Starting your own business is something many people aspire. Some decide to become an entrepreneur because they have a unique product or service to offer. Some people become entrepreneurs because they want freedom. Others because they got made redundant at work.
This article is based on many questions asked on a bunch of facebook channels I visit daily.
I’m not stating I’m a start-up guru, marketing expert or any other expert. I’m just sharing what I read and how I solve, try and help other entrepreneurs get started or improve their current business.
How do I find clients?
This question is asked by so many new entrepreneurs and by asking in a facebook group they really think they will get the answer which will provide new clients. Well, it won’t and never will. At best, some will share some tips and experiences, but most don’t even bother to reply anymore.
The reason other people don’t reply is that they don’t have the answer either. That’s because there is no one piece of advice one could share how to generate more visitors or clients. By the way, you are probably well aware of what you could do to get new clients, but it just hasn’t worked out yet.
95 per cent of the entrepreneurs asking the ‘how do I find clients’ are actually struggling to define their own service or solution. I mean, there are thousands of web design companies in your neighbourhood so starting another web design company ain’t going to be easy at all.
It’s as simple as that.
Does this mean you can’t create a new web design company and be successful? Absolutely not. You can create or be a successful web design company, but what many advisors won’t tell you is, it can take a few years and a dose of pure luck.
I always ask these people: If you were to advertise with Google Ads – what would your ad look like. I mean, how would you distinguish your company to that of any other web design company?
This is when most fall entirely silent. Well, there you have it.
These entrepreneurs have never really thought about their company this way. How to explain what you do in one sentence.
Don’t get me wrong – it took me three years to figure mine one-liner out. My one-liner is “HELPING COMPANIES GET A GRIP ON DIGITAL“.
Since I defined this one-liner (whatever you may think of it), it has helped me improve my sales. I am more confident in myself. Because in the ole days when a potential client would ask me what I do, I would ramble a few minutes and mention all the services I can offer.
I design websites, I’m good at SEO, I’m great at optimising page speed, I’m really good at making more money for current clients yadda yadda yadda.
It was always about “I am….I offer….I can…” So, for me, it was crystal clear what I can do, but the client understood nothing other than I, I and more I.
I wasn’t finding new clients like this. Companies would call me but never become clients. Now I know why. It wasn’t because they weren’t interested in my solutions, they just didn’t understand what my solutions would solve. They couldn’t comprehend how my solutions would benefit them.
My failure to find new clients makes complete sense now. They’re looking for someone to help them solve problems, and I was just showing off how great I am.
So when people ask me what I do, I tell them I help companies get a grip on digital. What I’ve noticed is that this sentence says enough about my niche (digital) and explains my focus point (Get a grip on digital).
I noticed the effectiveness of my one-liner because my prospects would ask questions. What the heck, we are in a dialogue instead of a monologue.
Prospects now ask questions like: “How do you help companies?” or “What solutions do you offer”?
Something triggers the prospects to ask questions. They want to know more. You know why? Well, that’s because no company on the planet can afford not to get a grip on digital. Digital is moving faster than we sometimes realise, and there’s not a day that goes by new innovative solutions are created.
I realised that most businesses need to keep up with innovations and trends; hence, my companies’ name innotrends.
Because I follow these innovations and trends, I realised my knowledge and experience will benefit companies seeking to improve their sales, conversions and websites.
Having said that, here’s the smart part of asking questions – instead of rambling about my services and solutions, I ask them this question:
“What is your greatest frustration holding you back making more online revenue.”
I can bet you 100 bucks – no other web designers, the prospect has met, has ever asked such a direct question.
I know they don’t because most of the designers are too busy showing off their portfolio’s believing this will convince the client to say “yes”.
Me, on the other hand, stick to asking questions based on the replies I get. Before you know it, they spill the beans, and they will tell you their life story.
Just by asking a few relevant questions I’ve already positioned myself into an advisor instead of a simple web designer. By doing this, the prospect will understand I’m here to help improve business for them and not only for myself.
They also tend to realise I’m not there for the quick buck either. They gather I’m not going to build a website for $500 either. More importantly, the chances they’ll consider somebody else creating their site has diminished. All because I asked a few simple yet effective questions.
Just launched your web design company?
When you have just launched your business, it’s hard finding new clients that have never heard of you. In fact, it’s even harder than dating.
Just imagine this for a moment; You visit a dating site, you sign-up and then what…unless you look like a Brad Pitt chances are you’re in for a long wait until someone clicks on your profile and takes the next step and contacts you.
Let’s say you signed up and aren’t as handsome as Brad Pitt. Other people that have signed-up are also looking for a date, yet it takes days if not months until you find the right person you would want to go on a date with.
So, what do you really expect when you launch your company? Do you really believe clients will come flying through the door because you’ve started? Most companies already have a website. So what are you going to offer?
Don’t tell me: you’re going to cold call clients and offend them by, in fact, telling them their site looks like shit?
This won’t work unless you’re an authority or a-brand in the market. Even then, these top companies won’t just call potential clients and tell them their site is shit.
Offering a new design won’t necessarily help your prospect either. Do you believe their visitors give a rats ass if their websites use the Verdana or Arial font? The colours, the brand, the logo etc.
The same goes for your company website also. I’ve met entrepreneurs spending so much money and wasted so much time on logo’s, designs and what not and for what exactly? No one knows who the f&^# you are. They don’t care if your site is well designed. So stop wasting time creating your own company website, spending hours on end optimising it because no-one cares. I know….I was one of those guys. Continuously updating my site with new designs and loads of other shit.
Looking back, I’ve wasted so much time. Now I ‘waste’ my time helping clients by solving their digital challenges. I have time to spend writing articles such as these, helping my fellow entrepreneurs from making the same mistakes I have.
My work-life balance has made a change for the better all because of that one sentence: HELPING COMPANIES GET A GRIP ON DIGITAL
This has been such a life changer for me, I can’t really describe it.
Choose a Niche
If you really want to stand out, choose one or two niches and reach out to these companies. Because if you select a niche, you will be able to provide more thinking power to the table other than just a design job. Not only will selecting a niche to improve your sales it will also help you to build a brand for your company, within that niche.
I think you would rather have companies call you because you’ve become THE COMPANY to call when they need a new site than the other way around.
Three years ago, I was at a meeting with other entrepreneurs. Obviously, I wasn’t the only web designer. There were a dozen web designers, but there was one guy that stood out. I asked what he does for a living, and he replied: “I build websites for construction companies”. I replied “is that all you do” He replies “Yes, that’s all I do and I’m doing really well”. I thought this guy was an idiot. Why would he just build for construction companies? Well, 5 years later he’s the now the company most construction companies at least give a call when they need a new website.
Not only has he created a brand for himself because he focusses on this specific niche, but he’s also created a few solutions for these companies. He knows their challenges, issues, and so on. He just happens to have all the tools needed to offer a complete solution for his niche.
In my pre-one-liner day, my clients fluctuated daily.
One day I was creating a site for a plumber, the next day for a pharmaceutical company and the other days I was optimising SEO for my clients. My clients where all over the place. I also noticed the smaller clients such as the plumber and painter would have the nerve to call me up in the evenings and on weekends when they felt they needed something modified on their site. On the other hand, they were usually the type of clients that never could pay my hourly rate either.
Because I felt the need to invoice my clients, I went ahead with this until a few years ago. I decided this is not how I can run a business, I’m not building a brand, and I don’t see how this way of conducting business will help work in 10 years time. I need to build and secure a future for myself and my family.
I decided to focus on a few niches:
- e-commerce with a minimal annual revenue of $250.000
- Real-Estate agents
As you can see, they are pretty diverse, and that’s because I currently work for these companies and they seem to be very happy with my solutions and results.
I don’t necessarily design sites for these companies either. I advise the majority how to reach their sales targets, how to generate leads, improve conversions. Only during a strategy session will I look at their site and decide with the client if the website needs a redesign. Redesigning used to be my goal (in the old days), today is to offer solutions ensuring my clients meet their goals.
Obviously, I have the all the necessary tools and licenses to audit sites appropriately, so, in the end, the client and I can make well-informed decisions.
This is what I believe sets innotrends apart from the local web designer trying to sell $500 websites guaranteeing they’ll get your site positioned on the number 1 spot in Google. What a crock that is.
I hope this article has provided some insights and material to think about? If you want to share the love back, please do this by sharing this article with your network. As always, your most welcome to contact me or leave a comment. Would appreciate it dearly