The hardest part about starting a web development company hasn’t been doing the actual work, I am a confident developer who believes in his skills. However I missed the memo on having to also be a business man.
Below are a few ways I have found to help find clients and spread the word about your new business.
- Friends & Family – Get those business cards printed and start handing out stacks to your friends and family. If they work in the service industry give them a larger stack. Word of mouth is really your best bet when you don’t have any cash to spend on advertising.
- Old Contacts – If there is a restaurant or bar you could be called a “regular” at ask them if they need a website or a few updates. Its a good way to start working on sales pitches. A reason we started this company was we where approached for this very reason. We also have been doing freelance work for a few years and its always a good idea to outreach to those contacts as well. They might not have work for you, but ask if they know of any other businesses that might.
- Networking Groups – I stumbled into this one on accident but found it very helpful. One of the first sites we worked I was put in contact with their rep from their credit card process company. The rep works on commission and has tons of clients. Those clients so happen to be small businesses that need websites and e-commerce sites. It was a mutual benefit for us to help each other. We meet up about once a month with a few other contacts and help get leads for new clients. Simple enough, you get to name drop and get that foot in the door.
- New Liqour Licenses – Most states release information about liquor license approvals, you can view Washington States here. This is a key way to find new businesses that most will most likely need a beautiful website to go along with that Grand Opening.
- Design Websites – Once we had a few website out there we started submitting them to Dribbble, Forrst, Design Snack, Pattern Tap, etc. Slowly our sites got circulated and people began to contact us for work. It’s always nice to have that feeling someone sought you out for the quality of your work.
The bottom line is that I have learned you have to start throwing yourself out there and taking an aggressive stance towards finding new clients. Did we not land a few clients because we where new to quoting and sales pitches? Of course, but I take those as learning experiences. If anyone would share their experiences in the comments I’d love to hear about them.