Launching your own business is a major undertaking. Once you have a viable product, you need revenue from paying customers. Without a clear path to profitability, your startup will not survive.
Follow this step by step guide to finding new clients for your startup as soon as you have a marketable product or service to sell.
Be Willing to Work Hard
Before you have a large client list, you need to devote time to prospecting. Given everything else entrepreneurs need to do to keep their early-stage businesses afloat, this is likely to lengthen your workday.
Wear Multiple Hats
As an early-stage entrepreneur, you do not have the luxury of specializing. You need to fill multiple roles, including ones with which you are not particularly comfortable.
Miami entrepreneur George Otte founded his first business, an onsite computer repair and technical support service, at the age of 21. Initially, he was its only employee. By necessity, he was therefore in charge of prospecting for new clients.
Otte always had very clear that quality customer service would expand his portfolio. Within three years, Otte had more than 100 clients. His experience is proof that entrepreneurs can expand beyond their comfort zones — for instance, into business development.
Get Used to Hearing “No”
Your idea might be truly groundbreaking, but not every prospective client with whom you speak will think so. Some simply won’t be willing to take a risk on an unproven startup. For your own well-being, and your company’s, get used to hearing “no.”
Create a Top-Notch Web Presence
Step beyond door-knocking and create a first-rate web presence that clearly advertises your services, references, and differentiators. An optimized, well-maintained website and social media operation is the cornerstone of a successful inbound marketing campaign — an essential component of any startup’s business development efforts.
Pay Attention to Your Competitors’ Moves
Writing in HubSpot’s blog, digital marketing expert Marc Herschberger advises business owners and marketers to pay close attention to their competitors’ business development efforts.
“The more you know about your competitors, what they’re doing and what they’re finding success with, the more information you will have to create a more advanced and successful campaign of your own,” he says.
It’s especially important to watch larger and more established competitors, since they’ve had more time to experiment with different marketing and business development strategies.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Launching a new business from the ground up is a marathon, not a sprint. No matter how broad your network is, developing a robust client list takes time and effort. It won’t happen overnight, nor will it progress in perfectly linear fashion. You will face setbacks; it’s your response to those temporary failures that will make or break your enterprise. The harder you work, the greater your chances of success — and the higher the likelihood that you’ll one day be able to step back from day-to-day prospecting and allow others to fill your shoes.