How can you maintain and expand your client network when working from home? Ali Golds, founder of Creative BizDev, gives us her top tips.
14th July 2016
Working from home has many plusses but one downside could be the lack of passing trade or water cooler recommendations when it comes to finding clients, that other businesses often profit from. So how can your business ensure a ready flow of clients, and more in the pipeline?
Focus and prospect
Distractions abound when working from home; from partners, children and pets through to unannounced visitors, the washing-up and the TV (‘I took 30 minutes out at lunchtime to watch a recorded episode of my favourite show, only to get so caught up in the plot that I then ploughed through 3 more…’ a coaching client once confessed to me). However, in order to develop a client base – from wherever you work – focus is key. Blocking out a firm couple of hours at least each day for prospecting, with distractions stopped at the office door, is crucial. Once you get into the habit it becomes like second nature, and the results pile up. Only spending an hour here, and an hour there, is guaranteed, I’m afraid, to ensure that success is elusive.
Trade shows and conferences are also useful for gaining contacts.
Networking is a non-negotiable for any business but even more so when you run one from home, which can become quite isolating. Getting out and about, and meeting other business owners on a regular basis, not only helps put challenges into perspective but also offers a heads-up for potential sales, partnership and collaborative opportunities. You can choose from local or national events, online or offline, industry related or general business – all tastes are catered from.
Trade shows and conferences are also useful for gaining contacts. If you look hard enough you could find one a month to attend and, given that most have thousands of delegates, that’s a lot of potential clients to choose from! Networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and a lot of people avoid it if they can, but I would caution against this. I get it; networking can be tedious and intimidating but it can also be full of friendly faces, and a great revenue generator. See the positives, overcome the negatives, take a friend or colleague along, and get exchanging business cards.
Be social with your media
Social media is a brilliant way of making connections, gaining useful contacts and getting new clients.
Social media is a brilliant way of making connections, gaining useful contacts and getting new clients. I’ve done it myself. It shouldn’t be seen as a hit and run, here and there, tactic but a long term strategy that needs regular priming and constant interactions. From starting conversations, through to hunting out the business contact you’ve always wanted to work with, it is a much more informal setting and people are more inclined to connect. When you work from home you tend to keep more flexible work hours – and this is a boon when it comes to the various twitter hours, or social media networking groups who ‘meet’ in the evenings or weekends.
Develop Superfan Clients
And finally; one thing that all businesses should do, home based or not, is ensure that clients are at the heart of everything. Exceptional customer service, and a top class offering, will enable businesses to develop what I call Superfan Clients; clients who will buy everything you sell, bring new business direct to your door, and become unofficial brand ambassadors. All businesses need Superfan Clients, and all businesses can develop them but only when they’ve identified who their client really is, and how they can give them what no other business does.
Find out more about Creative BizDev here: www.creativebizdev.co.uk