You’ve done it! You’ve made the first few important moves in building and launching your ideal business. But, just because you’ve started a business it doesn’t mean they will come. I’m talking about your clients and customers. No matter what you do, you don’t have a business until you have paying customers. The difference between a business and a successful business is the number of customers.

Here are a few tips to land your first customers.

Get ready

Firstly, it is important that you’ve thought about finances. There may have been some investment in your setup but did you put something aside to sustain you? If not, spend time moving figures around now. You are going to need something to live on while your customer base grows. Look at what you have and set yourself a budget for the next six to twelve months. Yes, a budget. Glamorous, isn’t it?

Now is also the time to beef up your website. You DO have a website, don’t you? If not, that is your starting point. Most websites are not about selling, they are about building a reputation. Before they hire you, people will look online to see how credible you are. Your website should be your best credibility builder.

Before you are satisfied with your website ask the following questions:

  • What kind of first impression does your website create?
  • Does your website look professional or homemade?
  • Is your website optimized for your target keywords?
  • Does your website explain how your business is different (better) than your competition?
  • What does it say about you?
  • Does your website explain your mission and core values?

Build connections

Your ability to network will determine your success as an entrepreneur.

Another tip to land your first customers is thinking about connections. Within your town, region, or state, there are a number of business-related activities that happen. Most of these are on a regular basis and some are even weekly. Start with your local Chamber of Commerce and attend a few events to get started building connections. From there you are likely to find more events or social groups to get involved in. Even if socializing is not your thing, you need to bite the bullet and get out there for your business. You’ll be surprised at how enjoyable these events are.

While the local business community is important to connect with, so is the community at large. There is a saying “Go with what you know”. In terms of buying products or services people also like to go with who they know. Getting yourself known at community gatherings such as sports games or in religious services helps you build bonds with potential clients. You might also do some volunteer work but be sure to do it with your own good intentions. If you are just in it for your own gain, people will smell it a mile away.

Get out there

Once you are solid on the ground and starting to make some connections it’s time to get out there in the world. By that I mean get your business name out there. That Chamber of Commerce you connected with? You can give a talk there. You can write articles for industry-based publications or your own blog. You can work together with competitors on a project or as relief workers for each other when you have an excess of clients. It’s also good to start getting some PR through sample handouts or collaborating with writers to get featured in relevant publications. Lest we forget the Granddaddy of them all, social media. The quickest point between you and your customer may be a Facebook update away.

There are many tips to land your first customers, but if you think in these three broad terms you are very likely to start seeing the fruits of your labor. Focus your efforts and you be well on your way in no time.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.