Starting a business is one thing. But growing a business is something else – it’s a process stretched in time. Unfortunately, some people get super-impatient and highly discouraged when they don’t see results right away.
The fact is that before you become highly popular and recognizable you will have to attract your clients. Once you’re famous they will be drawn to you like moths to a brand-spanking-new light bulb. But before that happens – you will have to work for it. In other words: ACTIVELY LOOK FOR CLIENTS!
Think about it this way – when you want to have a beautiful plant first you need to plant a seed, then water it, nurture it and slowly but surely it will grow. Same with your business. To assure its constant growth you need to switch on the get-up-and-go attitude. There is way around it.
And if it sounds like an obscure idea here are a couple of suggestions where to start; where you can ‘plant your seed’:
1. Family and friends – well, yes, of course. Are you surprised? They should be your most faithful fans and cheerleaders. While we’re not trying to say that you should be pushing your services onto every person you know, it’s absolutely fine to say ‘Hey, I’m launching a new product helping with XYZ problem. If you know anyone who needs support in that area just let them know.’ Simple and non-intrusive.
2. Networking – if you live in a small town there surely is a bigger city nearby where such gatherings take place. They may differ when it comes to the size or subject but regardless they’re a great chance to meet new people. And essentially that’s what it’s all about. Just exchanging information – I do this and what do you do. Who knows what such innocent meeting may turn into…
3. Social media – with zillions of people using social media platforms daily your possibilities there are almost endless. The most common practice it through groups dedicated to your area of expertise. The scenario is usually very similar – some of the participants are people offering services similar to yours and the others are the ones looking for them. The latter should be your target when you want to take new clients on board. But keep your eyes open for interesting forms of cooperation with the former.
4. Webinars – or online trainings in general. But not as a viewer, as an organiser! For those who haven’t met you or have never worked with you before it’s an opportunity to taste what it’s like (and it’s free!!!). Make sure that you’re well prepared. The Internet forgets quickly… but why take chances, right? You should sound confident, professional and engaging. Give them a little preview of what you’re really good at and leave them hungry for more.
5. Events – similar to webinars you let people get to know you better. Only this time face-to-face. In this instance it’s a bit more tricky because you need to arrange a sitting area, but it’s not something to be scared of. The form of the meeting is entirely up to you. You can deliver a motivational speech, prepare a presentation, or answer some of the most burning questions in your field. The atmosphere is crucial. It should be friendly, inspirational and fun.
6. Google – this is where the magic happens :) Let Google know that you’re a business. It’s super-simple and you can do it here.
7. Crowdfunding – it’s not the easiest way but also worth giving a go. According to the rule – be seen and be heard. Bare in mind that you’re about to ask complete strangers to give you money. Make the deal sweet for them too – a sample of your product, a chance to buy the product cheaper, other freebies etc. You’re gonna have to stand out from the crowd more than ever. There are thousands of businesses trying their luck with such initiatives. Just tell an engaging story. Be inspirational, be driven, be real.
8. Newsletter – if you’ve managed to create (even a small) database (aka THE LIST) that’s brilliant. That means you already have people around you who are interested in what you do and what you have to offer. What now? Make sure that your list is properly taken care of, pampered and content. Give them constant value. You don’t want to be a spammer but also don’t let people forget why they signed up in the first place. Always inform them what’s happening with you and every now and then surprise them with a special offer.
9. Recommendations – when you work with a client no doubt you’re gonna give 100% to leave the person really happy with your service. And you know what – happy clients are prone to talk about the good experience or memorable impression. Condition? Ask them to do so.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are absolutely priceless when it comes to growing your reach.
10. Cross-selling – the relationship you have with your clients shouldn’t be a ‘one night stand’. The nice thing is that it works both ways – it easier for you to cooperate with clients you already know and for them it’s also more convenient to work with someone who’s already proven their skills. Every time you launch a new product or start a new initiative inform the ones who have already crossed their business paths with you. You may just hit home.