Entrepreneur Business Startup Marketing Ideas
Are you an entrepreneurial or small business startup seeking your first customers?
The most affordable and best place to find initial customers for any new business startup is within your own personal and professional network.
Specifically, are the people you do business with…doing business with you?
No? Why not?
Find New Customers. Contact This List of Prospects & Influencers:
Accountant, attorney, plumber, electrician, daycare provider, teachers (school, piano, etc.), dog sitter/walker, housekeeper, landscaper, snow plow driver, pool/window cleaner, pest control consultant, mechanic, butcher, realtor, mortgage consultant, favorite breakfast/lunch spot staff, neighbors, friends, family, minister/priest/rabbi, etc., dentist, physician, gynecologist, nail technician, hairstylist/barber, Mary Kay Consultant, marriage counselor, coach, personal trainer, yoga/pilates instructor, financial advisor, public safety professionals, landlord, bartender, postal worker or UPS/Fedex drivers.
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Have I forgotten anyone? Please add to my list in the comments section below.
As an aside, my UPS driver once inquired about a marketing job for his son, who had recently graduated from college. Conversations like this flow both ways. Imagine all the stops your UPS driver makes each day and how well he or she knows various potential prospects.
You never know who your oil, gas and propane delivery people know. A simple mention of your startup can generate word-of-mouth far and wide.
Don’t stop there. Now make a list of your business vendors, including: webmaster, graphic designer, copywriter, social media consultant, office and product supply vendors, banking personnel, printer, etc.
Keep going. Try contacting close friends of your family and friends. The same people you see over and over again at your sister’s cookouts, neighbor’s annual golf outing, uncle’s boat club, and so on.
RELATED: If you’re enjoying this post, then you’ll find my special marketing report helpful: I’m Open; Now What? 25 Strategies to Attract Your First Customers.
Alert Your Network About Your New Business Startup Using Brief & Concise Communications
I recommend you distribute the following marketing communications just before launch. What’s more, be specific about how your business benefits your connections or someone they know.
- Email — Keep your email to no more than one short paragraph with a link to more information.
- Phone call — This works best with the above preceding email, whereby you mention that you’ll be calling within a specific time frame. By including a time frame, your contact will pay more attention to the details of your email and your click-through rate will increase, because they’ll want to be prepared for your call. It’s against human nature to look bad, therefore, include a time frame to increase your communications’ results.
- Handwritten note with business card — Given the quantity of contacts you have, this may not be practical. Printing a short, personal note is fine, but be sure to personally sign it.
- Hand your business card directly to a contact, a.k.a. UPS delivery worker — Follow this by citing your 30-second elevator pitch packed with the benefits of doing business with you.
Keep in mind, if you and a person within your network are not a match, he or she probably knows someone who could benefit from doing business with you. Now all you have to do is ask your personal and professional connections to provide some word-of-mouth about you. At minimum, ask to display your business cards and flyers at their office, or to include a short note about your launch within their customer communications. Generally, the latter is only appropriate if your products and services complement your contact’s business.
Repeat Your Efforts
About a year ago, another mom I know in town started a new home organizing business. She distributed an initial launch communication via postal mail to everyone in her network. It was a simple letter describing her new business and it included her business card. I’ve not heard from her since. I’ve often wondered if her business ever took off or if she’s still in business. Don’t let this speculating happen to you. Reach out to the above contacts no less than once a year.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. — George Addair
Are you having a hard time getting started? What’s the holdup? Why haven’t you contacted some of the above individuals already? This is not a new idea.
It’s fear, isn’t it?
Most entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, consultants and others hesitate about contacting their network for fear of being rejected. If this is you, then know this: Some of the people you approach could be turned off, think your ideas are inferior or say unflattering things about your products and services. Yet, if you don’t approach your network, you’ll never know who supports your ideas and, therefore, would be happy to pass along your contact information to their network, ultimately growing your revenue.
You’ve come this far. Why stop now? The worst that can happen is that some of the people you contact won’t respond. Okay, maybe something even more uncomfortable, such as a person asking you to remove them from your list. Ouch! However, know this as well: If they don’t respond, it’s not because of you, it’s because of their own beliefs. The latter has nothing to do with you. Therefore, make time to ensure that people in your immediate circle understand what you’re selling and how it benefits them or the people they care most about.
RELATED: Check out Alan Garner’s excellent book, “Conversationally Speaking: Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness.” It was an effortless read and provided a plethora of useful examples on how to facilitate effective conversations so that people will keep talking with you. He describes how to put people at ease and how to ask specific questions that promote conversation. Please note that I’m an Amazon Associate. Nevertheless, I purchased and read this book cover-to-cover. It’s definitely worth the time of anyone who needs to keep a conversation going, e.g., salesperson, consultant, small business owner of any kind, parent, husband/wife, etc. ~ Sharron
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