When beginning a new business, every business face two main problems – selecting the right product people would pay for and how to fund their business.
While tough to manage, the best start-up founders have been able to face both the above-mentioned challenges by making their early customers notify them what exactly are their preferences and expectations from them, while simultaneously paying them (the early customers) for getting the business off the ground between consulting and initial versions of the product.
Here are some tested tips that can enable your early clients to help streamline and re-design your product and also getting them to pay you to build your business:
1. Build Trust
When you have the correct level of belief and trust with your client, doors will automatically open. Build trust in your product which can just be perceived from the outside appeal.
It is very important to make sure that your customers feel secured when they are shopping for your product. Hopefully, you have relationships to give warm introductions to your customers. It is very important never to leave your customers puzzled. The more you communicate with your customers, the better it is.
The social platforms can play a crucial role in building trust and belongingness amongst your early customers.
Regular, blogging, forum posting, or great content about your business, brand, and products on LinkedIn or other social platforms can earn you the reputation you need to come to the forefront and in front of the right people and initiate substantive communications.
2. Offer Consultation
Doing a consultation will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of the customers. It helps you to know their problems more precisely and also helps you earn some more money on the side, probably at a high hourly rate.
Not to forget that, for whatever reason, customers are always in a mood of paying extra money for human hours as compared to products. So, it is very important to spend some of your time doing consulting work for your clients.
3. Be Transparent in Dealing
Pretending that you are already well-established can put a cap on the creative aspect of the conversation that means few of the insights you want to push your business style forward. Transparency builds trust.
There has to be an environment that encourages transparency and the sharing of ideas without any kind of judgment. Operating a transparent business indicates respect for customers and employees alike.
When the outsiders have an opportunity to understand and see how your business functions behind the scenes as well as the activities that are contained in all of your business operations, they will more probably have admiration and respect for your organization.
4. Know your Customer
You won’t be in a position to solve any problem without intense knowledge of the subject. That is the reason why listening is essential. It would be very difficult for you to know about your customers’ issues without taking some of your time to care, empathize, and listen to your customer.
However, it is easier to reach the goal of any business when you listen to your clients and understand their requirements. In fact, there could be nothing more constructive for the quality of your service than listening to what your customers say.
5. Set up Contracts with Clear Terms
If you are in a position to get paid upfront for the whole year on new contracts, you get a number of cheap financing to develop your product and team. This concept is mentioned as the “float” or negative working capital.
Just think of an insurance company and all that it does with the premiums it accumulates for years before they have to pay out a policy. This allows the company’s business to rise without the need to raise debt or equity capital.
For entrepreneurs, the upfront capital is irreplaceable. For your clients, it is not very worthwhile as the payment has already been made in their annual budget and will just sit in a bank account until paid to you.
Offering a small discount on upfront payment can be a great thing in a negotiation. It will make your customers happy and you too.
Thus, getting early clients to finance your business is within the reach for the majority of new businesses. The merits of client financing over debt and equity financing are appreciable. It is non-dilutive, with no control loss and no personal risk. While it is more difficult to put yourself out there in the absence of a refined outcome, the profits far exceed the costs.