Our business' mission is to help other small business owners improve their revenues and increase their bottom line. To do so, we offer small business computer consulting services that include developing web sites, implementing computer networks and software installations, and general computer support. We could tell when the economy started to improve by the increased number of unsolicited calls we received to take on new clients. But before the economic up turn we identified ways to continue to keep our small business growing and profitable.
Make a few Cold Calls - My husband absolutely loves meeting new people and learning about their businesses. He's personable, truly interested and credible, and all of that comes across clearly when you meet him. For him, one of the best ways to generate new leads, is to spend a part of his day out in the community meeting small business owners.
Show interest in Your Clients' Business - my husband and I go way beyond the scope of our computer consulting business in order to help our clients succeed. Besides the obvious extensions of web development like search engine optimization and marketing, we've made suggestions about offering wireless services to their customers, structuring their office and waiting rooms, and promotions that might help them increase sales. While we don't ask for compensation for most of those items, they understand that our motivation is to make them more profitable, and that the work we do charge for will fulfill that same goal.
Word of Mouth/Referral - building credibility with your clients can generate many new prospects for your business. Our clients recommend us to their friends, family and business associates. What makes this ideal is our potential customers are already convinced that we can help their business before we even have an initial meeting.
Do Upfront work to Generate Interest (Loss Leader) - sometimes its necessary to spend a little time or money to make money. We have gone online to look for and assess existing websites of local businesses. If we find a business that doesn't have a web site or one that we consider sub par, we take the time to create a demo for them. This gives them a chance to see what a small investment can do for them. We've also absorbed online marketing costs for a month so that they can see what the results of advertising can do for their business. Sure, there are times when we won't make that sale, but if done right, the material can be reused for other businesses in the same line of work.
Lining Up Additional Help - unless you have a consistent amount of incoming work, hiring a full time employee may not be viable. We have positioned ourselves for growth by looking into other creative options for supplemental staff. For technology work there are thousands of skilled resources available through freelance websites. Over the past two years we've developed relationships with some contractors that we work well with, can turn around our excess work quickly and provide a high quality product we can feel good about.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a small business story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.