If you have decided on going it alone with a consultancy business, congratulations! It’s a great step towards a more flexible lifestyle, and with a lot of hard work and dedication you will find it could turn out to be a lucrative move. However, in the early days, you may struggle to find enough clients to make it worth your while.
You’ll need to do everything yourself – probably on a shoestring budget. It can be tough to balance the time you spend on your marketing with the time you spend with your current clients. It’s achievable, though. And with a little smart thinking, you can start to grow your customer base effectively with the smallest of budgets. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Refine your offer
One thing many consultants get wrong in their early days is trying to do too much. You are more likely to succeed if you can refine what you offer to what you do best, rather than being a jack of all trades. For example, if you’re an IT guy, specialize in particular systems, rather than marking yourself out as a generic IT professional.
When you go it alone, people aren’t just going to come to you, regardless of how good your website is, or how well it is optimized for the search engines. You have to get out there in real time, meet people, and network like your life is dependent on it. Your life, incidentally, probably is dependent on it. Especially when you have plenty of bills to pay in your personal life. Check out your local business community and start going to business meetups and events. The only cost to you will be a small entrance fee and your time.
Improve your marketing materials
While you don’t have to spend a fortune on your marketing tools and materials, it is vital to have a broad mix of them. You should also make them look as professional as possible. Think about how well your business cards represent you. Also, try things like designing client questionnaires that you can hand over. It’s a great way of showing you know what you’re doing, and engages the a potential client straight from the off.
Keep in touch
Always remain in touch with clients, new and old alike. Don’t be afraid of picking up the phone and asking how things are going with former customers. You never know, there might be an opportunity waiting for you at the end of the other line. Think about greetings cards, too. Electronic Christmas cards for business can be a great way of reminding people you are on hand at the beginning of every year. While the build up to the holiday period is quiet in many industries, the new year is a time that many people start to think about new ideas. A little nudge from you could prove lucrative.
Marketing your consultancy can be tough in the early days. But there are plenty of ways of getting your name out there, whether you have a big budget or not. These are just four ideas – do you have any more? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.