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HOW TO MARKET YOUR NEW BUSINESS?

So you finally took the plunge: you’re starting your new business.  Congratulations!  Now you need clients. 

How can you go about finding your first clients?  Usually, by promoting yourself in the market around you. 

If you were previously employed and soliciting colleagues and other contacts does not land you in trouble because of a non-compete clause that would be the first group to contact. 

The second is your close personal network: family, friends and neighbours.  They themselves might not be clients, but because they know you, they may very well refer you to opportunities that might be of interest. 

The third group would be people you give your business to: think of all the people to whom you give money and that you have a good relationship with.  Tell them about what you’re doing.  They may know someone, they may be interested themselves or they may agree to let you promote your goods and services to their customer base.  Remember; you give your money to these people, and they want to keep you as a customer. 

The forth group would be high profile customers that could bring a good amount of visibility to your business.  In exchange for that visibility, it may be a good idea to offer your services for less or for free. But on a marketing basis, this only makes sense if this initiative results in the attention of more potential buyers. 

Fifth group: networking.  Choose your groups carefully; they need to be potential buyers.  Also evaluate if this is feasible for your business model - if you sell small ticket items, spending a large amount of time networking for just one sale might not be the best use of your time.  If one buyer can buy many items or if the overall transaction price is worth it, then look for events that are organised in your neighbourhood and online. 

Lastly, get onto the internet.  Most people think that the internet is free or cheap; it isn’t.  You have to put in time and effort and as the saying goes; time is money.  Things are not necessarily cheap just because you don’t have to put your hand into your pocket.  Time spent online is time that you can’t put toward other things.  But often when you’re starting out, time is more readily available than when you’re gathering speed.  So build your presence on social platforms, get a website going, do some blogging and create content that will get shared.  Once your online presence is firmly established, this part of your company can be outsourced. 

When you start out, your brand is you; so get your face out there.  Once your bases are firm, a branding strategy with a transferable entity become something that makes sense.  But at the beginning, people will buy from you.  Unless you have a very unique product for which you have exclusive rights, then the product is the brand at the beginning. 


Have a great time starting out. 

 

Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed, MBA
Marketing consultant