Jan is a graphic designer who was always struggling to find good clients. “I could find plenty of people who needed my services,” she recalls, “but they thought my rates were too high. I either ended up agreeing to work for less, or they found someone else. And then when I did get the job, they took forever to pay me.”
Like many graphic designers, Jan’s marketing emphasized her business identity work — creating a company’s logo, business cards, and other collateral, with matching design elements. Her primary audience was new businesses who were just getting started. But then Jan had a brainstorm.
“I realized that the clients I was marketing to were people who didn’t have enough money to pay me,” says Jan. “They were startups with tight budgets. And since they hadn’t been in business long, they didn’t place much value on working with an experienced, high-quality designer. They were just looking for the lowest price.”
We sometimes look with awe and envy when we see someone who we consider has made it. Why? Because we believe they must know something we don’t know, have something we don’t have — and maybe they do. They had a vision they were willing to fund with their time, energy, Read more
Browse the Internet, read the newspaper, or thumb through a magazine, and you’re bound to see an article advising you to use your network to help you grow your business. But how exactly do you do that? Read more
I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort zones lately, mostly because I can’t seem to see mine very clearly anymore. Or more accurately stated, I can see it, I just haven’t spent that much time there recently. Read more
Doing a good job at follow-up is a piece of cake. You just capture every lead or potential referral partner you run across, then place a call or send them something, or both. If you don’t make a sale right away, you calendar them for the next follow-up and do the same thing again. Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? So why is follow-up such a problem? Here are the four most common reasons, and what you can do about them:
1. Prioritization. With an activity that you must initiate, it’s easy to let other tasks come first: responding to incoming calls and mail, reading what drifts into your inbox or crosses your desk, going to meetings and conferences, and oh yes, doing the client work you get paid for.
At a recent networking event, we noticed someone working the room by passing out business cards faster than a poker dealer in Vegas. Later, someone told us, “I don’t know who that person was but they gave me their card and I’m going to throw it away.” Read more
What does nearly every independent professional wish for when marketing for new clients? They wish they could see results faster. Time is the worst enemy of a small business owner. I’m convinced that the day I chose to open my business, the clock started Read more
Maintaining an office is an expensive proposition, and when your business doesn’t require meeting with clients daily, you may not want to take on that kind of overhead. But then when you do need to meet with a client in person, where do you do it? Read more
Professionals and service business owners who have been operating for a while always say they get most of their clients by word of mouth. But if you’re relatively new in business, no one is talking about you yet. How can you start building word of mouth right away instead of just waiting for it to happen? Read more
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