Situation: The CEO of a new company is building her business. She has a business plan but is struggling to bring in new clients. How do you create a roadmap for a new business?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Creating a new business is a numbers game. Draft a 3-year plan that will generate $1M in billings.
- The bottom line of the plan is bringing in new clients.
- Create a financial template that is driven by how many clients it takes to reach the financial goal in three years. Fill out the annual numbers including where new prospects will come from and set quarterly and monthly goals and activities to generate those clients.
- Develop a marketing “hook.” For example, in the case of business services:
- Fixed cost business tune-up – a low-level retainer with limits on time and services offered (up to x hours work per month or quarter on y projects)
- Fixed fee in-house service for small business – again with limits on the services offered
- Additional services beyond the limited services will be at the company’s normal rates, possibly with a discount to those on the basic retainer service.
- Create a list of desirable new clients – the company’s sweet spot. Next look for people who can connect the company with these clients.
- How to get to the target client?
- This is a funnel question. To build the funnel take three sources of clients: referrals, current business contacts, networking. How many contacts are needed from each source to generate 10 new clients per year?
- Make presentations to groups which may produce clients or referrals.
- Get to know the local business people who make referrals.
- Write articles for magazines that these business people read. Be an expert.
- To save money, use student interns from nearby colleges and universities to do some of the basic work – target client research, researching and writing articles (make then co-authors on the articles – looks great on their resumes!) This is an inexpensive win-win for both the company and the intern.