Entrepreneur Workflow: Communicating With New Business Clients

Last night I presented to a group of entrepreneurs participating in 100 Urban Entrepreneurs and it turned out to be an amazing session!  I shared how I entered the field of technology and what helped to me to decide I wanted to an entrepreneur.  I stepped the group through my discoveries of what worked and the obstacles I encountered.  Finally I recommended three essential web apps that were instrumental in helping me grow and manage my business.

Here’s my presentation which I created in SlideRocket (love this tool!)

 

A Business Built On Communication

My key points were:

  • Communication can make or break your business
  • Make it easy to do business with you
  • Your goal as a business owner is to make the customer feel at ease
  • Make sure what you deliver matches the customer’s expectations
  • Be available pre and post sales
  • Focus on making the ordering process easy for your customers
  • Billing should be straightforward and clear
  • Your customers are your biggest marketing tool
  • Use WordPress to build your business website

3 Essential Communication Tools For Entrepreneurs

After I shared my personal story of becoming my own boss, I moved into a toolkit to help these budding entrepreners professionally manage their interactions with prospects and existing customers including:

Google Apps

Professional Domain email plus shared calendar, documents and virtual phone number with Google Voice

Highrise

Contact Relationship Management tool to keep track of who you talked to and when.  Keep all your staff in the loop and close more deals

Harvest

Online time tracking, invoicing and reporting with support for Quickbooks, Paypal and reoccurring billing

QnA Resources

There were a TON of questions from the entrepreneurs after the presentation!

Everything from SEO to marketing strategies.  I’m listing the links I covered during the QnA here:

Question: How can I market my online cupcake business and not spend a lot on marketing?

Takeaway: SEO zen is happens when both Google and people agree your content is valuable.  Focus on what your visitor’s needs are and answer it with great content.

Question: How can I grow my membership site and figure out what my competitors are doing?

  • iDevAffiliate – Affiliate Tracking Software – Affiliate Program Software – Take advantage of affiliate networks.  Use software to create and reward people for referring new members.  You can also hold offline events and ask existing members to bring new members, rewarding them with say, 50% of their renewal for the next year.
  • Compete – Compare your site traffic to a competitor.  Visit similar sites and understand how visitors at the other sites are engaging with the content…and each other.
  • “Do you want to grow your membership or your profits?  More members doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue.”  <– everyone liked this reply I gave!

Question: How can I get more exposure for my product?

YouTube – Channels – Show people how to use it.  Record interviews of people who should be using it.  If it’s food, show people how to cook with it.  Be visual.  Make your product fun.

And more links as the QnA continued:

The tweets were super awesome:

What is 100 Urban Entrepreneurs?

This is an excerpt from the website that Ryan Stoner provided to me.  He’s the one who contacted me a year ago about helping with this mentoring initiative and I am really proud of how it’s developed and it was an honor to be involved and I’m looking forward to more involvement with this organization!

100 Urban Entrepreneurs (100urbanentrepreneurs.org) is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping provide a meaningful, long-term economic boost to urban communities throughout the United States by supporting
entrepreneurship and risk-taking businesses at their earliest stages.

The primary goal of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs is to identify, fund and mentor 100 of the most promising people who might otherwise lack access to startup capital and a professional network. The urban community in particular has always exhibited an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit and good ideas, and our goal is to provide the tools to help talented young dreamers create viable, profitable companies.

The 100UE Funding and Mentoring Program is the leading partner for young urban entrepreneurs who are looking to start and build a business. Our aim is to break down the barriers between you and professional success — improving your company by exposing you to the business-building essentials, valuable resources and expert mentors you need to fuel your growth.  At 100UE, we pride ourselves on our accessibility — we’re here to help you start your business, and we’ll support you when you encounter obstacles. We know what it’s like to be a first-time entrepreneur who needs guidance and assistance.

Once you’ve “graduated” from the program, you’ll become even more deeply integrated into the 100UE family — encouraged both to rely on and to assist other graduates and those currently in the program as well.  The 100UE Funding and Mentoring Program is an eight-week bootcamp in startup entrepreneurialism. We’ll help you develop your idea, enabling it to get to the point where it’s ready for additional outside financing — or whatever further steps you decide to take. You’ll be paired with other entrepreneurs in your incoming peer group; once you’ve successfully completed the program, we’ll pair you with a graduate entrepreneur group specific to your industry.

The presentation was recorded and I also recorded the audio so if they send me a copy, I’ll post it otherwise when  find time (oh, that oh so precious commodity that continues to elude me), I’ll post it here.

I’d also like to spend time exploring some of the interesting businesses the entrepreneurs have created and how they can save money by reinvesting marketing efforts in their core customers.

The goal of this program is to prepare these new business startup to have the right mindset to be successful and which is managed by the organization, The Cash Flow.