Many entrepreneurs say that getting the first customer for their new service is one of the best moments of starting a business. It shows you’re on to a good idea, that people are ready to depart with their cash for your service and trust you to deliver. It’s a good feeling!
However, let’s be honest: getting your first customer is not easy. Before you launch your service, your credibility is pretty much zero. Potential clients will not have heard of you, and so will have little reason to take the risk on an unknown quantity. While you might offer a better service at a lower price than your competitors, people are creatures of habit, and often prefer to work with what they know.
Nonetheless, if you put yourself out there and stay positive (and with a little bit of luck), you will get your first customer for your new service before long.
At Book Like A Boss, we’re an entrepreneurial bunch – we’ve all worked in small start-ups and growing businesses before – so we know what it’s like hunting for your first customer! Here are our tips on everything you need to know to get your first customer.
CAC and LTV: two essential acronyms
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Lifetime Value (LTV) are two essential metrics any entrepreneur needs to know about:
- CAC can be calculated by how much you spend on getting the customer: marketing, your website, time spent promoting yourself on social media or other advertising. If you spend $100 on acquiring ten customers, that means your CAC is $10.
- LTV can be calculated by how much your average customer spends over the time they work with you. If each customer spends $20 with you, you would have doubled the CAC – meaning you’d have a pretty healthy business model.
Why’s this so important to think about early on? Because acquiring new customers costs five times as much as retaining existing ones. If you’re planning on selling your new service for $10,000, be aware that the CAC is likely to be relatively high too.
5 tips for getting your first customer
With those pointers in mind, here are our five tips for getting your first customer:
- Create a business plan with a short description of your USP
If you can’t explain to customers what makes you special, you’re going to have a hard time convincing them to spend money with you! Your business plan needs to describe what your service is, how it works, why it’s useful and who it’s for. This will help with everything you do subsequently to get new customers.
- Research your customers
Sure, you probably naturally have a fairly good idea of who your customers are. However, you need to go further. Work out exactly who your ideal customer is, what they want, why they’d buy from you, and think in detail about what you could do to convince them that you’re the right choice. Detailed research and planning is essential here.
- Utilize your network
If you’re launching a new business, you likely have a number of contacts in the local business community. Let all those people know what you’re doing, ask those people to take a trial with your service and offer them discount rates to entice them onboard. There’s also a lot of value in speaking to your friends and family and letting them know what you plan on doing – some of them may be able to put you in touch with someone they know who’s looking for the service that you’re offering.
- Launch a website
A website is an essential tool for acquiring new customers today. Having a presence online lends credibility to what you’re doing and means people can read about you, what you do and helps potential customers decide if you’re right for them. And, creating a functional, smart and usable website doesn’t mean a huge expense nowadays – you now can set up a professional-looking website, where customers can book sessions with you and even pay for your services up front in a matter of minutes.
- Use free marketing methods
You also need to do some basic marketing. Again, none of this needs to involve spending vast amounts of cash on ads. Utilize social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to create a buzz about your product. Start groups, join forums and participate actively and, where appropriate, link back to your website. It’s also worth launching a blog. Blogs allows potential customers to read more about you, and also mean you’re more likely to appear on a Google search. And of course, you should be sending potential customers regular emails.
The right tools for getting your first customer
Acquiring your first customer is one of the most exciting moments when you start your company. There’s always a bit of luck involved but, with a little extra work, you can ‘make your own luck’.
Book Like a Boss provides a low-cost, easy to use customer booking websites which allow your first customer to book their first gig with you. Ready to book your first customers? Sign up for a free trial here.