It can be very difficult finding customers; you’re going to have to spend a little money and a lot of time on promoting your business.
There are a few steps you should consider to help get your business up and running:
- If you cannot guarantee always being able to answer the phone, sign up with a telephone answering service so they can answer your phone when you’re not around. It gives your business a professional image and is far better than an answer machine message when prospective customers call you up.
- You don’t need a web site, but it can help you win business. There are lots of companies that will set up a web site for you from as little as £100. Your web site should work as a ‘shop front’ for your business, encouraging prospective customers to give you a ring. Choose a web domain name that matches what prospective customers will search for on Google rather than a business name: if you’re running your business in Manchester, then calling your website bookkeeping-Manchester will get you far more sales leads.
- Buy a small advertisement in Yellow Pages. Even now we’re in the internet era, a huge number of people look in Yellow Pages and it can be one of the best places to find yourself new business.
- Get yourself some professionally printed business cards and postcards to advertise your services (click here for details of where to get these printed free). The postcards can be placed in shop windows, or used as mail shots directly to your target customers.
- Facebook is an excellent tool for finding customers. Setup a business page and post to local Facebook sites.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to get your name around.
Introduce yourself to local accountancy firms to see if they have any work available.
Post an advertisement for your services on Gumtree. This is a much underused resource: it’s free and it can generate a lot of business. Within days, you may find a well worded Gumtree advertisement will place your business on the front page of Google when prospective customers do a search. You’ll need to refresh your advertisement every few days, but it is well worth it: it will be one of your best on-line sales lead generators you will get.
Consider taking out line adverts in your local newspaper. They don’t cost much, but you’ll need to do it regularly to keep your name in front of your prospective customer’s noses.
Finding customers – Get out and start networking!
One good way for finding customers is to start meeting other business owners and managers. There are lots of business clubs and groups all around the country and going along to meetings and meeting other businessmen and women is a good way of finding prospects.
Business Link and local Chambers of Commerce will both run regional meetings, but you will also find groups like ecademy will run their own networking meetings in most areas of the country.
How to sell to prospects.
You are an expert in your own field – bookkeeping. The chances are, you’re not a trained sales person. Yet, in order to make your business a success, you are going to need to be able to sell.
There are countless books and training courses you can go on to perfect the art of selling, but the chances are that most of these are far too in-depth for the level of sales that you will be taking on.
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