Oh my goodness, did you do something with your hair? You look fantastic! But let's be honest, it's easy to polish a diamond.
Ok, pleasantries aside, one of the top questions I get asked is "How did you find and land your first client?". After successfully starting and growing two companies alongside being in the middle of launching two more, here are some of the top principles I stick to.
Pound the pavement 🚶♀️
You have no reputation. At the start, it's a numbers game. The core metric to focus on is "How many people know about me or my company?". Start brainstorming what your target market or customer looks like.
With MiniCorp, I knew we could build exceptional digital products faster than anyone else, so I put us in front of people who had fantastic ideas but little finances available.
I also focused on messaging. Could I easily describe what the company does do a 10-year-old child? If that child told another, what do you think they would describe my company as?
It sounds crazy but "we rent scooters to anyone" is a lot simpler than "we are a SaaS company for light mobility". The more people that understand you, the more people that can recommend you.
Flex a little 💪
No one is going to buy from someone that isn't confident. Of course, there is a fine line between confidence and ego but you have to learn to sell.
With MiniCorp, I believed we were exceptional at building digital products. There were only two of us but I believed it to my core. Now, 5 years on, it has been validated by the work we do and the team we have. Be strong in your conviction. I promise you, others can tell.
Humble pie 🥧
This coincides with the "flexing" a lot. I've found that being confident opens the door but being humble keeps the conversation moving. I've gotten a lot of pushback by being too confident. When I am humble, the other sides barrier starts to come down. This is where a relationship can start to form and you can gain really strong insight into what they are actually trying to accomplish.
A strong relationship will also get you a recommendation even if the deal does not go through.
Cut your teeth 🦷
Do not be afraid. The first time you do anything it is scary, challenging and raises lots of anxiety. It is all completely natural and it's a good thing. It is the people who are at kilometre 35 in a marathon and continue to push themselves through the "my entire body is telling me to stop" phase are the ones that actually get it done.
Lean into this. Build up your strength around it and the future is yours!
Reflect and document what has worked well, what has gone poorly and all of the learnings in between. Even if you do not go back and read these notes, for me, they help to distil all of the thoughts in my head into something tangible. It helps me not to make the same mistakes twice and more importantly, to note what is working and double down on it.