If you don’t have paying customers you don’t have a business. Whether you are providing a service or selling a product, you must have customers. After all, the primary purpose of any business is making money, right? Many entrepreneurs do a lot of planning and learning to get started. They spend thousands of dollars on coaches or consultants but they never move to the next level and actually find a paying client. Landing clients for your business can seem daunting. It will take time and a lot of hard work on your part. These five tips will help you achieve your goal of being the owner of a thriving business.
The first step is to create a professional online profile. It all starts with your professional profile that you will use on all your social media accounts, especially linkedin.com and on your website. It will show what you have done, and what you can do in clear bulleted points. Ensure that your profile on all your social media accounts is accurate, professional and complete. Don’t forget a professional headshot. No being anonymous on the internet if you want to be taken seriously. You can find guidance on creating your profile on my blog.
You should also create a professional website. In 2015 it is vital for every business to have a presence on the web. A website is no longer a “nice to have tool” it is a must have. You need to build a professional website that showcases what you’ve done and what you’re doing. Unless you are a marketing professional and a technical whizz, I highly recommend you outsource the creation of your website. I have seen too many new entrepreneurs crash and burn because they had a site that was not optimized or was just unprofessional. This is not the place to cut corners in your business. If you don’t know where to start, email me and I can provide recommendations.
Ask for testimonials and recommendations. Even if your business is new, you can ask people you have worked for previously (as an employee) to provide testimonials and recommendations for you. If you don’t ask, you won’t get them. Make it a habit to ask every person you know for a recommendation. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done actual paying work for them, perhaps you’ve assisted on a project in school, or gave them some advice that worked, or volunteered with a particular group… ask them to give you a testimonial and a recommendation.
Don’t forget to ask for referrals. Ask your friends and people that you know for referrals to others who may need the work done that you have to offer. You can encourage them to help you find clients by offering a discount on work they might need or even free time in exchange for a paying client referral. Eventually, your professional business will run mostly on word-of-mouth so it’s important to always ask for referrals. Currently 90% of my new business comes from recommendations from current and past clients.
Promote what you have. Once you have a website, social media accounts, and testimonials be sure to actually promote your website via blog posts that you share with people on your social media accounts. Participate in online events where you can talk about your expertise. Be part of your community and you will find that soon enough you’ll have more business than you know what to do with.
It’s important to become your own best first client. If you have a professional online presence, and ensure that everyone you come into contact with online and offline knows about your business and that you’re accepting new clients, you’ll go far in starting to fill that client list and soon it will be bursting at the seams.