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What Kind of New Business Do You Need?

By: Alison Daniels - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Business Types New Business

When starting out in business, or when things haven’t being going as well as you anticipated, there is a temptation to accept any sort of work from anyone. While this might seem a great idea in the short term, it will rarely prove to be so in the longer one.

Forging a new business relationship must be built on trust if it is to last and be mutually beneficial. Many people just starting out end up doing work for far less than the going rate or free, just to get a foothold. This is particularly prevalent in fields like the arts, creative industries, marketing and PR or any sector where the competition is fierce. No-one would expect to pay their dentist less because he’s just starting out, so why should you be expected to work for little or no reward?

If you don’t put a value on your work, then neither will your clients. If possible, avoid working for people who don’t place a monetary value on your skills. You may well be busy, but you won’t be busy making money.

Mapping your Ideal Customer

Although it may seem time-consuming, it is worth the effort to map out exactly the sort of business you’re looking for, the type of customer who can supply this and the sort of relationship you’re looking for. Use the checklist below to think about what you want and use your answers as a starting point to seek the right kind of new business for you. Naturally, if you’re running a window-cleaning business, your answers won’t be the same as a freelance designer or a software developer.

Let’s start with thinking about your existing customers:

  • Who are my existing customers?
  • What types of customers are most profitable?
  • What types of clients take up more time and resources for fewer returns?

What kind of new business do you need to attract:

  • Do I need a lot of customers or just a few?
  • How many jobs do I need to do a week/month/year to achieve my desired standard of living?
  • Do my customers buy from me repeatedly or do I make one-off sales?
  • Is there a reason that my customers don’t repeat buy?
  • What size of company do I want as a client?
  • Are there any geographical restrictions on where my customers can be found?
  • What types of business are they in?
  • Are there similar business sectors that could also use my products and services?
  • Which clients do I most enjoy working with and why?
  • Which clients do I least enjoy working with and why?

Mapping what you Can Offer

Now, let’s think about what makes your company, products and services worth buying:
  • Why should customers buy from me?
  • What do I offer that is better than my competitors?
  • What efforts do I undertake to keep my existing customers?
  • How can I use what I know and who I know to find a way into new clients?

Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to put together a profile of your ideal customer, which is the first step in being able to source new business. From here you will be able to work out where this type of new business is likely to be found and the most appropriate methods for finding it.

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