Shoestring Marketing: Growing your Business on a (Small) Budget

Each Athena Executive Club meeting includes Business Development Training. These short sessions are designed to share useful tips, facts and ideas covering a wide range of issues relevant to executives and entrepreneurs. Athena Executive Members come from a diverse range of backgrounds with an immense wealth of knowledge and experience which we all benefit from during these member-led training sessions.

In the first Athena Executive Meeting of 2013, Moonlake Lee of Specialist Dental Group gave us some insight into how we can raise the profile of our business without spending a fortune.

How do you differentiate your company?

  • What is the competitive landscape like? (e.g. there are over 600 dental clinics in Singapore so Moonlake works hard to reinforce her clinic’s USP)
  • Focus on your key message and ensure your branding follows this – knowing your brand means you can be consistent (it takes several times to get the same message across to your market so be persistent)
  • 3rd party endorsements – other people always sell you better than you ever could market yourself
  • Awards / accolades – they highlight your expertise and skills and bring credibility to your marketing message.  Specialist Dental Group recently won an award for Best Healthcare Experience at the Singapore Experience Awards 2012, organised by the Singapore Tourism Board – this was a good move considering 50% of their patients travel from other countries for their dental treatment. Read more about the award here.


  • Networking is a time and cost effective method to build relationships with a variety of people who can help to support your business in a number of ways
  • Find the synergies with people to reach a win-win outcome for all
  • Adopt a turnkey attitude – be easy to work with and good to be around!
  • Evaluate the results and focus on the most successful areas
  • Maintain key relationships

Leverage the Media

  • Create a media list and keep it updated
  • Develop story ideas which will appeal to your target audience
  • Meet deadlines – if you need more time, just ask
  • Ask for a fact check before anything goes to print – even minor errors can damage your business
  • Stay in touch with contacts – don’t just email them when you want something

Online Presence

  • A website is a must have – a blog is great too if you can maintain it. It differentiates you from your competitors and shows the personality of your company (it is also great for SEO – Search Engine Optimization)
  • SEO / SEM – cost is involved but you can adapt and test until you reach the results you want – this can often be a fantastic return on your investment
  • Online listings – e.g. Hot Frog and other online directories. Leaving blog comments on other relevant sites with links back to your own is another method of driving traffic to your own website
  • Press releases – look for free business listings where you can often upload your press release for free

Government Grants

  • Singapore is a very supportive country for new and small businesses so research what you might be entitled to – some funding is often available for customer service, branding, productivity and innovation


  • A cost effective way to carry out marketing activities – interns are very keen for the experience and often bring fresh perspectives to your branding

Read more about how Specialist Dental Group keep people smiling in our recent interview with Moonlake. Read full post.

About Moonlake

Moonlake Lee

Moonlake Lee is the Director of Business Affairs at Specialist Dental Group, an award-winning dental practice at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore. She is responsible for Marketing and Communications activities, Business Affairs, Branding, Strategic Planning, Human Resources and other non-clinical matters. Prior to joining Specialist Dental Group, Moonlake was the Chief Executive Officer of eMenders, a group of more than 50 leading medical and dental specialists based at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

Moonlake graduated from Rutgers University, USA with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Journalism and Mass Media. She completed the Joint MBA/JD and a Masters of Law in e-Business at York University, Canada. Formerly a corporate lawyer in Toronto, Moonlake relocated to Singapore in 2004 and has been in the healthcare industry for over 8 years.

Connect with Moonlake online and via LinkedIn

The Athena Network, Singapore

Asia-Pacific’s Leading Business Community for Female Executives and Entrepreneurs Focusing exclusively on female executives and entrepreneurs, The Athena Network provides a platform for members to share knowledge and experience across a diverse range of industry sectors, and to collaborate for mutual success.

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