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Getting (and Keeping) Your First Client

Getting and Keeping Your First ClientBy QC Event School

New business owners face a list of challenges once their doors open. Among those hurdles is finding potential clients and turning them into customers. This is especially difficult for high-ticket service-based businesses like event planners or interior decorators, where clients might be wary of hiring a professional who’s never had a client before.

Maybe you’ve heard tales of new business owners spending time and effort with inquirers who seem interested but never commit to doing business. Your task will be to identify which inquirer would make the perfect first client and show them the value of working with you.

Some business owners try to secure their first client by investing their time, money, and effort primarily into advertising. Marketing your brand to a wide audience is helpful, but you should adjust your strategy if this method doesn’t bring you an initial lead. Rather than casting such a wide net, consider focusing specifically on your most serious inquirers. The process of securing your first client should look something like this:

  1. Make a name for yourself
  2. Identify your ideal client
  3. Get your name out there
  4. Focus on the goal
  5. Build your client base

Every business is different, but many new owners experience success by concentrating their efforts in a model similar to this list. (more…)

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36 Free & Effective Marketing Tools That Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About

36 Free & Effective Marketing Tools That Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know AboutBy Jan Pinnington

According to the American Marketing Association‘s Board of Directors, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”.

The essence of great marketing is this … intimately knowing your target market, understanding their needs, and offering a solution to meet those needs.

When creating a marketing plan for your product or service, it’s critical you know exactly who your customer is. For example, how old are they? Where do the live? Are they married, single, divorced, or other? Do they own homes? Where do they shop? Do they have kids? What age? What is their pressing problem, and how does your product or services directly solve their issue?

Thankfully, there are many free resources and tools that can help you market your business effectively. With new technology, access to a few creative apps, and some very generous companies, many of the tools you need, won’t cost you a dime.

Below is my favorite list of tools and tactics. Don’t be overwhelmed by the choice here … just pick 3 to 5 options and use them consistently to reach your target audience. (more…)

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How to Book More Clients Using Discovery Calls (That Don’t Feel Scary or Sleazy)

How to Book More Clients Using Discovery Calls (That Don’t Feel Scary or  Sleazy)By Ann M. Strout

Over the years, all of my clients have faced one similar struggle. While many of them work beyond it, or for some this concern ebbs and flows, finding clients is undeniably one of the hardest parts of being in business for yourself.

However, what if I told you that there is an easy way to find consistent clients and all you need to do is be yourself?

It’s true, but let’s back up a bit.

I remember when I first started my business. I dreaded the mere thought of doing sales calls. I hated sales and I remember thinking, “I suck at this!” and I’m not normally the kind of girl who thinks that way. I’m smart, I’m confident, and I know I’m great at what I do.

I also didn’t want to feel like I was on the stand being interrogated, and any minute, my potential client would say, “You’re a fraud! I’m not hiring you!” Yikes! Or even worse, what if I didn’t know what to say or how to help them? Fortunately, neither of those scenarios ever happened, but I had really gotten in my own head about sales calls.

I knew something needed to change.

Once I did a little soul-searching on why sales calls were such a stumbling block for me (and many of my clients), it occurred to me that I actually enjoyed part of the process. I had a passion to learn everything I could about my ideal clients. (more…)

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7 Ways to Market Your New Business Without Breaking the Bank

7 Ways to Market Your New BusinessBy Angie Nelson

Launching a new business is never easy, but it doesn’t have to bankrupt you, either. Many new business owners are excited to promote their company, but make the mistake of spending too much on marketing. While it’s important to advertise and market your organization, it’s possible to do this without spending a lot of money. In fact, with a bit of careful planning, you can market your company for next to nothing.

1. Hold an Open House

When you first open for business, consider holding an open house. This doesn’t have to be on the first day you open your doors, but it should be held during the first week. An open house is simply a fun, engaging way to let local customers know about your company. You’ll want to have food and drinks available for anyone who stops by, as well as extra staff members who can answer questions and help customers navigate your business.

You can have several attractions available to entice potential clients to stop by. These attractions don’t have to be expensive, but they should be entertaining. You could hire someone to make balloon animals or offer face painting for children. You could give presentations on what your company offers. You could even have someone show guests how to do something new, such as how to knit a sweater or make jewelry using materials from your store. The key is to help your guests have a fun time while educating them on what your company offers and why they should give you their business. (more…)

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Are Business Cards Old School?

Are Business Cards Old School? By Dawn Berryman

What do you consider your most important piece of marketing material? Your catalog? Your packaging? Your advertisements? Your social media accounts? How about your business card? Is that still as important as it once was or has it been replaced with LinkedIn and other contact apps?

Historically, your business card has often been the first impression of your company and yourself. Although they may not always be a first impression any more, with so many of us ‘meeting’ and networking online; I would argue that they are still a critical part of your marketing arsenal.

Things change, business evolves, and the world keeps turning. This is also true with business cards. Their presentation and strategy may have changed, but their purpose is still the same. They are no longer always the first way to exchange contact information. However, they now have much more potential.

I’ve always advocated for attractive and accurate business cards. Now, it’s even more important that they make a good impression because they are much more than just a card with your phone number on it. They really are an extension of your brand.

That being said, make sure that your cards mirror the brand you are portraying everywhere else. Make sure the colors match, the look is the same, the wording and taglines match up. The last thing you want to do is create a disconnect. Your card should match your website, social media channels, and other marketing materials. (more…)

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