What is the first step in getting your business going? You may think it’s getting a website built, printing flyers, buying a new desk and chair, upgrading your computer and getting that new smart phone you’ve been wanting. All of that, in my opinion, is wrong.
The first step is to tell people you’re in business. Worrying about all the details will only delay you and cost you a lot of unneeded expense. You don’t need any of that to go out and start working. As long as people know, you can be in business.
A quick email and an announcement on social media networks to family and friends (or any other contacts you might have) informing them that you’ve gone into business is a great first step.
The second step? Get business cards.
Business cards are the number one tool to getting new clients. You should always keep cards in your wallet and in your car. Keep your business cards easy to read and straight-forward. You don’t need a fancy business name or colors. All you need is a card with your name, email, phone number and a list of services you offer.
When you list your services on your card, be sure to use language non-techie people will understand. Be sure to list ALL of the services you offer as well. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard “Oh, I didn’t know you removed viruses…I thought you just fixed computers.” Well, to me fixing computers includes virus removal. But “fixing” can mean something different to everyone.
When I first started out, my business card was terrible. The first problem was my business name (more on that later). Everyone confused it with a large cell phone company! So when people first heard the name, they immediately thought of cellphones.
The next problem with my business card was what I had listed as my services – “Virtual Private Networks” “Data Backup” “Remote Computer Assistance”.
We had to explain each one to clients and potential clients. No one cared about VPNs. Data Backup could mean a lot of different things (to me it meant that I have my own data backup server and service, and you should use it!) and Remote Computer Assistance was confusing as well since this was before all of the remote desktop sharing services – it was another item people were clueless about.
My cards have changed over time and are now MUCH more clear on what my business is and what services I offer (in plain English of course).
So those are the first items to check off your list when starting up. I have seen plenty of people spend months picking out a name, looking for office space, upgrading all their electronics, setting up their website (still important!), etc. all before they have even ONE client, let alone work performed they can bill for.[table “2” not found /]