Whether you have been a victim of a layoff or some form of downsizing or just decided that corporate America is not for you, you may decide to start a business. If you have received a buyout or compensation package from a previous employer, you may have enough money to live on for 6, 9 or 12 months, yet you will want to be able to be making money before your ‘nestegg’ is depleted. Here are some key things to focus on to become start your business. What is important is to make sure you have enough capital to live on without making one sale for up to a year.
Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing. Not just in the beginning. Can you see yourself doing it for ‘years to come’? There will be many long days and difficult times; there will be the stress and strain of finding new clients who are willing to pay you for your services. Are you really ready for the challenge, especially if you were never responsible in the past for ‘client acquisition’ or business development.
Develop a website. No matter what a professional website designer says, to start you only need a few pages, 3 at the most. The first page, tells people what you do - place several testimonials on it; the second page can have your biography and history along with a short client list; and the third page is a contact us form, for them to fill out requesting more information. It will be your electronic brochure. There is no need to print fancy brochures that are costly. Print business cards to give to people you meet who have a need for your service, also ask for their business card.
If you are moving from the corporate world to an independent business owner, you may need to use ‘testimonials’ or recommendations of past clients whose projects you worked on ‘when you were an employee’. That is fine.
Start to network and build alliances with others who can introduce you to prospective clients. Go to the places where you are likely to meet businesses that need your services. If you sell to the medical industry or to attorneys, the Chamber of Commerce may not be the right place to go. Find professional associations that your prospective clients belong to and see if they allow guests to attend their functions.
Develop a clear and concise 30 second commercial that identifies the problems you resolve for your clients. Don’t do what your competitors do and fill it with the features and benefits of your product. You are looking to open up discussions to find people who are having a problem that your product or service can help them overcome. Then set up a meeting to discuss, if your firm is the right fit for them.
People you meet today, may not become your client for 30, 60, 90 days or more. But if you want to be closing sales in 6, 9 or 12 months, you need to be out meeting people, TODAY!.