How to Attract the Right Clients and Other Must-Read Business Tips
A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
One thing entrepreneurs must learn is that not every client is a good match for them. Rather than trying to win over ill-suited clients, let them go and focus on attracting ones who will appreciate your work. "The goal is for a prospective client to know who you are and how you conduct business from the get-go, which will ultimately increase your new business hit ratio immeasurably," says Sara Rotman, the founder and chief executive of MODCo Creative, a New York City-based branding agency.
For this reason, you should leave nothing to chance when it comes to crafting your brand identity. Everything from the copy on your website to the language used in your proposals to the design of your business cards should convey who you are. Even the way you let people go can affect your reputation in the marketplace. "If done with great tenacity, these details will effectively pre-filter potential clients to ensure that they are predisposed to working with you," Rotman says. "As a result, you will soon find yourself working with companies and individuals who value not only your work, but how you conceive of and execute that work." More: Why Pre-Filtering Clients Is Essential to Your Success
Stop posting so much about yourself.
Brands that tweet and post updates only about their own products, services or content stand at great risk of turning people off, says Kim Lachance Shandrow, a tech journalist in Los Angeles. They are the equivalent of the boor at the party who only talks about herself. "You'll quickly come off as too corporate, self-serving and disconnected from your customers and their needs," Shandrow says. She recommends instead following the 80/20 rule of Steven Strauss, author of The Small Business Bible (Wiley, 2012). According to the rule, 80 percent of your social-media posts should address your customers' problems, and only 20 percent should be about your own company. Pro tip for solopreneurs: the same rules apply to individuals. More: 3 Annoying Social-Media Mistakes Businesses Need to Avoid
To get millennials as customers, market to their parents.
When marketing to millennials, the most social generation in history by some measures, you have to take into account their network of people whose opinions they trust. That starts with their parents. "Millennials care deeply what their parents think and, as a result, are unlikely to make decisions without their parent's input," says Christie Garton, the founder of U Chic Media, a publisher of books and online content aimed at young at women. Not only that, but it may be Mom or Dad who is holding the purse strings. If that's the case, Garton says, "no longer is it merely about how their primary target reacts to the message." You have to think about how your desired customer will communicate your message to his or her parents. More: If You Want Millennials to Love You, Skip Them and Market to Their Mothers
Make self-sufficiency your first entrepreneurship goal.
Although entrepreneurs tend to set their sights on the moon, it is often better to start with a modest goal for your business. Walter Chen, founder and CEO of iDoneThis, a startup that allows companies to celebrate employees' achievements, recommends $1,000 in sustainable monthly profit as a reasonable goal. That amount is about enough to cover your rent and the cost of microwave ramen -- the beginning of self-sufficiency. "When you have to rely on a salary to make a living, or your company needs to rely on investor money to continue to exist, your autonomy and creativity become limited," Chen says. "When you're making $1,000 per month, you begin to be able to cover your rent and that self-sufficiency slowly transforms into a dawning sense of limitless possibilities." And who knows where you will go from there. More: Why You Should Ditch Your Billion-Dollar Business Ambitions
Make employee wellness a priority.
Employee wellness programs differ widely across industries and from company to company. But it should be a priority. For inspiration, you might look to Twitter, which offers on-site yoga, pilates, Wing Chun and CrossFit classes to the 1,000 employees in its San Francisco headquarters. Amy Obana, Twitter's HR and Wellness program manager, says the programs are a way to reduce the risk of burnout in an intense work environment. "Twitter aims to avoid this by offering diverse fitness and wellness programs to encourage renewal so that as employees we can manage our energy better and get more done in a sustainable way," she says. More: How to Encourage Employee Wellness Without Being a Jerk