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How do I build a client base? Any ideas?

By juscelinoacevedo ·
Hello All,

To make a long story short, I currenty have a decent job that pays okay with a nice title of Assistant Director, which has taken me 5 years to reach. However, due to the fact that the company I work for is not great when it comes to compensation I decided to start my own business (http://www.jma-tech.com).

Here's the problem, I have no clue as to what to do to build a client base. Another fact that does not help is that I really do not have much money to put towards the business because we all have bills to pay at home. As you can safely assume, noone know about my company and would probably not believe that I can actually help them, because I have no references.

Can anyone suggest ANYTHING that would be helpful in letting small businesses in my target area know that I know what I'm doing and can help them without spending money that I do not have? I know it sounds like I'm being cheap, but it's just the reality of my situation. Thanks in advance...

(Sorry, I thought it was going to be a short story...)

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Sorry, it's me again, one more thing

by Oz_Media In reply to How do I build a client b ...

I love your site, it is very profesisonal and clean, well done! I would MAYBE think about changing some of the header text from the script used to lay it out a little cleaner but other than that it's a great start.

Your logo, quite cool, somewhat techie and fancy looking. BUT, it doesn't offer name or brand recognition. I would go with something that clearly uses your company letters for now.

I helped one company with a face-lift (which pretty much what I do for the most part, help companies rebuild their market presence, increase sales/marketing efficiancy) and they had been around 23 years with the same logo, which WAS their initials but nobody recognized it as such and therefore didn't tie phone calls and promo together, it wasn't recognizable like the swirl on a PEPSI can etc. But notice that AT&T and Pepsi have distinctive logos but their company name is still clearly underneath it.

I remade the company's logo into a simpler, more recognizzable yet just as modern looking logo and the initials took off, they went from having a condensed company name used all the time, to customers referring to them by their aconym and their marketing took off as everyone recognized them immediately. VISUAL is everything in print marketing.

This is all just another dime from Canada, use your company name and clear intitals EVERYWHERE. Logos are cool but only when immediately recognized as a brand logo, sorry but you haven't go that far YET.

Again, I wish you all the best of luck, it's tough and it's fun, just don't give up on it/yourself!

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Thank You to EVERYONE...

by juscelinoacevedo In reply to How do I build a client b ...

I have to thank everyone that has replied to this post and inspired to be patient. After reading and re-reading the replies, I now have a better understanding of what I need to do. I have to be honest and let you know that prior to this post I was always doubtful about posting on these types of sites, because I truly believed that noone cared or had time to respond; I am very glad that I was obviously wrong.

You guys have given me some great ideas that I will definitely be trying out starting ASAP. Sadly, I feel like you guys believe in me more than I believe in myself, but that will change as of now because I WILL be successful. If anyone is interested in contacting me directly, you can do so at juscelino@jma-tech.com. Please feel free to continue posting if anything else comes to mind, and thanks again.

Juscelino M. Acevedo

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Sample Contracts...

by juscelinoacevedo In reply to How do I build a client b ...

It's me again. Does anyone have any sample contracts that I can compare to the ones that I have? I am simply looking for the most flexible contract that I would be able to use in many scenerios. Thank you.

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Practical Steps to Take to Increase Business

by lfoster In reply to How do I build a client b ...

Let's be practical. First are a few tweaks you need to your website: The specific services you offer that appear in light gray appear until I moused over them to be inactive links -- change the color to the blue of the bullet points. Also, as soon as possible, fix the front page -- some customers will not bother to look at the left-hand column when they read your update notice and think the entire site is inactive. Finally, make sure you use key words that will attract search engines.

But the website is just the frosting on the cake. You can go after specific assignments thar are posted for freelancers (e.g., Guru.com -- not the most expensive, but definitely the one that has many postings). Be sure to have business cards made that have your company and website on them. Hand them out like popcorn (as long as you are sure that your business doesn't violate any contract with your current employer about providing competitive services). Find local tech meetings, business clubs, professional association meetings and pass out cards; offer to speak on simple computer problems and fixes (e.g., "When to Call a Tech Professional for Help"). Finally, be realistic about the number of hours you can work and the times. Your website focuses on serving companies, but if you work full-time, this is a night/weekend business where you will find more success in home repair and set-ups. There are also opportunities for providing tech support to companies such as Dell and Gateway in your area where they have promised service at home under service contracts. They hire local tech companies to provide on-site support. Hope this helps. Most of my work is provding business plans and business development consulting to small businesses, so I understand the problem you are facing. Good luck in your venture!

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key words that will attract search engines.

by Oz_Media In reply to Practical Steps to Take t ...

It's not that easy. Each search engine uses different algorythms, there is an extremely fine balance that needs to be met for EACH search engine as far as the number of Meta's, how often keywords repeat in the body copy, even proper keyword positioning within a body copy paragraph will change your ranking (word weights), ALT tag recognition, number of words in META tags must be different as one engine will drop your page for using more than 5 Meta keywords while another will REQUIRE a dozen etc. What works for one engine will disqualify you on another you need to use different doorways and even completely different websites to be effective in different engines.

In the case here though, I doubt search engines will be strong a source of business. It will be people receiving PRINTED information/business cards that will end up on the website.

But to say, 'add keywords that will attract engines' is just like saying, optimize your webpage for visibility, just too vague and somewhat misleading in a way that could actually reduce page ranks. I find that Keywords really have very little to do with the grand scheme of site positioning, perhaps why I have found a market for companies needing to get better engine ranks, there are a lot of myths about search engines, and they usually get pages disqualified rather than ranked higher.

The rest of your post makes complete sense though.

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Keywords...

by juscelinoacevedo In reply to key words that will attra ...

In all honestly, I am not looking to my website to attract business. The website is simply there as an extra. Someone posted something before to the extent that the website is there to show how legitimate the business is, which I agree.

I have not really spent much time on the website and probably will not while I concentrate on other issues, such as getting my first client.

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Exactly

by Oz_Media In reply to Keywords...

Before sending out ANY promo, letters of introduction etc. YOu MUST at least fill the pages or simply don't have them on your site for now, add them later.

No, internet searches will not benefit you even if you had top 10 positions, you would have misleading stats of 50,000 people who woulf never be able to use you anyway.

But don't forget to push your website on EVERYONE, business cards, follow up calls even "Okay well keep me in your IT file and call me if you woul dlike a competitive quotation, have you seen my website yet? Well it will better describe us if you don't have time to chat right now." It also allows for more follow up of course, people won't have time when you first call them, they will ask you to send them something or they will ask for your web address, follow up on these requests and force the person to pay attention.

You'll do it, just DON'T GIVE UP!!! Too many people quit too easily, if it was easy nobody would ever go and work for someone else.

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Acquisions/Mergers

by juscelinoacevedo In reply to How do I build a client b ...

Does anyone have any opinions on acquisions and/or mergers. Here's what I mean. I had previously decided that I would contact local companies who pretty much offer exactly the same services that my company offers and ask to help them out and/or take over accounts they would like to get rid of.

I was contacted by one individual who is a financial partner to one of the companies that I contacted and we will be meeting to discuss a possible future. I am willing to do almonst anything to get clients. Here's where I got a bit confused...

After thinking about it, will I be able to keep my company name? Will I be working for this person or will he just provide me with clients for a cut? Will I be able to continue getting my own clients or will I be able to only support his clients?

I know that I can and will ask him these questions, however, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas since the meeting is a couple of days away? Thanks in advance.

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Probably getting ahead of yourself...

by Matthew Moran In reply to Acquisions/Mergers

Your original post was how to win clients while still making a living doing what your doing, doing it on a budget, and doing it limited hours.

Really, it is this simple. Make a 1 page case-study or something you've worked on in the past. Have your contact information at the bottom. Get it into the hands of controllers and CFOs for small (30-100) person companies in your area (door to door). Get names and ask when you can follow up and then follow up.

Really, it is that simple. Brute force numbers over a 2 week period of time will be 10 weeks of analysis and advertising for the independent any day.

For an idea about case-studies, take a look at:
http://www.cbtoolkit.com/consult

Don't worry, I'm not fishing for business. I only work for companies that are geographically advantagis and convenient. I'm in Scottsdale/Phoenix and commute 30 steps from my bedroom to my office 9 days out of 10. The other day I drive 15 minutes, 20 minutes max.

The case-studies have not been updated in awhile because I don't distribute them. I have a copy of an article I wrote about what technology should achieve for a company and I distribute that to C-level execs.

That is important to understand. Your market is one thing, your buyer is another. Determine your market (small bus., insurance, legal, manufacturing, etc.) and then find your buyer.

Don't over-analyze becuase as you start you will find that somethings work for you and some don't. More important than over-guessing all of these factors is to get started.

Seriously. Try to have a conversation with 5 potential clients by the weekend. It is Monday so this is definately do-able by Friday.

Good luck and report back.

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I accept your "challenge"...

by juscelinoacevedo In reply to Probably getting ahead of ...

I will contact potential clients as you suggested and report back. However, I'm sorry if I sound like a dumb-***, but one thing that I know for a fact is that I'm not a salesperson. Any suggestions on how I can introduce myself without being hung up on or walked out of the door?

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