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#279: Building Business Close to Home

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, April 8, 2010
Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2010
I used to work for a large consulting firm and was on the road a lot. Now that I have my own firm and would rather spend time with my family, how do I build a solid base of local business?

Building a local base takes experimentation. Try some of these strategies, including a new approach to any of these strategies that "didn't work before."
  1. Join the local chapter of a professional or trade group in the industry in which you'd like to work. There are probably new groups that didn't exist when you last looked.
  2. Join the service clubs, chambers, and community associations in which your clients are members. Make sure you are an active and visible contributor to the community, and not think being a member on the list is enough.
  3. Get to know the local press, i.e., business, community, etc. and offer to write commentary on business trends or in response to local news. This is in addition to your social media activities (people still read local print media).
  4. Hold an event either in your home or in a club, restaurant or hotel. Do these with no expectations but bringing people together. Those who need your services will come to you.
  5. Send a clipping or printout of a relevant article regularly to your prospect list to keep you top of mind. Keep the focus local (e.g., it could be an industry-wide topic, but make your comments about how it might be relevant to a local company).
  6. Teach for the most prestigious local university or at a mid- to large-size corporate university.
  7. Offer to do a regular column for the appropriate local newspaper or magazine. You may want to team up with a partner for this, one who is already well-known in the local market.
  8. Publish a brief newsletter (hard copy or online) targeted to an industry or a local business sector.
Tip: There are lots of ways to increase your visibility but put yourself in front of your prospects in the most favorable, persistent way you can imagine. We just need to readjust our span of view from national to local. Considering that you probably only worked with a few clients at a time when you were national - remember that there are hundreds of prospects in your own backyard.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  consulting lifestyle  customer understanding  marketing  work-life balance 

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