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13. How and Where Will You Get Your Customers?
Building a business calls for building a customer base. Find out the ways you can do just that.

Jenny set up her new design business, complete with the latest technology and a top-of-the-line office! She was excited about finally owning and operating her own business, and she thought she was all set for business!

After a couple days of getting settled, Jenny realized she had been so deeply into getting the business ready for the past month that she d left out the most important thing: how would she acquire customers?

Your customers are your business. Without customers, you don't have a business.

This is one of the main issues you must consider when you're planning on starting your own business. And after you acquire your customer base, you have to keep thinking of ways to keep them happy. The more customers you have, the more chances you have to succeed, the more chances you have to adjust your business for optimal performance, the more stability you have. Imagine having one customer: you have one chance to make a sale. On the other hand, if you have thousands of customers, you can test and try out different offers and products and get a lot of feedback. So you obviously have a better chance to perfect your marketing with more customers.

To be able to attract customers, you have to first know who your customers are and what they're like. If you don't know anything about your customers, you won t be able to attract the right customers.

To help you find your customers, ask the right questions. While you're looking for the answers, you'll end up knowing the traits of your customers.

Here are a few sample questions to ask yourself so that you can define your customers. You'll want to answer these with regard to your business.

                      How old are your customers?

                      What do they have in common?

                      What gender are they?

                      What do they like to do?

                      What makes them happy?

                      Where do they spend their leisure time?

                      What do they do for fun?

                      What upsets them?

                      What is their greatest desire?

                      What is their greatest fear?

                      What level of income do they have?

                      What level of education do they have?

What is their most pressing problem? (Hint: if you can determine this and solve it easily, your whole business can revolve around this issue.)

Some of these questions may seem too personal. The key is: the more you know about your customers, the better you're equipped to cater to their needs.

For example, if you know what your customers like or dislike, and what scares them as well as what makes them happy, then you'll have the ultimate tools to provide the correct service by protecting them from something they want to avoid or by offering something they want. I'm sure you may not be able to answer all the questions now, but do your best with the information you have.

How Will You Contact Your Customers?

Now that you know something about your customers, you need to contact them. Here are some considerations you'll have to look into:

                      Where is the best place to find your customers?

                      How can you reach many of your customers at the same time?

                      How will you contact your customers? (newspaper ads, radio, TV, word of mouth, grand opening, hiring a professional?)

Will you make contact face to face or by other means such as phone, Internet, mail, TV, radio, or print advertising?
Once you know who your customers are, know a little bit about them and the best way to reach them, then you have a lot more than most people even consider or even know about their customers. And that's why most marketing fails not knowing enough about the customer or even targeting the right customer.
Creating a successful relationship with your customers takes time; testing and tracking are ongoing tasks. But at least if you can answer most of the above questions, then you're off to great start!
Now you're ready to start the never-ending adventure of marketing your products and services to your customers.

That's the way
I see it. To Your Success!
Tunji Afuwape

Action Steps to Acquiring Customers

                      Identify the target market of your business.

                      Answer the questions above (feel free to add any other relevant questions of your own) to understand your target market more.

                      Determine the best ways to reach your audience. For instance, a highly tech savvy audience will most likely not rely on print Yellow Pages but those who are older and live in areas not 'always online' will.

Important Points to Acquiring Customers

                      If you build a business, customers WON'T just come. You need to target them, find ways to reach them, and maintain a relationship with them. Don't forget them after the first sale and they won't forget you.