If there was a magic wand, we would wave it... but getting new customers takes some trial and error. Here's how to start:
As a business, what it all comes down to is do you have customers? Even if you're working on your passion project, love what you do AND are the best at it, you still need to keep the lights on and get people through the door (or onto Zoom). So... how do you get customers?
While we wish we had a magic wand to make it happen without any effort, the reality is, it takes time to become a well oiled machine. When you first start out, you may find yourself taking on any customer you can get, but we want to be clear: you are in control of who you work with, and you can be picky. That's a little PSA we want to share, because challenging customers can be defeating, and the reason you work for yourself is to be happy. Okay cool.
Next! The fun part - getting customers...
Know who you want to reach, and be where they are:
Before you get a customer, you have to know who you want to be your customer? Do you have a specialty, a niche that you cater to, a demographic that is younger or older, localized? Do these people congregate online or in physical locations? Set up shop where they are.
Whether it’s Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, a local directory or marketplace, at a studio in town, or office down the block - make your presence known and be clear about what you do and how to get in touch or book time with (share your Bounce House URL!)
Practice writing and speaking about your value and business:
Create a list of 3 ways that you help your customers. What are you an expert at? What service do you provide? How or what do you help people with? Get used to articulating your services, methodology, and previous experiences. As a business owner, there’s no room to be timid.
Starting a business means promoting yourself and your services. The only way to do that is by feeling confident in your ability. If you’re still not sure, practice with friends or family.
Promote yourself through content, marketing and even advertising if you have a budget:
When you are clear about who you want to go after for new business, and how you want to articulate your business, it's time to shake off any fears or discomfort about self promotion and put yourself out there! As much as we'd love to say that just because you made a social media profile and a website, you'll be inundated with interested new customers, that's not how it works. You have to put in continued effort in hopes that your message resonates with people! Check out our more in depth guides on promotion on social media, locally, and starting with advertising:
Use your web site as a place for organizing inquiries:
Your website is the only place on the Internet that you own. What do we mean by that? Well, social media profiles and Thumbtack profiles can only go so far as a means of discovery, you are beholden to a larger company's algorithms and search capabilities. Having a website is really valuable because you decide where and who to share it with. Lean into having a website with Bounce House and a place to organize messages and your customers.
Lean on your network:
Don't be shy to ask for a little help from your friends! A lot of new businesses rely on friends, family and their larger network for a boost. It's okay to kickstart your business this way, and you simply never know who really will become a long term customer. If you ask your network to share to their social media audiences or via email/text to their network, you may be pleasantly surprised at what comes back to you!
Keep up with old or existing customers:
Once you’ve worked with a person and created a positive relationship, this person can be valuable for a few reasons! One, repeat business is key to sustaining your business, and two, a happy customer can drive many referrals to you (aka free advertising). Don’t underestimate the value of your existing customers.
Re-engage with old customers through periodic newsletters, announce updates to your schedule, comment on what's going on in your industry. Create incentives for them to come back. If you can’t afford to give a deal on pricing, ask for a testimonial, review on Yelp or Facebook, or refer a friend instead.
Try and re-evaluate:
Whether you're totally new to being a business owner, or multiple years in, something that works now may not work later. That's the way it goes and it's okay! Stay flexible and nimble, and continue reiterating on your marketing and customer communication. You will find a way that works for you, no doubt.