I used online networks to find clients

The challenge

Finding clients. This is a common problem with many start-ups. They are not sure how to get people interested in their business and have no idea how to network.

I needed to find a way of reaching new clients without spending loads on expensive adverts.

The solution

I joined online business networking sites. Academy Online has been particularly useful. The sites were free to use and there were people on there I never would have met normally.

I could also explain what I do on my profile and let people come to me for business, which meant I was getting my name out there without spending money or ramming sales pitches down people's throats. I could also track down the people I needed to speak to easily, by looking at their profiles.

I also joined local business groups, because I think it's important to network face-to-face as well as online. I joined a BRE group and where I met and got advice from a lady who was in a similar situation as me.

For small businesses I feel that the most important way to gain support is to get your name out there and have a voice in the community. It is the basic concept of marketing and it will get you more clients because your community will think of you as helpful and informed. Networking online and offline lets you show that you are helpful and ready for business.

Key lesson

Network. Get out there and track down people that you might be able to offer your services to.

Top tip

While networking, find out from people what they are after, and even if you aren't able to help them, offer the services of other people who might be able to help. They'll remember you for it.

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