Bridging the entrepreneurial frontier – how to land your first clientMathew J Maniyamkott
Starting a business is fraught with risks that don’t come with a day job. The most important thing in the beginning stages of setting your business is to get the word out about your services/products. Next comes the arduous task of landing your all-important first client.
Now, there are many ways to go about the approach, first and the simplest would be to reach out to your family and friends. Ask for feedback on what they think about your business idea and if they have any inputs on how it can be improved. Please do note that you don’t have to follow everyone’s opinion because it is just that, an opinion. Pitch it to people you know personally and who might be willing to take up your services.
Go to places where people are discussing the pain points that your business aims to solve. Offer solutions and get recognized as an expert. It could be Quora, LinkedIn, trade journals or even conferences. Network as if your life hangs in the balance, this involves meeting the right people - could be your competitors as well. Ask and you shall receive, do not think of your competitors as enemies, and see if there are opportunities where you could be of help to them or it might even be wise to work together as a team. You never know, your competitor may direct some of their business because their plate is full.
Let us see how these two entrepreneurs cracked their first client:
Kartik Darwan, co-founder of MoversReview, a platform which aims to be a one-stop destination for everything in the movers and packers industry. This is what Kartik has to say about getting his first client.
“Quitting your corporate job and launching your dream startup is only half the battle. Finding people to actually use your product or service is the real fight. Like many entrepreneurs when I started my business in May 2016, I was confident about my company's potential and I assumed that the clients would somehow come rushing. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
I started cold calling and emailing supply chain management people and admin people from the TOP MNCs of Delhi NCR. The phone calls led to only a few people reverting after numerous attempts. Moreover, after spending a lot of time researching and talking to people, I also made my LinkedIn profile to get in touch with a lot of people involved in the moving industry. During my journey, I have learned many lessons about landing that all important first client.
I met over 160 people before getting the first break through, and got the opportunity to assess the vendors of a top MNC in the IT sector in the country who have more than 10,000 moves annually both domestic and international. I then went on to give this free service to a lot of other corporates as well. We started helping MNCs and big corporates to choose vendors for their annual tenders. After a while, I got on the radar of a few top relocation companies and then landed up a meeting with one of the top CEOs of the industry, Rahul Pillai, and then things only started to look up.”
Rahul Singh is the founder of The Publicity Dude, a media PR company that helps entrepreneurs and startups get media exposure and create a strong brand image.
“It would be very unfair to say that a person should stay optimistic and strong with the belief that his/her company would do great or to have a break-less perception about its potential. Coming from the PR niche, I’d suggest an entrepreneur to first make a good hold across all the business groups, irrespective of the fields. The person should talk often to different people and know the art of pitching one’s ideas into someone’s head. That’s the foremost thing, to connect with people and to make them aware about your company, ideas and more importantly, on how you can prove to be useful to the other person.
Awareness is the key; nobody will ever be able to take up your services unless they are acquainted with the fact of your existence. Make sure you are signed up on every socio-business platform and your profile appears as authentic as it actually is. Also, your first clients will be the one to try you out and not the one coming from some references, so to attract their attention, you can make some initial services free of cost or maybe provide them with a special card because they are one of your potential clients who’d give your references to others. “
As you land your first client, things will slowly start to get better as you would have learnt a lot in this time.