Getting your first business client
The first half of the battle is to quit your corporate job and launch your dream startup. The second part of the battle is finding people who will actually use your product and service.
When I founded my business I was like many entrepreneurs, optimistic about the potential of my company. I believed that clients would magically appear if I created a great product. Let’s just say that this did not happen. I had no idea about marketing and sales, so I hired full-time employees. Many of these I ended up firing.
I have had many opportunities to “start over” since then, with my latest ventures like shap shap and the cans. My journey has taught me many lessons about landing a client. These are some tips to help you land your first client.
Equip yourself with Knowledge.
Knowing your market is the first step to attracting clients. Make sure you do your research to find out what industry clients want in terms of products and services. It doesn’t matter how skilled a salesperson is if you don’t offer the right product you wont get repeat purchases and your business wont grow.
You should thoroughly evaluate the competition and see what you could offer that would fill a niche or beat your competitors. Accept the possibility that your product or service is not good enough or needs to be improved. Continue to learn and put your efforts into satisfying the needs of your clients, deep research is the key.
Do some Networking.
It is hard not to overstate the power of networking. It is why I make it a priority and use it to keep growing my business each year.
The world does not care weather you are scared or introverted. It only reward those of action and yes you’re right its scary. but its also important to meet people and get out in public. It’s part of the business, and if you plan on succeeding, it’s necessary to do it.
You don’t have to rely on meetups or physical networking groups. However, another option is to connect online. But you need to be more deliberate about it when speaking to people. Reach out to others in your field and keep in touch with them.
There are many virtual meetups that you can participate in.
This is possible by visiting Eventbrite or Meetup.com and searching for events in your local area. Google can be used to search for “business events this Saturday” and pulls from many places. Pretty cool huh?
Other than reaching out to people by phone,email or social media you should also update your online profiles, particularly LinkedIn. This is how I gained a client and I am certain it has had an effect on all the clients I have received since then.
It’s important to reach the magic 500+ connections level. Having some recommendations on your profile will also help. If someone looks at your profile and sees 13 connections, it could be an indicator that you are not great at communicating or haven’t had any clients as connections.
You can even add me to your list!
Reach out using email or phone calls “Cold Outreach”
Cold outreach can be a great way to find potential clients if you are passionate about helping specific types of clients.
Google or any other search engine will allow you to look for your target business in your local area. make sure to reach out to all of them on the first page then go to page 2, and let them know how you can help with your product or service.
This can be a great way for potential clients to get to know you.
Many small business owners are open to a chat, if not for anything else.
It can be beneficial to reach out to other people in the same niche to get referrals and to drive business to one another.
A real estate agent might partner with a local coffee house. They meet with clients and leave business cards for them to hand out.
A web designer might partner with a marketing agency, even if they don’t create websites. They can send them marketing clients and the agency can send the designer clients.
Be creative! This is a great way for small business owners to get more clients.
Another reason to join Facebook Groups and attend networking events is
It’s great to work with freelancers, especially those who are more experienced or have a larger client base. You have two options to get this work done:
1. You can offer to subcontract to them if they are overwhelmed with work or need to outsource certain tasks.
2. You can partner with a complementary service provider to provide a wider range services than you could do by yourself.
A copywriter and designer might team up with a marketer to create an all-in-one sales pages.
Whatever route you choose, both of you will get work. You’re using two people’s networks. The client receives an amazing product. It’s win-win.
These are just some of the ways you can quickly get clients. You’ll soon have clients if you implement a few of the strategies each week.
Do some PR
Register for Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a service that connects journalists with sources. Each day you’ll receive emails letting you know what sources journalists are searching for. You might be able to get your company and yourself published if you respond to something. You can also contact journalists directly to offer your support and suggest ideas for articles you could help with.
offer some free gigs
This one is probably the most controversial on this list, as people have many opinions about working for no pay.
Was it really the “free” word I put in there? Heck Yea.
If you don’t have any clients or experience and you don’t know how to get clients, reach out to someone that does and offer to do some work for them in return for a testimonial.
They don’t have to run a complete marketing campaign. However, you can help them create a landing page or perform other tasks.
You can work for nothing!
A. You can build trust with them, and they might be willing to pay you for the whole thing.
B. You get experience. When it comes to working for yourself, that is the best thing.
You will most likely get a no, but there will be times when you need to convince people that they are willing to work for free.
Bonus points If you can find a client with a decent following and their testimonial/reference, it will really help you to get future gigs.
Ask For referrals
People won’t send you referrals if they don’t know that you are looking for additional work.
These are some suggestions for people you should reach out to to get started.
• Families and friends
• If you are sure that this will not affect your job, co-workers
• If you have clients, current clients
• If you have worked with past clients, if they are happy with your work they will not hesitate to recommend you to another member of their network.
• Local [XYZ] person that knows many people who may need your assistance
• Members of the local networking community
Humans want to see others succeed. It’s amazing how many people will support you and help you find clients, it’s surprising.
If you feel comfortable, tell them that you would be willing to pay them a referral commission for their help. You can pay them a fixed rate or percentage commission of your first month’s bills once they are paid. Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Money is a great way for people to help you.
Do public Talks.
Many chambers of commerce like to have speakers who can offer new information for their members. These organizations often need speakers and it is easy to get in touch with them and offer to share your knowledge.
Co working spaces are good
If you’re working at an office or at home, it’s likely to be harder to make friends and locate prospective clients.
Many co-working spaces give free day passes, as well as some even offer 2 weeks or more are free. You can take advantage of these deals and look them up. Co-working is a great opportunity to meet people who might know someone who could benefit from your services. You could also eventually become a client later on.
The good aspect of co-working is that they’re usually overwhelmed by consultants and web designers, writers developers, marketers, and agencies. This isn’t a bad thing.
It’s a great idea to establish a client referral partnership with someone else who isn’t offering the same services.
In addition, you’ll be able the chance to get advice from fellow freelancers on how they manage their businesses.
They usually also offer complimentary coffee and even free craft beverages and food. If you go to a place for a few hours and you don’t speak to anyone other than yourself, then your setting yourself up for failure be open and talk to people!
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How has your experience been so far?