Three simple steps to getting your first 10 clients

When you start a new business, you need to find someone to buy from you, often pronto. Finding these clients can be hard. You might not have a great idea of your target market. You might not have a great deal of money to spend advertising, and even if you did, you’re probably not sure if that’s the best way to reach your first clients. You might not even know what’s the right message to be sending them.

Here are some incredibly valuable tips on how to go about reaching your first 10 clients.

1. Uncover Your Niche.

Your niche is the intersection of who you are trying to help, the problem that they have, and the solution that you provide for that problem.

Let’s say you’re a stylist, you don’t want to say that you help women choose a new style for themselves. You’ll find some people are interested, but you’ll need to talk to a lot of people, and because you’re a generalist, they won’t pay specialist fees. Instead, you might want to consider working with women executives who want a promotion. They know that they need to dress for the next level. They’re willing to invest in this service. But they are often too busy to go through the shops and browse (especially if they have kids!). A good sense-check for your niche is to ask if it is marketable, is it lucrative and do you like working with these people?

2. Talk To Your Niche.

Until you have built up a brand that is large enough to be found, your business marketing is you.

Network – Once you’ve figured out who’s in your niche, go and find them. Networking is not about swapping cards and wondering why they haven’t called. Networking is about finding those people who are interested in what you do, and asking if it makes sense for you to call them the next day to make a time to properly connect.

Start speaking – Speaking is a great way to gain celebrity and credibility. If you are in front of an audience, you are immediately the person who others look up to. Learn how to invite members of the audience to connect with you for further work.

Find referral partners – If you are an events photographer, then you want to start to create great professional relationships with wedding planners, corporate events planners, council festival planners and hotels with function rooms. Call some people in your area, introduce yourself, and see if you can make a time to share information about each other.

Start writing – Depending on your field, writing is a great way to get known. If you’re a financial planner or a mortgage broker, your potential clients (in almost any niche), are going to be looking online for more information, such as tips and tricks, the secrets that banks don’t share etc. You can write on your own blog, but on-line magazines and other blog are even better for getting brand new traffic.

Ask for referrals. If you’ve had even one client, then don’t forget to ask if they know anyone who they can refer to you. And you may even decide to take a couple of pro-bono clients in the first month to hone your systems and generate referrals that way.

Social media – LinkedIn is great for professional clients. Facebook is good for consumer products and services like restaurants. Pinterest is great for design and fashion. SlideShare is good for consultants. Adwords is good for services that people search for online. Invest in learning how to use these effectively, because it is easy to waste a lot of time and/or money, and don’t expect to get your first client from here in the first week.

• Obviously, you can also ask your friends, neighbours and family. If you’ve started your business as an income-producing activity, don’t expect that they will expect to pay full price.

3. Stay in touch.

Almost any business has the potential to generate life-time sales from their clients. The problems that need to be solved once, often need to be solved again. And there are always creative ways to bundle your products and services to solve additional problems for your clients.

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Abbie Widin
Abbie’s coaching business, One Extra Zero, helps women business owners make more money with their business, through in-depth work on their marketing, time and team