Ask an outside consultant

  • Updated: July 27, 2008 - 10:22 PM

Q A small-business client who provides personal concierge services to wealthy customers wants to expand her business. All her business is referral-based and she does most of the work. What strategies would be effective to generate new clients so she may be able to hire more employees and shift into a more managerial role?

MARGARET A. PURCELL,

PURCELL & ASSOCIATES INC.

A This is a scenario that many new businesses face: how to grow without spending a lot of money to get in front of customers. The key is to identify what the ideal customer looks like and then to figure out single points of contact for large groups of those customers.

For instance, your client's customers are likely to be individuals who have disposable income but little time, and she might speculate that attorneys would fit this profile well. So she could contact law firms to determine whether this is a good fit and whether there is a good way to reach their employees. Better yet, she might try to get the law firms as clients. If she is able to establish herself with such groups, she will develop some expertise in serving them and it will be easier to sell her services to similar clients.

There are many professional groups and organizations whose employees or members might fit her customer profile; she should pick a few that seem to make the most sense and start making contacts until she finds groups that click. Using more time for selling will increase her client base, allowing her to hire more employees.

JAY EBBEN,

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR

OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP,

OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

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