Best Practices for Finding a Client Base
Every business is built on relationships. No matter how much money you bring in, or the number of customers you have, it all boils down to the relationships you have with your customers. If customers like you, know you, and trust you, that will go much farther than any marketing investment you could make. But to do that, you first have to get out there and meet people. So how do you do that? Here are some methods we have found effective:
Know Your Customer
This seems like a “no duh” statement, but it is the cornerstone of your business plan. Pin pointing your target customers is the first step for any new business, but you also need to consider where they are as well, as this will allow you to wisely use your marketing budget to focus on a specific region, rather than blindly casting a wide net.
Consider Where There Are Large Groups of Potential Clients
Remember, networking and relationships are going to be the best way to grow your client base. Some options here would be to join a professional trade association or joining some subscription lists that provide you with access to a pool of potential customers. Trade associations are a great option, as they not only put your name in the same arena as established and trusted businesses, but will allow you to build relationships with fellow business owners in your field and learn from them.
Joining a Business District Association
This is something that we here at DayCreative have found to be very beneficial to growing our business and getting our name out there. Anywhere you have a business district, it’s likely that they’ll have a district association of businesses as well. By joining one, you’ll be able to attend monthly meetings and meet both prospective customers and fellow allies in your business arena, as well as make good use of their databases.
Joining the Chamber of Commerce
This is a cost-effective way to entering into basic networking. Most commerce meetings are focused around networking and letting business owners and hopeful start-ups engage with one another and form relationships. You’ll also be able to attend various luncheons and ribbon cuttings, allowing you face-time with people you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.
Attending a Trade Show
Lastly, if you’re a business owner that has been established for a while, or are in a market that has a more national scale, it’s not a bad idea to look into purchasing a booth at a trade show. While this is more of a financial investment than the other options above, the scale is much wider and you have a much more focused group of potential customers coming to you, rather than going to them.
Summing It Up
Again, this is not the end-all, be-all list of options, but they are different strategies that we have found to be very helpful when you’re starting out with a limited budget. Getting face-time with potential clients and established business owners takes time and you may not see results right away, but the payoff is well worth it, as you will build a reputation for yourself and your business that will be seen and recognized by others.