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So you’re thinking of striking out on your own, congratulations! Now you need to land your first few clients. At CoCreativ, we see entrepreneurs at every stage and the road to your first 100K is different for everyone (one of our founders failed 3 times before our successful start up). We’ve learned a lot of lessons about getting your first client. These tips are good for all types of small business owners to get your first clients and the next few too.
Talk to everyone you know
Ask your friends and colleagues “What are three things you think I’m best at?” And ask them “If you were in the need for a local coworking office (or what your product/service is), how would you find it?”
This will help you to guide where you should focus your time to find prospective clients and help you be very clear about your strengths as a value proposition to close the deal! You can use a short anonymous survey via Google Forms to get this information, and not put friends and family on the spot. Plus, keeping it anonymous may encourage people to be more honest about the feedback.
Network to get involved in the community
People will not magically know that you exist. You have to put yourself out there! Attend networking events to help find connections—not clients. These connectors may or may not turn out to be a client, but they can help introduce you to potential clients, which is key when you’re first starting out!
We recommend checking Meetup.com to find events in Tampa Bay. Plus, our cowork office space hosts networking events too!
Don’t be sucked into the marketing you don’t need…yet.
It’s easy to get excited about the fun parts of business like marketing campaigns and creating your business blog — but the truth is, none of that really matters when you’re just starting out. You don’t need a full scale website or SEO yet so don’t spend your valuable time there. All you need is a nice landing page, an email address, and a Facebook business page and the last one is only if your potential clients are on that social platform.
Focus on the client and conversations you’re having with prospects and it will help to form these higher level tactics later on once you have a base of people who will pay for your services.
Collaborate with your competitors
Yes, you read that right. When you’re trying to land your first clients your competition can be a great way to find them.
Think about it; maybe they had a client that they no longer work with, a prospect that wasn’t a fit for their company, or maybe it’s a project that they can do but they don’t love that type of work. Your competition could refer you in as an option and it’s a win-win for you both. You get new business and they show that they are looking out for the client’s best interest.
Remember: when you’re trying to get your first clients, you never know who may have a referral for you!
Use one client to get the next
Delivered results (of course you did)…then leverage one client to get another! Referrals are a quick way to get your first few clients. The best way to ask for a referral is right after you’ve delivered something of high-value to your first client. Asking for referrals is much easier when you know that your client will want to tell others about your awesome work.
It doesn’t need to be complex either. Say something to the effect of:
I’m glad you enjoyed my work! If you know of anyone else who’s looking for my services, I’d be grateful if you passed my information along to them.
So there you have it. Your first few clients set the tone of your business and where you’ll scale. Work hard to land that first client, but also make sure that you’re thinking long-term. You have to create a foundation that will secure your future as a small business owner.
If you're an entrepreneur who is hustling to make your first $100,000 or want to hear encouraging stories, best practices, and more business "hacks" then make sure to listen to our free Business Podcast! Of course, you’re always welcome to join the community at our collaborative coworking office spaces in Downtown and South Tampa. We’re here to help your business win!
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