How to Get the First Client for Your Business

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Starting a new business is not easy, no matter what people may want you to believe. And the worst part can actually be the first steps, those awkward days of gaining your first client and earning that hallowed first invoice. The thing is, your first customer is your most important customer in a way, because once you have one, you can reference them to other prospective customers you are talking to. Here are tips for how to get the first client for your business:


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Create Your Own Website

A website is a serious commodity in the modern world. Especially when it comes to business, as without one you automatically put yourself behind your competitors and potentially cut out a whole stream of your prospects. Giving you and your new business a visual, online, platform is almost entirely necessary. All of your competitors will - more than likely - have a website, so don't put your new business on the line by not having one. 

A website can perform a number of functions. It can be a site to showcase the work of your business (such as with case studies or in the blog), a point of contact and ultimately ensure that you put your ‘best foot forward’ when it comes to gaining clients online. Or making sales if you are launching an e-commerce business.

Having an online presence is vital if you want to be a business that is taken seriously. After all, it's one of the first trust factors that consumers look for in the digital age. Don’t forego this step!


Recommended reading: How to Plan a Website for Your Startup


Don’t Be Afraid to Network

The power of networking is vital, especially when you are just starting out. Don’t underestimate people and what they can do for you and your budding business in its first days. The people you know can influence your growing business in a number of ways.

They can refer people, become clients themselves and even give you invaluable advice. Which, though it may seem small at the time, can actually be a big deal for a business trying to find its feet. The advice you take can make or break your business - so, be sure it's the right kind by networking with the right people. 

Networking can come in many forms, but likely you will be doing this primarily either in person or via the internet (LinkedIn). Either way, don't be afraid to put yourself out there! 


Recommended reading: How To Make a Great Impression at a Networking Event


Learn How to Follow Up

Warm, cold or whatever lead you to have; they will all turn out to be antarctic if you fail to follow up.

Following up on your leads is a special talent in the modern world. Or, well, learning to do so without annoying your leads is at least. Being a pestering startup is awful and can make you more enemies rather than clients, therefore, you should avoid that as much as possible. It's no good starting a business, only to find yourself on most people's blacklist for nuisance sales calls. 

Simple follow up methods - that aren't annoying - include:

  • Send a thank you email - this isn’t a reminder or an attempt to pester. Be genuine!
  • Check in after a while, again don’t pester! Make sure it has been a week or more before you do so.
  • Always ensure there is a clearly defined ‘next step’ to the end of your conversations - this means people expect to hear from you.
  • Don’t be afraid to upsell or re-sell to past connections as well, especially if you want to further your freelancing efforts! (This is slightly more advanced beyond your first client, but good to know nevertheless). 
  • If they’re not interested, then ask for referrals. It’s a long shot but it could and does work when dealing with the right people.

Keep a Fresh Social Media Presence

Social media can be a true goldmine when it comes to starting out on your startup journey. So, don’t discount it because other people consider it ‘overused’ or ‘dead’. It can actually still be one of the most effective ways for you to gain a new client in 2019. Why? Because people are constantly on or using social media, which means putting yourself in front of them is never easier than when using platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Of course, not all platforms are relevant to your needs. Your ideal consumer may be more of a Pinterest person than a Twitter one or LinkedIn, etc., etc. So, you will need to do your consumer research. Know where to look for your customers and clients, then go after them via some great social media posts. It is as simple and as difficult as that. 

And remember the art of selling on social media. Don’t ask, ask, ask. Rather, give value as many times as possible and, eventually, then you can ask for something in return.

Try to Find Customers Through People You Know

Your personal network is almost as much of a goldmine as anything else you have available to you. Friends and family may have plenty of connections that need your product or service, so don’t be afraid to ask! 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, creating a startup is not easy - especially when you have yet to net your first client. But, once you achieve that first, grand, step it can feel a whole lot easier. You will be able to take your first calming breath. 

Remember: no two clients will come to you the same. What works for one person will not work for the next, it's a constant game of customisation and reading your audience. Once you have that formula down to an art your startup will start to grow and thrive. One client at a time. 

 

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Tuesday, 16 July 2019
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