Growing a company can be a scary process and it can seem difficult at times to build clients. No matter what line of business you are in, this piece of advice always resonated with me and has proven to be very relevant:
“It is easier to go from 1 penny to 1 pound than it is to go from nothing to 1 penny.”
I also stuck to this mantra that:
“If you offer people free ice cream, they will always eat it. That doesn’t mean they will come back the next day and pay for it”
Many companies initial thought when growing a business is to give away free business and try to get a database of free beta users. However I always feel it is more important to be confident of your product and that it is worth paying for. If you charge people from the start, the feedback is always more honest and relevant and you have a much more appealing business that has gained traction and is making money at the same time.
There are many ways to gain new business in any types of sectors, but these are the 5 principles I have always adhered to:
1 - Write a list of everyone you know personally that may be interested in your product or that may be able to introduce business. A great way to grow is through referrals and building the brands reputation. Regardless if you are physical or online businesses, an early user base of good quality clients that like your product is a great foundation for your growth.
2 - Market yourself. You can gain a huge amount of publicity from very cheap or free techniques. Be active on social media but keep this very precise to a few social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as you can expand to more as you grow. Twitter has many hash tags such as #localhour, where you can publicize your business to all people in that area. If you are an online business, use hash tags to create awareness of your company to a wider audience. You can also create great awareness for your product by guest blogging on sites.
3 - Use online forums and online marketplaces specific to your trade. Examples of these are: Gumtree / vivastreet / craigslist /o-desk / elance / peopleperhour. Many of these are free to use and can gain your very first customers and site traffic.
4 - Ask for business. If you have worked with a client and they are happy, politely ask them if they could refer anyone who may be interested. If you do this right, one new client can lead to a stream of ongoing leads and new business.
5 - Be helpful and approachable. It is amazing how people I have spoken to or helped in the past became the clients of Timely PA. Be open to helping other business, give people advice and share your expertise and experience with people who could benefit from that. People will definitely remember you when they need your service.
You now have the tools to build your business, you are gaining new clients and next week I will be discussing how to create the processes and outsource in order to grow rapidly."
Cheers Patrick. Patrick Collins and Timely Pa can be found on Twitter @timelypa and of course via www.timelypa.com. Also here is our interview with Patrick about Timely Pa.