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No marketing budget? Win over bloggers instead

Photographer Ron Henry knew his camera strap was a winner. Now he just needed to get the word out on the cheap.

The Company: BlackRapid

Start-up Funds: $5,000 for a website, banner advertising, and product samples

After 15 years as a professional photographer, Ron Henry wondered why he had never come across a comfortable camera strap that positioned his camera readily for quick shots. After pondering the idea for a few months, he went to a local hardware to buy materials to make his own strap. The resulting creation allowed his camera to hang upside-down at his side and glide into place easily when he was ready to shoot. It also minimised strain on his back and shoulder, which got him thinking: Could I make a business out of this?

Shortly after, Henry launched his Seattle start-up, BlackRapid, with just $5,000 borrowed from Kurt Peterson, a long-time friend and entrepreneur. He tapped a nearby manufacturer to source materials and produce a first run of 80 straps. With the rest of his start-up funds, he set up a website for taking orders that also included a demo video produced by a friend for free. He also bought a banner ad on Digital Wedding Forum, an online community for wedding and portrait photographers. On January 1, 2008, BlackRapid made its first sale.

…to read this article in full, visit leading US small business resource, Inc.

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