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Planning on going solo? Read this first

These past few months have caused most of us to re-evaluate our careers in one form or another. For most of us, that’s meant establishing a more permanent home office as we realize that our work can be performed at least in large part remotely, with significantly little overhead. Some of my colleagues have used the pandemic as their cue to make a move, either to a new position within their organization, or to a new team altogether.

The bravest ones in my view, though, are those who dare to go solo.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage and determination, to decide to open one’s own business. You make the choice to place yourself in the driver’s seat, and the power that comes from making every decision is accompanied by the responsibility of accepting any consequences. You are now in charge not only of your own work product, but also the work of any staff who support you along that journey.

Yet no matter what industry you are in, the struggle for every new entrepreneur is the same - how to get new clients?

Referrals are, of course, always welcome. Family, friends, and even former colleagues will ideally support your new venture, and will be happy to keep an ear to the ground should anyone be a fit for your services. Yet the reality is that those referrals, while kind, can be fleeting and are usually not sufficient to build a complete business.

In order to really build up a client base, you will need to communicate with the general public. For some people this is a natural skill, but for others it can be quite challenging. You may be wonderful at what you do, but this may be the first time that you are required to go out and sell your services.

So, take a step backwards and think, ‘what does future clients really need to know?’ The answer is based around the age-old wisdom of the 6 W’s:

  • Who are you?

  • What services do you provide?

  • When do they need to call you for help?

  • Where do you provide services?

  • Why should they call you (and not your competitor)? And last, but most importantly

  • How can you help them or someone they know?

That’s it! When you think in those most basic of terms, you will then be able to make the information as clear and straightforward as possible.

If you are a criminal lawyer, for example, your clients don’t need to know every single facet of your business, nor the ins and outs of criminal procedure. They’re likely having a difficult day if they’re searching for your services, and so you need to make this information as clear and as straightforward as possible. Your potential clients need to leave any interaction with your website knowing who you are, what you do, how you can help, and how they can reach you.

The same goes for an accountant providing personal tax services. The circumstances may be less dire, yet your potential clients are likely scrambling at tax time looking for your exact services. They need to know in very simple terms what services you can offer, why they should choose you, and when they should call (ideally earlier next year!).

For real estate agents, where competition is fierce, knowing who you are can go that extra mile with your potential clients. Branding is everything in real estate, and while success will speak volumes it is still a business built on relationships. Rather than read in-depth about your sales strategies (which you can certainly publish and make available), your future clients need to learn quickly from your website who you are and what you are able to offer them.

Remember, opening your own business is still hard work, but the widespread availability of the internet today means that marketing your business has never been easier, and is affordable as well. Your future clients need to be able to find you easily online, and if they can get the right information quickly, the odds of them retaining your services will improve significantly.

Marketing your business IS my business. Contact me today to discuss how we can create online content for your business that answers those 6 Ws quickly and clearly in order to help your business grow.

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