Starting your own business is a big step to take, especially with all the benefits that employment brings. You have braced yourself, quit your job, and put all your savings into your venture. The planning process has gone well, and you are bursting with excitement. You can’t wait till your business starts operating. But, wait. You have to actually have clients for your business to run. Having dealt with the startup process, suddenly you’re stuck.
Here are fifteen tips to get your first clients through the door.
Word of mouth
A new business needs to be known. Pass the news to everyone you know, and anyone who could be a prospective client. Do not be limited to certain areas. In your meetings, in church gatherings, at the bar with your friends, or to those you meet who seem to be in need of the services you sell - promote yourself everywhere. It doesn’t matter if people get tired of hearing, don’t stop. Ask your friends to talk about your business to other people in their circles. When a business is talked about by lots of people, those who haven’t tried your product will be inclined to give you a try. That may be the opportunity you need to prove yourself.
The digital era is here. It is a good platform for you to advertise, because you can reach a broad circle of like-minded people. You no doubt own a smartphone, laptop, or desktop. If you don’t, there is a cybercafé or library nearby. Get onto your social media accounts, and post information about your business. Describe in words and photos, and be sure to include important information like the business name, address, and phone numbers. You should also open specific social media accounts for your business, and have people follow and get all necessary information from there.
You’ll have friends, family, neighbors, or former business associates you have interacted with, and have their email addresses. Send out an email blast, telling them about your new business. If you have attachments of fliers or photographs, so much the better. Emails give the opportunity to include a lot of information about your business, and are a cheap way to spread the word.
Put your business on the map
Let your business crop up whenever someone is searching through your location. Get a spot in the Yellow Pages or local address books, directories, and search engines like Google. Letting people find you is the first step to getting them through your door.
Always have something tangible to give people you speak to about your business - something they can refer back to, or share with others. A business card, a flyer, newsletter or even a sample of your branded products will do the trick. It is said it is more blessed to give, and your blessings will come back as clients.
Partner with other businesses
Identify businesses that sell non-competing products which can be used to complement yours, and ask them to market your business to their clients. If you sell sandwich spread for example, and you know of a bakery that sells bread, partnering with it could guarantee you business. The people with which you share a target group can be used to sell your products and services.
Do you have a blog, or know someone who does? They could feature an article about your business in their posts, or create links to your website. Write about your new venture too. Post on online websites, answer questions people ask, connect them to your business on different online platforms and leave a link to your website. Consider paying for Ads on Facebook, or using YouTube.
There are numerous platforms where you can advertise a new business. Get in contact with local newspapers, and buy a spot in their dailies. Radio stations and television media groups are great for this too. They help to reach a wider area. While you take advantage of these platforms, make your advertisement interesting, clear, and precise.
Public forums, conferences, or corporate meetings are held, where people gather to showcase different products and services from similar businesses in the market, such as art galleries. Book a spot at such events, and showcase your business. Make your presentation engaging and impressive.
Give your products to friends, family or former colleagues. Let them try it, and give reviews and feedback. Positive reviews give you confidence, and let you speak to prospective clients with the knowledge that other people have already liked your product. Referees may be people you have worked with before. You can use that as a testament for prospective clients on your ability to deliver, as well as proving yourself a hardworking, reliable person.
Make sure you call back anyone that seemed interested in your service or products. Get the contacts of those to whom you provided free samples, call them back or email them to get their reviews formally. When the reviews you get are positive and encouraging, find out why they have not bought your product yet. This is important to know, as it will help you understand your shortcomings and devise your next strategy.
Identify similar businesses
Whatever you decide to start as a business, something similar already exists. It’s important to know your competition. As you brand your products, be deliberate in mentioning the advantage of yours over the rest. Customers have to know it is not just another product in the market. You don’t want people confusing similar products, and rating them the same. There are also those who are keen on details and content, so make the details of your product clear.
As a business owner, you are a problem-solver. So, get into searching for other organizations with problems you can solve. Most large enterprises, or government projects and ministries, advertise when they need certain products and services. When you notice advertisements that need your skills, go ahead and apply. Read newspapers, and check job sites regularly.
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There is a social tendency from the people close to us to want services or products for free. They know you on a personal level, and your business relationship with them is not so serious. Let it be known that this is serious business. Unless you are providing them with product samples for reviews, do not let them sway you to give freebies. Let them be your first clients!
Clients will express their desire to know what more they can get when they purchase your goods. Having an added product to your service can bring you clients quickly. “Buy two, get one free” is a common promotional phrase. Likewise, a chance to enter a draw, or a surprise gift upon purchase. This depends on your target group, as different groups will be excited by different promotion calls.
These tips will not only ensure you get your first client, but also keep more streaming in. Get clients, keep them satisfied, and reach tout o more.
Do you know any tips we have left out? Let us know by leaving a comment below! And do share this article with your friends, and any new business owners you know.