When first starting out, you need to find clients quickly, and it’s really important to find good clients. Landing your first client is what separates your “startup idea” from your “startup business”.
Locking down that first client can seem overwhelming at first, but here are a few tips on where and how to narrow in and land your first client that will hopefully get the ball rolling for your new startup.
Know Your Marketplace
First you need to determine what kind of market you intend to tap into. This depends on what your product or service is. Who is your competition? Who are the buyers looking for your services? Based on what you can discover, make a list of anyone you can think of that can take advantage of your particular services.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty here. Contact these people who you feel you can help most with your services or products and find out why they will or why they won’t work with you. This sounds painful, but finding out as early as possible what makes you a viable option or why you aren’t is key to establishing your place as a successful startup.
Hunt for Any and All Potential Leads
Finding out who can be a potential lead is crucial, and leaving no stone unturned is really the only way to get your newborn startup off the ground.
In terms of uncovering potential leads, start by making a list of every business owner you can think of that you can possibly do business with. Once you have that list, make a list of ways that you have connections with these business owners. Any way you can think of to get your foot into the front door with them is enough to make a difference.
Do Your Homework on the Competition
This point is very similar to our first tip about knowing your marketplace. Chances are that your startup is entering a marketplace with competition, which may lead to anxiety at first, but really is a great thing for you as the new kid on the block: you have a model to study. Find out what kind of clients they work with, and even reach out to the competition to see if there is some way that you two can partner up. Running alongside them will be a lot more productive than it will be to take them head on.
Make a presence in community and grow outwards. By making yourself synonymous with the community, the neighborhood will already have you and your startup in mind when the need comes up to take advantage of your services. Support what the community supports, make appearances in public forums, and become an active part of your community.
However, beware the mindset of being active in your community just for the sake of making clients out of everybody. You may think you are fooling them, but if you are simply using the community for business purposes, it can very easily backfire.
Landing that first client doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it’s just knowing who you can help and where to find them.