Congratulations on starting your own business! Most people dream of owning a business, but very few people will take the necessary steps to do so. Starting up your solopreneur LLC puts you in a great position to make your dreams a reality. So where do you go from here? You need to figure out how to get more clients.
You need clients, but don’t get ahead of yourself
How do you go about finding your first client? Actually, it might not be as hard as you think. Assuming you have already done your homework prior to starting your LLC, you should already know what your client is looking for, how much they are willing to pay, and how you differentiate yourself from all the other competitors in the space. If you don’t know these things already, stop reading and figure them out before proceeding. We don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse. Get everything lined up and we’ll be here waiting. For those of you who already have this information figured out and understood, proceed to finding your first client.
Who is my customer and where do I find them?
What group of people and demographic would be looking to purchase your product or service? Where do these individuals get together with other likeminded individuals? Find a website or forum where your potential customers interact and start engaging with them. Tell them about your new business and what you have to offer. This is a great way to start networking immediately and getting your name out there. Explain to them what makes you unique, and tell your story. Make them feel comfortable by your presence in the space and answer any and all questions that come your way. Create an inviting atmosphere and ask them to check out your website and stay up to date with your social media platforms. If you are a product-based business, take high quality photos of your products and post them on your website and social media platforms to create inviting visuals of what you have to offer. Dark or blurry photos will turn away potential customers. Invest in a good camera and studio-style backdrop for your photos and take them yourself, or hire a professional to take the still images for you. This is an area of your business that you do not want to skimp on as it can truly make or break your overall success in selling your product.
Social media is one of the best ways to build your business. Before social media, companies would spend thousands of millions of dollars on marketing and advertising campaigns in hope that it pulls in new customers to their business and drums up some sales. Today, we have social media where if you play your cards right, you don’t need to spend hardly any money at all to grow your audience and business.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the other platforms have their own niche in each industry. Figure out what platform your audience and customers are using the most and utilize them to the fullest. Create an engaging page that has links to your website, explains your business in terms of what services you provide or products you sell, and make sure you have a call to action button somewhere. This can be something as simple as a “contact me” button, a “buy now” button, or a “learn more” button. A service based business will generally use a the “contact me” or “learn more” button while a business that sells a product should definitely use a “buy now” button or a “learn more” button that takes the prospective customer over to the product page of your website.
You’ll also want to engage with your customers. Look at your competitors on social media start interacting with their followers. Talk about services and brands and give out helpful information. This will stir their curiosity and hopefully drive them over to your page. If they have a way to directly message an individual on the platform, consider introducing yourself and explain that you noticed they were engaging with a certain brand on the platform and you wanted to reach out and introduce yourself and explain your business. Tell them you would love an opportunity to earn their business and see what you get back as a response.
The problem with many startup businesses is that many people don’t like the prospecting end of the business. They don’t feel they are comfortable cold calling, cold emailing, etc. In order to grow your business, you’re going to need to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll also find that by doing this, not only will your business grow, but so will you as an individual.
Local networking groups
A great local business networking group is the chamber of commerce—or any other small business group. These organizations are a great way to get together with other business owners and get yourself and your business exposed in front of people who could ultimately help you grow your business through their contacts or even be a customer/client themselves. At such an event, make sure you have plenty of business cards on you as that will be your way of networking with so many people at once. I think it should go without saying as well, please dress the part. You are engaging with other successful business owners and if you want to be taken seriously, wear the appropriate attire for the occasion. Business or business casual will work for these events.
I also recommend carrying a pen with you. After speaking with an individual and exchanging business cards, take a few seconds afterward to jot down on the back of the business card your conversation with that particular individual. This will help refresh your memory when you get back in the office and unload all the business cards you collected. You’d be amazing how fantastic people feel after leaving a networking event where they collected a good amount of business cards, just to start looking at them the following day and realizing they can’t remember who was who anymore or even what specifically they spoke about before exchanging business cards. So, take the time to write a note on the back of each card you collect. You’ll thank me later.
Marketing and advertising campaigns
If you have some funds available to push your business from the start in terms of marketing and advertising, it becomes a great avenue to get many eyeballs on your business immediately. However, this comes with an expense—which might be more than you were looking to spend. Facebook and other social media platforms also allow you to promote or boost posts. For instance, if you have a post that showcases one of your products, you can boost that post and get it in front of more eyeballs than you would with only using the followers on your platform.
If you go the route of social media ads such as Facebook ads, try to specifically target your audience. You don’t want to blast out an ad that will go in front of people who have zero interest in your business. Choose your demographics carefully and be sure to analyze all the data you get from your campaigns so you know how successful they were. If the ad performed well, consider doing it again or fine tuning a little. If the ad performed horribly, then you need to go back to the drawing board and fine-tune your demographics and who you want to see your ads.
The advertising/marketing game on social media can have you pulling your hair out if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. Rather than throwing money into campaigns, consider hiring someone who is a professional in that area and work with them to create a campaign for your business. It involves some funding to do so rather than giving it a go yourself, but if you want the biggest bang for your buck, it’s worth it in my opinion. Once you get good at running ads and campaigns, you might be able to take back your advertising and do it yourself—unless business explodes and you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of doing it, then allow the marketing group you’re working with to keep pushing on their end within your financial parameters.
How to get more clients through a handshake
Finding clients doesn’t have to be as difficult as many people make it out to be. Sometimes we take for granted what a simple handshake means and represents. Don’t be afraid to go out there and network and prospect on your own. Go into businesses and shake hands and introduce yourself to key members. Network with them or ask them for the sale if you go in with a pitch. Getting your hands dirty shows you’re willing to do what it takes to get your start up business off the ground.
Utilize the methods found in this article to get that first client you need to get your business started. Getting that first client might be just what you need to give you the confidence you were looking for in your decision to start your own business. Seeing revenue flowing into your company is an amazing feeling. And by using the methods above, I’m confident that in no time you will be growing and expanding your business. Good luck!
If you need help growing and managing your LLC, Incfile has a great staff that can help make sure you’re heading in the right direction. They can manage company changes, compliance, IRS filings, and many other key pieces of your business. Take advantage of their experience and allow them to help take your business to the next level.