Getting your business seen is the most important thing you need to do early on in your business after you've incorporated and taken care of the legal stuff. When I first started my business, the biggest surprise to me was how much time I had to spend, and then how much time I actually spent getting my business visible so people would do business with me.
It was a shock to my system, really. I figured I'd just show up to a few networking meetings, tell my family and friends, and that would be it. Boy was I ever wrong. Horribly wrong.
The first thing I learned is that I needed to find ways to market and sell my business that were not paid ads. Nearly as soon as I opened my doors, I had companies contacting me wanting my business. I figured that they had been in business forever and had a decent reputation. So what could go wrong? I had a lot to learn. Paid ads are the absolute most expensive way to get leads, and only a small percentage of those leads actually convert into paying clients. When paid ads don't go well, they really don't go well. We wasted thousands of dollars on advertising that was poorly targeted and yielded zero results.
So, what do you do if paid ads aren't such a good idea?
You start to figure out who your ideal client is, where they hang out and what their habits are. Do they spend a lot of time online? Or do they perhaps spend more time wrapped up in their own world? How do people typically find out about your type of business? In the senior home care industry, we get a lot of referrals from other providers such as doctors and facilities. In the business coaching business, most of my clients are other small business owners who hang out in other entrepreneur groups online, building communities that way. They also spend time at networking meetings here locally.
I learned that selling and visibility is about providing high quality information that is of value to my target audience. I learned that I have to provide information in a variety of different formats, including video, graphics, blog posts, and more. In fact, the more variety, the better. As a business coach, I've built a thriving community of other entrepreneurs so that we can answer questions, provide resources and help out lots of entrepreneurs.
Visibility and sales is about connecting with your ideal clients. The trick is in finding them and getting visible. Unless you've crafted an online community of those ideal clients, you'll probably find them hiding out among a variety of other people who aren't your ideal clients. Your goal is to get visible to them and to build relationships so that they can get to know, like and trust you, and thus do business with you.
Your job as an entrepreneur is to become a detective: figure out where they're hiding, and go get them.