How to land my first clients?

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1) Get out in your community with every (low cost) opportunity to showcase yourself and your services.

2) Consider joining the local chamber but only if you are committed to being active. Consider starting your own networking group. I joined a small group of women 4 yrs ago but was soon asked if I would take over the group. We meet monthly, women entrepreneurs, no dues, wine and appetizers and last Thursday we had 40 women there. Many of my 40 bookkeeping clients came from the people I met in that group.

3) Visit local banks and introduce yourself to the branch manager. Be sure to ask them how you can help them. Determine the areas you can work with them to help the same clients.

4) Always carry your business card. You never know. I got 8 tax clients this year sitting around in local restaurants AND I made sure every bartender knows what type of business I own and how much I love it. They hear sad stories all day long. They remember happy people.

My very first client happened like this:
On a spur of the moment I dropped into a local business late one Friday afternoon. I had only met the guy once but he’s very big in our neighborhood and knows everyone. (He buys, rehabs and leases commercial office, retail and restaurant spaces). I explained I had just left the corporate world and was starting this new business. I asked him to give me advice on who I should connect with, on what groups should I join, etc. In the process he asked me about my business and my experience. We drank a beer at his office and it was a relaxed conversation. His wife joined us and she explained she had started a women’s group and wanted me to join (later she asked me to lead it). 3 weeks later the owner called and said “you got me thinking and I realized I need help with our books”. I signed him as my first client at $1400/month. But either he or his wife have sent me dozens of new clients.

The secret?
If you become affiliated with someone who is known and respected in the community you will have immediate street cred. You can’t buy that advertising.

Cindy Hawkins is the Managing Partner and CEO at Padgett Business Services®.