It’s hard to start your own Business. Very few (who have actually done it) would dispute the validity of that statement. But the hardest part of starting a new venture is, undoubtedly, getting your first few clients (otherwise known as, making your first few sales) – and your admittedly biased and supportive friends and family don’t count.
I was able to overcome this initial hurdle fairly easily, and today I’ll share my technique with you.
You may remember that in my last post, I thoroughly covered the topic of bartering, including the many different ways it can help your business and strategies for creating a barter relationship. Today we’ll focus on one of the best advantages of bartering: getting your brand new business off the ground.
If you haven’t read my last post, I’ll briefly summarize here: bartering is a system of trade. Instead of paying for something in cash, you perform a service or provide a product. When I started my bookkeeping business, I contacted a few local businesses who provided a product or service that I was interested in and I offered to trade bookkeeping services in exchange for their service. In so doing, I had a couple of great clients right out of the gate!
As any new business owner knows, getting your first few clients (even if they aren’t paying you with cash) is crucial to the success of your new business. These are just a few reasons why:
1) Having clients builds confidence, which is so important in the early stages of your business, when you’re facing the new struggles and self-doubts of being a new entrepreneur.
2) These initial clients can provide you with positive feedback and constructive criticism, which you can use to make your product or service even better.
3) Having actual clients allows you to test and refine the systems of your business. Any little mistakes or inefficiencies can be identified upfront and patched up before you begin working with your first paying clients.
4) These initial clients can provide you with real testimonials that you can display on your website, which will in turn help you to attract new clients. I would suggest asking them to leave the testimonial on your Yelp page, then copy and paste it (with their permission, of course) to your website. In this way, you’re populating reviews on your Yelp page as well.
5) If you do a good job, these first clients will be a source of referrals for you. It’s as if you now have a free marketing team spreading the word about your product or service!
If, for some reason you can’t find another small business owner who wants to barter, there is still a surefire way to get as many new clients as you desire: give your product or service away for free! Before you become outraged at the suggestion, consider the benefits: in addition to those mentioned above, you can make your testimonials even more effective by requesting video testimonials. Ask new clients to film a short video testimonial about your business in exchange for your free product or service. Video testimonials – which are much more effective than written testimonials, as they come across as more authentic – can be displayed directly on your website’s homepage.
As I hope you’ve seen, bartering services or products – or giving yours away for free – is a smart way to get the ball rolling when it comes to your new business. It’s not a forever tactic; it’s a quick and easy way to build experience, clientele, and positive feedback today.
Have you ever bartered or given your product/services away for free to attract clients? Share your experience in the comments below!
The post How to Overcome the Hardest Part of Starting a Business appeared first on Merritt Bookkeeping.