In this weekly update, we go over tips on how to get your first customer and common small business bolstering tips.
Start By Selling Yourself, Not Your Business
Your business has no prior history, no reputation and no reviews; how can anyone trust it? They can’t, so don’t ask them to.
Instead, sell yourself. Convince them on how passionate you are about the work. Convince them that you will be so grateful for the opportunity to have a first customer that you will go above and beyond to get it done. Convince them that you will be so appreciative that they will get all this extra value by going with you instead of an established competitor.
And once you’ve convinced them, honor your word and deliver. No matter how much extra time it takes, even if it isn’t profitable, this is your chance to build your reputation and show that you can get it done.
But this requires a potential customer to first reach out. How do you get the phone to ring in the first place? Without misrepresenting your business, there are things you can do to bolster your business’ image and give yourself a better chance of getting that first call.
No PO Boxes, Get An Address
Unless you really need one, don't lease an office until you can afford one. It likely won't be the best use of your resources when you’re first starting your business. Investing in marketing or your first employee is a better bet.
However, seeing a PO box when learning more about a business feels like a red flag to most customers. PO boxes make customers feel like you’re hiding behind an anonymous address. Instead, give your business a more credible address by using a provider like Regus and others. These services will forward your mail, and will let you rent boardrooms when you need to setup a meeting. It will make your business look more legitimate, which has the nice side-effect of increasing your confidence when trying to sell your service.
Have a Nice Website
Just five years ago, it was harder to put a website together. The tools were limited, web designers expensive and you had to learn how to maintain it. Today, you have no excuse not to have a website. None. There are plenty of beautiful website builders (including Helcim’s Online Store platform) that make it easy for anyone to put a website together over a weekend. Just lock yourself in a room and write your marketing copy, take some pictures and get it done.
Most of your competitors have a website, so a potential customer will wonder why you don’t. Were you too lazy? Are you not that committed to your business? Are you still around or did the business shut down already?
Getting your first customer is hard, so you need to give yourself every chance of making it happen. That starts with a nice clean website.
Be Active On Social Media
We’re all internet detectives. When we're researching a new product, we look for reviews, unboxing videos, images, whatever we can get our hands on. The same applies when we’re searching for a new service provider or contractor. We look at their website, their reviews and nowadays - their social media. Are they active on it? Do people like their page? Their work? Do they seem legitimate? Do they seem passionate? Are they even trying?
As a business, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of social media and how it influences people’s view of your brand. If your competitors are active on platforms and you aren’t, you’re already at a disadvantage.
Remember, The First Step Is the Hardest
You need your first customer to show the world that you can get the work done. So do whatever you can to succeed the first time and make your first customer happy. Even if that means you don’t end up turning a profit, or put in more hours than expected. They took a leap of faith by choosing you, it's your job to prove they made the right choice. Your first customer will be the key to getting the second one a little easier. The more satisfied customers you have, the easier it will be to get the next one.
It’s time to put in the extra effort, get out there, and take the first step in your new business adventure.