketing tips with you all this week. I started YES with no money, just a small loan from The Princes Trust and Fredericks Foundation. I did not have a huge marketing budget on tap. But there are so many ways to get the word out with very little or no money at all. Here are the main ones I tend to use:

  • Speak at as many events as you can
  • Send press releases to newspapers and magazines - they are always looking for new stuff!
  • Tell people you know
  • Enter for awards and competitions
  • Do bulk mail-outs to your potential customers (I have got business from this and it works!)
  • Contact your local radio station and see if you can be interviewed
  • Social media - get a Facebook group, Get a LinkedIn profile and group, get Twitter etc. Just from being on LinkedIn, I connected with a young entrepreneur who will now be a regular at the YES Network!
  • Use referrals
  • Get as many partners as possible
  • Put a free newsletter on your website
  • Go to as many networking events as possible! (The YES Network is the only networking group and resource hub for young Entrepreneurs under 35 - email me for more info!)

Let me know if you get any business from these ideas! Next time I will be talking about the barriers young entrepreneurs face in society today but until then please email me any time!

carly@youngentrepreneursociety.org.uk and look at the website www.youngentrepreneursociety.org.uk

To the future!

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