There is nothing quite as exciting as starting your own business. You get to create your business name and buy a logo, furniture and possibly even a vehicle. You’ve found your employees and even handled their training. Everything looks set. Well, almost everything; after all, you still need a customer.
It is very easy to get distracted by the necessities of any start-up to easily forget your primary focus, that is, that of getting customers through the door. For most start-ups, landing a first customer is a very important and defining moment. The first customer may not spend much, but by repeating the process you could easily be looking at your 2nd, 3rd, 4th customer, and so on.
Planning how to attract your first customer is an important detail in any business plan and will certainly be a question asked by any potential investor. However, beyond all that, knowing how to attract your first customer, preferably the business even begins, can help set your business on the path to profitability quickly. Here are 3 ideas on how to land your first customer.
Start with your friends.
By friends, I don’t mean only your closest friends. I mean the friends of your friends, your friends on social media and practically anyone with whom you communicate in your life. Don’t forget your family too, and again I mean your extended family.
Get in touch with these people in different ways and let them know what your business is about. If you started your business right and did some market research, some of them probably already know about your idea. Your first priority would be to try and land your first customer from amongst your social circles. However, if that is not possible, you should ask them to recommend your business to their social circles and possibly refer you directly to a potential customer they may know.
Continue with professional connections.
In your professional career, you might have already come across potential customers to your business. Perhaps these could be ex-colleagues or even your old boss. Remember to also consider ex-partners of your career, such as suppliers and third party service providers.
Getting professional recommendations might cost you a commission, however, it does help you get through the door faster. You should consider paying this as long as it is based on a guaranteed sale and, of course, if it is legal to do so. You should consider commissions to be just another cost of sale, which can help you land your first customer and subsequent customers sooner.
Conclude with professional organisations.
The third option to land your first customer lies with local professional bodies and business-oriented organisations. Examples of these include the chamber of commerce or Junior Chamber International (JCI). You’d probably need to pay a membership fee to join these groups. However, you will have access to numerous business owners and potential customers.
The secret of success here is networking effectively. If you keep to yourself and steer away from new conversations then your business risks going unnoticed. Instead, speak proudly about what your business is about. Don’t forget to mention how it can help your audience. In this way, you stand a greater chance to land your first customer.