(This week I thought we’d revisit some posts that have appeared on this blog over the past year. I know we get new readers often, so I thought I’d point out some posts I thought shouldn’t be missed. This post about attracting new customers first appeared in January of 2008.)
When starting up a business, one thing most people know that they need is customers. After all, you can have the best machines in the world, buy the best supplies, and create the greatest embroidered designs, but that all won’t matter if you can’t find people to buy what you create. Every business needs customers to stay alive, and it isn’t enough to just open the doors and hope a customer or two stumbles through them. You have to go out and recruit customers. The following are a few simple ways to do that without spending a huge amount of money.
Method #1: Wear Your Work - One of the best advertisements for your business, and a great way to get people into your shop is for you, your employees if you have them, and your family to wear the garments you embroider. Make sure you always have a supply of business cards on hand, so when someone asks where you got that great jacket or shirt you can hand them a card with all your contact information on it.
Method #2: Donate your work – Most communities are always having a fundraiser or some kind or another. Maybe the school is raising money for a new gym, or your church has an annual Christmas bazaar. If it is allowed, ask if you can set up a booth to sell your work, and donate half the proceeds from any sales you make to the event. If you are not allowed to sell, donate some items. If you do donate, make sure that your business will be recognized in some way, either in a program or through an announcement during the event. Again, make sure you have business cards available to hand out to those who ask about your work.
Method #3: Join local business groups - Most cities and towns have a Chamber of Commerce. There may also be a variety of other clubs and organizations in your town which target a specific business group. Investigate these organizations and pick one or two to join. This is a great opportunity to network with other business owners. Don’t be afraid to mention your business and to ask for leads from other business people in your area.
Method #4: - Ask for Referrals – Once you do start building your customer base, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. One method of referral would be for satisfied customers to recommend you directly to others. Another might be for a satisfied customer to give you a list of people on whom they think you should call. You can also ask satisfied customers for testimonials, which you can use to show new customers the kind of work you do.