How can start-ups attract enough customers to make money?

Kye Parkin
Communications Executive | Business West
18th January 2017

You’ve got a great business idea and you’re ready to take on the world – woohoo!

Maybe you’ve jumped straight in at the deep end and quit your job in order to get your venture off the ground? Perhaps you’re dipping your toe in the water - following your dreams with a passion project or ‘side gig’ in the hope of one day making it big and being your own boss.

Whichever camp your start-up falls into, the opportunity to take control of your own destiny and bid fond farewell to the rat race is an enticing prospect that more and more Brits find too good to pass up on each and every year.

The number of new start-ups in the UK is at record levels and more people in the UK are registered as self-employed today than ever before. Yet for all the advantages associated with being your own boss, there are a number of significant downsides that many business owners and entrepreneurs find difficult to cope with. So much so, that half of all start-ups in the UK ultimately fail- dashing the budding entrepreneur’s dreams of self-determination and untold riches in the process.

The main reason that start-ups fail, quite simply, is because they do not make enough money to survive. Although business planning is vital if start-ups are to eventually turn a profit, most start-ups will fail not as a result of their own incompetence, but because they struggle to find enough customers to buy their products and services.

There is, of course, no one-size fits all solution to help start-ups attract and retain their first customers. But if there’s one single piece of advice I could offer it would be this: get out there and get noticed.

Business West has been helping members of all shapes and sizes get their businesses noticed for many, many decades, and if the years of experience have taught us anything it’s that early brand recognition can make or break your start-up’s chances of success from the outset.

If potential customers have never even heard of you, the chances are that they aren’t going to buy from you. It is therefore vitally important that start-ups do all that they can to raise their profile and get noticed fast!

But how should business owners and entrepreneurs go about it?

You could (quite literally) shout about your business from the rooftops – Bath Abbey, Cabot Tower or Cheltenham Town Hall perhaps? But given the high risk of injury (and indeed arrest) that is carried by such guerrilla marketing tactic, tattooing your start-up company’s logo on your forehead suddenly comes into view as a much more appealing (and far less drastic) option.

After mulling over some of the more unorthodox customer acquisition strategies at their disposal, most sane entrepreneurs will decide to play it safe and plump for more traditional means of drumming up business through sales calls, social media and print advertisements for example.

But are they worth the time and the money? And is there any guarantee that they will work?

However which way you choose to get noticed, successfully attracting customers starting from scratch is seldom easy, which is why start-up business owners and entrepreneurs often need a helpful leg up. Business West Chambers of Commerce membership provides start-ups located across the South West just that.

In joining together and harnessing the power of a 21,000 strong network of businesses across the region, we help start-ups to attract valuable customers by raising their profile and empowering smart customer acquisition decisions, helping businesses across Bristol, Bath, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire grow from promising start-ups into household names.

How did we do this?

In 2016, we achieved an audience share of approximately 25,000,000, giving businesses such as Polydron, Kiddimoto and Shiner the opportunity to promote their unique brand in-print, online, on radio and on TV across a variety of local and national media outlets.

Our events attracted 4,000 attendees, enabling a significant proportion of our start-up members to foster long-lasting connections and business relationships with partners and customers, putting them on the path toward exponential growth.

We regularly feature start-up member news, case studies and promotions in our email newsletters and on the pages of our in-house magazine, Insight. Online, the Business West LinkedIn group incorporates nearly 10,000 active members; our Twitter following is approaching 14,000, and with the launch of our new website there are now even more ways for start-ups to get their name out there. Totalling over 15,000 unique visitors and 50,000 page views every month, a dedicated member dashboard allows up to 6 employees to share company news, offers and opportunities.

What’s more Business West Chamber of Commerce members are given access to marketing lists, start-up funding advice and a variety discounts and schemes absolutely free of charge.

Business West loves start-ups and that’s why we offer all this for only 68p a day – a heavily discounted rate that is designed to help new business owners and entrepreneurs grow.

Start enjoying the freedom of running your own business and be confident of success - join the Business West Chambers of Commerce today!

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