So, you decided to pursue your passion and start your own business, now what?
The overwhelming amount of ideas scribbled in your notebook and constant review of your resume figuring out what type of services or products you could possibly be qualified for are both cathartic experiences every entrepreneur has to experience for themselves but most of the time, aside from a lucky few, you don’t have enough resources to make these ideas come to life.
This is where sponsorships and collaborations can either make or break your business because everyone needs a little help sometimes. And you shouldn’t be scared or intimidated to ask for help, your ideas and creativity can still shine through but encasing your ask for help in a professional and collaborative manner can make all the difference when trying to secure your first sponsor. The only way to propel your business into succession is for it to appeal to your target consumers and a wise way to put yourself on the map is to connect with other professionals who could give you some guidance and even feature your work or product in some way.
I can definitely attest to the difficulty of asking for sponsorship or help in any way, you don’t want it to seem like your business isn’t as structurally sound as it should be but nine times out of ten, the person you are asking for help from has been where you are. They went through their own struggles, their own tribulations and asked for help a fair amount so they understand what you must be feeling.
To ease the awkwardness, you can reach out to them on social media. Choose a platform they seem to be the most active on whether it be Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, even YouTube. A casual and a not so in-your-face way to shoot a direct message without technically shooting a direct message is to reply to their Instagram story, for example. Assuming you had already followed them, if their story relates to your business in anyway, a simple compliment showcasing your interest in their business could go a long way. It could be along the lines of “Wow this looks amazing! I would love to learn more about how you started your business.” Simple yet effective, something you should always keep in your professional arsenal. If they don’t seem to be active on any social media platforms, or at least not active enough that they would reply to your message in a timely manner, then it’s time to do the dreaded cold-emailing.
In the olden days they used to cold-call but who has time to pick up their phone and talk? Don’t worry, I have a few pointers in how to send your first cold-email. It would be wise to have an email template that you can use over and over again so you don’t have to craft a unique email to each one of your potential sponsors.
Your email should abide by the following criteria:
Address them by “Dear” or “Hello”, I think “Hi” is a little too casual for a first email encounter
State your name, the name of your business and what kind of products or services you offer
What you hope to gain out of this collaboration
The things or incentives that the other person would gain by collaborating or giving you sponsorship
Last but not least, sign with your full name. One of my old HR supervisors told me that conveys more professionalism than with only signing with your first name.
And those are my tips in gaining a successful sponsorship. It’s definitely easier said than done but try not to be discouraged if some people aren’t keen with collaborating with your business. Most of the time it isn’t personal, but they might not have the resources to relay support to your business while trying to maintain the momentum they have for theirs. No matter what the reply is, you should commend yourself in stepping out of your comfort zone with the pursuit of growing your business.
Guest Blog Author - Nadine Ratu - 3rd Year Comm Student at SFU
Nadine has a passion for content creating, marketing strategizing and digital design. When she is not watching Adobe tutorials and analyzing Instagram analytics, she likes to wave to every dog I see on the street, and if she is feeling brave, ask their owner if she can pet them. She is starting to make her mark in the marketing world, little by little and although she does not know where she is going to be in the next 10 years (or what she even is going to be having for dinner), she always tries to remember that growth is not linear and setbacks are a part of becoming the person she wants to be.