“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Rain making — creating customer workflow — is key. Customers don’t aimlessly call or randomly email, hoping to stumble onto someone who can solve their problems. It’s your job to bring in new customers and projects to feed your business so it can grow and thrive. While it may be obvious and rarely disputed that without customers you have no business, many new entrepreneurs seem to forget this basic truth — at their peril.
This is most common after the completion of your first major project that gives you breathing space and money for a few months. There is a temptation to sit around, spend it, go to the beach, or whatever. This is when the seeds for disaster are being planted; they are laid in the good times. Then, when there is an economic downturn or too many corners have been cut, there are no checks and balances in place. When times are good you still need to keep other irons in the fire, put in proposals for the future, and so on.
How do you make rain? Giving good service at a fair price is a great place to start. Client relationships that last are the best foundation for any business. Those relationships are built on ongoing attention to client need and providing workable suggestions on how your clients can exceed their goals.
Next, establish methods to let your potential customers know what you do and why they should hire you. This includes networking at trade shows, conferences, professional groups and online communities.
Consider creating opportunities to share your knowledge at conferences or workshops, which can mean an immediate fee, plus future work. You are in business because you have learned something that is ‘of use’ to others. Contact conference organizers and tell them how and why you can contribute to the success of their next conference. Or organize your own seminar or conference.
Use the media as a tool. If you don’t know how, learn. If you can’t find someone in your area to teach you, embrace this as a further business opportunity and, later, educate others who find themselves in the same boat
Ask people to hire you or use your services. If they don’t use you now, they may in future. Also, they may be asked by someone else for a referral in your line of work. It’s called networking. Casting your net wide works.
Finally, as our parents used to say, we’ve two ears for a reason, so ask questions, then stop talking and listen. Then ask more questions so you are sure you understand, then respond to your clients’ needs.