Launching a business and finding clients can be both an exciting and daunting time, especially if you don’t have much prior business experience. As a startup, it can be difficult to know where to begin when looking for your first new clients, so establishing a plan and learning what has worked for other businesses is essential.
In this blog, we’ll give you five top tips for sourcing new clients when you are just getting started, no matter what business you’re in.
1. Attend local networking events
Never underestimate the power of your local community, especially if you’re new to the area. Whether you’ve set up shop in your local town centre or you’re an online business, attending local networking events can be hugely beneficial.
By attending local networking events, you’re getting your brand out into the wider community, enabling people to hear about your business and understand what you do. From here, people can choose to engage with your business themselves, tell their friends about you or even collaborate with you to mutually promote each others’ business.
Building relationships at networking events can help inspire and motivate you, while also potentially putting you in front of people who can support your company. New contacts can also introduce you to others who might be able to share knowledge or present you with an opportunity.
Many towns and cities have regular meet-ups designed for small businesses. Some simply provide the chance to network with other like-minded professionals, and others offer advice and guidance from other successful startups. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your local council and social media pages to find out how you can get involved in these events.
2. Work from a shared office space
You might think shared office space is an unlikely location to help source new clients, but actually, they’re some of the best places for you to meet people. If you think about it, there are many different types of businesses that use a shared office, so there’s bound to be someone working there who would be interested in your brand.
Whether it’s someone in your target market who you can educate about your product or service, a similar business you can collaborate with or other business owners you can learn from, shared office space can be really helpful for a startup.
There are several types of coworking office spaces all over the UK, with each offering something different for businesses. Some offer a simple space to work from, while others also provide great communal networking spaces or additional perks. Be sure to do your research before you choose a membership and ensure your office is in a convenient location that might also be used by other local startups.
3. Connect on LinkedIn
With over 800 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is a huge marketplace and a great platform for finding new clients – whether directly or indirectly. As the professional’s social media channel, LinkedIn is the best place for connecting with other businesses and building relationships.
Use your profile to connect with other startup owners in your local community, or join relevant groups and engage with others in your industry. Following successful companies on LinkedIn can also prove beneficial by helping you learn from their success.
Aside from the professional connections you make on LinkedIn, it’s also becoming increasingly popular for B2C marketing. Many brands have realised that although LinkedIn is traditionally a place for professionals, these professionals are also consumers and likely have some purchasing power in the home.
Using LinkedIn to find clients isn’t just about the connections you make though. It’s also important to ensure you remain relevant, actively post insightful content and nurture your business relationships.
4. Establish an online presence
If you’re thinking about where to find clients on a broader scale, it’s crucial that you establish an online presence. In the instant-access world of today, consumers mostly find new businesses by searching online, with over 70,000 Google searches conducted every second!
Your online presence includes everything from your website and social media pages to your Google Business page and directory listings. You can establish and improve your online presence in many ways, including keeping your website content up to date, optimising your site for search engines, regularly posting content on social media and making sure any imagery you use is relevant and accessible.
Social media is particularly important for new businesses. With over 53 million active social media users in the UK, there is a huge audience that you could be tapping into if you put the effort in.
While being online is great for targeting a wide audience, it’s equally important if you’re a local business seeking new customers in a particular geographic location. 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information, so ensuring your Google business pages and local directory listings are up to date is imperative.
You can also find clients online by making use of online groups and forums that are relevant to your business. For example, you could actively participate in forum threads in your industry or target market to promote your brand name while offering a solution to a problem.
5. Offer discounts and incentives
When you’re first starting out as a business, offering discounts or incentives can be a great way to entice new customers and encourage them to tell their friends about your business. For example, you could offer a new-client discount for money off your product or service, or give clients the chance to win a prize if they successfully refer five new customers.
Of course, the discounts and incentives you offer will depend on the type of business you are in, but they can be a very effective way to attract new customers. Discounts attract customers for a few reasons, with the main one being that saving money makes people happy. However, discounts also dissuade customers from shopping around and create a sense of urgency which can be great for initial sales.
Be careful though, you don’t want customers to expect discounts all the time as this can cheapen your brand and give your clients a reason to shop around when the discount ends. Perhaps test the waters with a discount on the first purchase, and then ensure your product or service is so good that your customers will shop again at full price.
Whether you choose to try out one method of sourcing new clients or all of them, it’s important to remember that consistency is key. Be present, engage with consumers and always think about what you can offer to someone else and how you can solve their problem. If shared office space is your chosen route, find the right location for your business with our search tool.