Q: I recently was let go from the information technology department of a major company. Tired of the corporate bureaucracy, I decided to start my own business. I have great computer skills but I never sold anything in my career. What do you suggest?
A: Getting started is the toughest part of building a new business. Knowing what you don’t know can be even more important that what you do know. If you have worked for a company and have never sold products or services, you need to develop this skill.
Business coach and sales trainer Al Turrisi has some great tips:
▪ Go to Google and look up each industry in your chosen area and make a list of the companies you will target. Then, go to each of their websites to gather information on the executives. If you can’t find names, Google “who is talking about company xyz.”
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▪ Join local chambers of commerce and business associations within the area you have chosen and join committees. You will be with the movers and shakers. Work to make the committee successful and develop a reputation of being a giver and helper.
▪ Book all events from the association and chamber and go to every event with the goal of arriving a half-hour early, and stay at least a half-hour after the event. Set a goal of speaking with 10 people or more, and book three or more appointments.
▪ Build a website and blog, blog, blog. Create checklists, reports, and tips you can give away. Each time you meet someone, get their business card and start to build a database. I suggest you get some inbound marketing training, like Hubspot.
Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications. Readers may send him email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter (@smallbizprof) and Facebook.