Beatrice Bartlay explores five fundamental business tenets for a new company owner to consider.
Winning your first clients and customers can be a daunting task for entrepreneurs, especially if it is your first foray into business leadership. Making people believe in your product or service is a mammoth job in itself, especially when you’re still unknown to your industry. Fierce competition and a volatile economy can make some early-stage business owners give up too soon, miss out on the chance to see their business idea mature and develop.
Happily, there are a few tips and tricks to drastically boost your business lead generation.
Lock onto your target audience
Before you stride in front of your first potential customer or client, take the time to know everything you can about your target audience. Of course, not everyone will be interested in what you have to offer, so it is your responsibility to find those who will.
Focus on what you’re offering, who would be interested in your services and where you can find these people. Use social media, white papers or just word-of-mouth from industry contacts. What are your customers’ primary problems or roadblocks? How can your product or service alleviate these?
Also, take a fine-tooth comb to your competitors in the marketplace. Look into what they offer, how this compares to your own service, who is interested in them and how your service is different, better or otherwise preferable to theirs. Forgoing the legwork will leave you ignorant as your business progresses, so put the effort in now to reap the benefits later.
Develop and finesse your business pitch
With your market researched and your audience defined, start constructing a stonking business pitch. Gather up all of your research and dilute it down into its core components: your business proposition, why people should be interested, why it’s the best out there and how your service can benefit your customer or client.
Concentrate on getting your point across quickly and clearly in your pitch. Define your company, service and benefits before your potential client has the chance to lose interest. Ensuring that your pitch is under three minutes, or ideally one, is a great starting point.
Find opportunities to pitch wherever you can
Of course, even a perfect, compelling pitch won’t win you any business if no one hears it! Get out there, engaging directly with your target market, and make sure people listen to what your business can offer them and work to convince them of your value.
Your earlier research into your market is of great help here, particularly where and how your future customers communicate. No matter whether online, on the street, at trade shows or on the end of their phones, chase your chosen audience and make sure they hear your message.
In addition, keep in mind that this is a fantastic opportunity to further refine your pitch. Not every conversation will be successful, but by examining their reactions you can finesse your proposition to be as effective as possible. At trade shows or large events in particular, continual repetition of your pitch can provide you with strong sales drills to last you throughout your career.
Deliver on your promises
Now armed with a refined pitch and the knowledge to apply it into new business opportunities, your hard work will start to turn into new customers and clients. However, it is vital that you do not rest on your laurels with these new connections. As your first customers, they can also be your first evangelists, spreading your good work through to other potential customers via word of mouth. On the other hand, a poor experience with your business could result in the polar opposite.
You cannot cut corners; you have to deliver the results you promised. Make sure your customers are impressed with the value and results of your work with them. You cannot afford to let them down at this stage.
Never lose hope and always keep pitching!
As ever with a fledgling business, persistence and optimism are absolutely crucial. These steps to acquiring new business cannot simply be actioned once – instead, you have to keep returning to researching your market, developing and refining you pitch and (inevitably) pitching your business as much as possible.
So, what are you waiting for? Do your research and preparation, then get out there and pitch!