All new business startups need clients fast. That's not news.
The question is "How?"
Did you know that there are shortcuts to client acquisition?
There are. But they don't always work.
Or, they do for awhile and then they don't.
Sure, you need such shortcuts for a boost, but more than that...
you need a strong foundation so that the results last.
I enjoy working on the laptop in one of my favorite cafes. To me, the taste of ice-blended coffee, soothing background music and typing go very well together. Well, I did not start out as an entrepreneur, like most people, I started out as an employee.
I have done a diverse number of things for a living before and those experiences made me into who and what I am today. I will just briefly mention some experiences that are relevant and that may have a direct impact on the business advice I can give you.
My first jobs in the early 1990s were banking in nature. Six plus years in two local banks and two foreign banks (Citibank and Barclays) taught me something about corporate culture and the workings within it.
I was even a Customer Service executive for Diners Club for a year - you know, make the customer feel appreciated, that sort of stuff.
Marketing & Business Development
In 2003, I was introduced to the interesting world of timber and charcoal. I was both the marketing manager for a local timber dealer as well as a business development manager for a charcoal producer. In both companies, through trial and error, I managed to open new markets – Pakistan and Australia for the former and Israel and Germany for the latter. It was here that I discovered the power of good negotiation and the world wide web.
Because of my knowledge of the Spanish language as well as my newly acquired marketing skills, I was offered a Marketing Consultant gig with a sizable local semi-government organization. I left the timber and charcoal industry and sold transceivers to telecommunication operators for the next two years. I had no idea that transceivers existed until that moment. Paid a retainer fee, I worked one day a week and made quarterly travels to Latin America with their engineer.
Those trips usually consisted of pre-arranged meetings with lots of technicalities. The only thing I liked about the gig was the marketing – launching our brand and trying to compete with the big boys. Since we were new to Latin America, part of my job was to develop a go-to-market plan, size up and recruit resellers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of trying to make our mark in Colombia, in Salvador, in Brazil, in Mexico, in Argentina, etc and going on a head-on collision with major established brands from the United States, China, Germany and Israel. It was tough but enjoyable. I learned that marketing is really more than just trying to make people buy some products or services. The exposure still affects how I see company / product launches and how I approach clients today.
It was around this period that I decided to revive the dormant translation company I registered back in 2004. I started offering translation services to the local community. I used the four remaining weekdays developing and running the translation business from a cafe near my residence.
Not sure if it was the coffee or the ambience or just the change of environment, I felt that I could focus better.
I started by tweaking and applying on this brain child all that I had learned from the banks, from Diners Club, in the timber, charcoal companies and telecommunication industry. Sure enough, with perseverance, I saw the business pick up. Just like any new business, there were teething issues and I learned to deal with them along the way.
So, from 2005 to 2011, together with various partners, we offered translation services to both local and foreign clients.
I often received calls from businesses, banks, ambassies, lawyers, the police force, hospitals, tertiary institutions, schools, etc.
I also had the opportunity to serve in locally held events such as the IMF - World Bank Meet, Interpol Meet, trade shows, etc. Together with one of my partners, we also participated in the translation of a major Partnership Agreement between Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. And, in my spare time, I developed and taught a very successful high-impact Spanish In 8 Weeks(tm) course in diverse settings.
The Entrepreneur Lifestyle
Taking on a new business and making it work was enjoyable for me. Living life on my own terms came as a bonus. Since becoming an entrepreneur, I never looked back. I worked 3 – 4 days per week on an average. I still do. On other days, I spend my time climbing trees and cycling with my girl, have meals with my wife, read a book, fish, go for a swim or take a walk by the beach. This is possible because the workings of the business have been set to bring in the clients with little effort.