Thursday, March 31, 2011

Finding customers: The Game's Afoot

Reading an old story recently from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, I found a unique description of what I call "entrepreneurial inertia."

The story, written more than a century ago, is called "The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb." In it, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tells the sad tale of Victor Hatherley, a hydraulic engineer who recently started his own practice. Mr. Tatherley then got into a spot of trouble; he should have Googled his mysterious new client. Afterwards, he came running to Sherlock Holmes for help. Here's how he starts his explanation:

"Two years ago, having come into affair sum of money through my poor father’s death, I determined to start a business for myself and took professional chambers in Victoria Street.

“I suppose that everyone finds his first independent start in business a dreary experience. To me it has been exceptionally so. During two years I have had three consultations and one small job, and that is absolutely all that my profession has brought me. My gross takings amount to 27 pounds, 10 shillings. Every day, from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon, I waited in my little den, until at last my heart began to sink, and I came to believe that I should never have any practice at all.”

It's no mystery why this man had such a dreary experience. He didn't even try to market his business. He sat around and waited for customers to find him!

Sadly, a lot of business owners still do the same thing; sit around and wait for business to find them.

What about you? What have you done this week to attract new clients and get a "sure lock" on your market?

1 comment:

Sean MacKenzie said...

Definitely easier said than done! No one likes to talk to strangers and be shut down. Why not set a goal (attainable but still a challenge) to approach a certain number of potential clients each day? A few small steps at first can lead to confidence and big steps later on down the road!

Sean MacKenzie