Starting your business can be a daunting process and you find yourself in unchartered waters. What do you need do to become a registered business? How will you invoice your clients? And then how do you find those clients to begin with?
I’m coming up for my 3 year Business Anniversary this November and it has been a wonderful journey but I didn’t start getting leads until about a month of advertising and trying to get my name out there. Let me tell you it won’t happen right away it may take several months but it will happen.
My first client I signed up a month after launching my business and he found my advertisement through Gumtree. Never under estimate the power of free advertising on sites like Gumtree, True Local, Hot Frog, Locanto and other free sites. Doing a Google search and typing ‘free advertising sites’ in is a great place to start. Also when you place your advertisement on these sites I found that you increase your chances of being found in a Google search too providing you use the right keywords.
Now it took a further 4 months to get my second client. In the space of that 4 months I thought I was doing everything possible however it wasn’t until I launched my website that I got my second client. It wasn’t by simply launching my website that I got this lead it was the name of my business and the keywords used for my SEO that enabled me to be one of the listings on the first page when he did a Google search. Two and a half years later and I am still working with this client.
Your website doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg or even be professionally built (however if you can afford it great go for it!), but just having an online presence by way of a website will help you build trust with your customers. They can see who you are and what you do. When you think about it anyone can open a Facebook page and say they are running a business but by adding a website to the mix you are showing them you are the real deal.
Fast Forward to the present and I have found that networking is the best tool for growing your business. Join your local chamber of commerce, mine is the Wanneroo Business Association attend networking events and coffee catch ups get to know the local businesses in your area. They may not have a need for your services now but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future and by getting to know them you are always at the forefront of their mind. Another networking platform to look at is Meetup.com on here you can find heaps of local networking events that you can attend.
If you don’t know the power of social media then you need to get started. With so many people using smart phones, tablets and computers you need to be on social media. You don’t need to sign up for every platform just the ones you know will work for you. Personally I would recommend Facebook and LinkedIn for any small business as they are both great online networking platforms.
Within Facebook you have the power to promote and educate your followers by posting content to your Business Facebook page. Try to follow the 80/20 rule which is 80% valuable content that your followers would want to see against 20% self promotion.
Join some of the Business community groups and promote your business to the local market however like your facebook page choose the optimal times to post. That being when people wake up early morning, lunch time, dinner time and when people are usually sitting on the couch relaxing. For an indication check your Facebook Page insights and see when your followers are most online.
Both networking groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are valuable as you can share you blog posts, tips and tricks and allow people to get to know you online. If they can see that you are adding value to the groups and get to know you and your work ethic you are half way there.
I’m hoping by sharing my experience that other start ups can get some valuable information from here to help them promote, educate and grow their customers.