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Nine Ways to Land New Clients for Your Startup

You've just launched your business, but without clients it's going nowhere fast. Use these tips to reel them in.

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If you've just launched your , chances are you've come to the following realization: You've got to land some new clients fast--or else!

I've been there. And I've discovered some secrets to landing business in ways that are free, fast and downright fun!

First, set your attitude toward success by doing three things:

  • Be bold. Don't take anyone's advice about not doing something that will make people pay attention to you (as long as it's legal, of course).
  • Be creative. Startup time is your most creative. In fact, when business owners who've been around awhile ask me what they can do to add new zest to their businesses, I ask them to tell me what they did when they first launched-and do it again.
  • Give up your fears, doubts and insecurities. You'll love yourself better when you do!

Next, take action:

  1. Make a website that gives you credibility your prospects will appreciate. For tips, visit my website at
  2. Dash off to a quick printer for fast business cards. Don't worry about making something perfect.
  3. Unless you're hiding from the law, add your photograph to your business card. It tells prospects you're for real. Have a professional photographer take your photo, because you need to look your best.
  4. Create a verbal "30-second commercial" that says something powerful about your business. As an example, here's mine: "I'm Pete Silver, and I'm in the business of helping small businesses get new clients fast without blowing lots of money on unnecessary expenses. As a former journalist, I know how to use free publicity in the media for my clients, and I write websites and other materials that persuade prospects to BUY. My website is"
  5. Distribute your card everywhere you can: bulletin boards at supermarkets, universities, public libraries and anywhere else people congregate who possibly could be your clients.
  6. Contact local groups and offer to give a free 20-minute informative speech, and guarantee them you won't try to sell your service or product--and stick to it. Merely by not selling, your audience will be interested in getting your card, and using the next technique I will give you, you'll get their names for follow-up.
  7. Tell members of your audience that you're going to have a free drawing. They should all put their business cards in a box, and you'll draw the winning card. If they don't have business cards, they can write down their names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers on a blank card you supply, and then the drawing takes place. It could be something you normally sell. If that's not possible, offer a bookstore gift card.
  8. Practice the art of "give a card, get a card" with everyone you meet--except double your odds. First, ask them for two cards and say that if you run into a prospect for their service, you'll give out the extra card for them. Then offer them three of your own cards and explain that since you're a startup, you'd appreciate the same favor in return!
  9. Read your local newspaper and see who writes about new businesses. Write up as complete a backgrounder as possible about your business and deliver it to that person--along with your photograph. When it appears in the newspaper, quickly reprint it to distribute as a flier everywhere you can.

Pete Silver is a homebased entrepreneur who's launched several successful businesses from his home over the past 20 years. He's also a creative marketing specialist and author who travels widely as a speaker and seminar leader. To find out more about Pete or his coaching service, log on to

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.

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