Better clients make for better business. But how exactly do you find and captivate these “better” clients? For small businesses, working with a poor client versus working with a good client has transformational business advantages. Imagine responsive communication, prompt payments, and improved cash flow—all of which contribute to a much healthier and profitable business. How exactly do you identify and find these type of clients? 1. Conduct Research To Find Your Ideal Client First of all, if you currently have more than one client, think about which client you consider to be better than others. Use this “ideal client” as a template to help you find others just like them. Ask yourself: What makes them your ideal client? Is it because they’re responsive and easy to work with? Do they pay you on time? Do you enjoy the work opportunities that they provide you? Each of these questions are important to consider when defining your ideal client. However, enjoying your work is just as important as the client who pays you. For instance, if you take pleasure in designing websites for small to medium size businesses and find that you are fulfilled working in that specific market, then you’ll know that you don’t enjoy working for large corporations. Another way to find your ideal client is to reveal what you don’t like about a client. For example, if you’re working with a client who is always responsive, but once you send an invoice for payment, he or she constantly goes “off the grid”, your dream client would be the opposite. It’s important to conduct proper research to find your ideal client right from the get-go. Use this period to help you assess all future clients (sort of like a screening exam) to ensure that these potential clients meet the criteria of your “ideal client template”. Often freelancers are so keen on landing a gig, they overlook the red flags during the on-boarding process. 2. Pinpoint Where Your Client Spends Their Time As a small business owner, knowing exactly where your ideal client spends their time is critical to acquiring better clients. If you know where they hang out, you’ll likely be in a good position to pinpoint, attract, connect, and sell your services to them. To find out where your clients hang out, ask yourself these questions: What types of websites do they frequently visit? Which social media platforms do they usually use? Are they a part of any LinkedIn or Facebook groups? What kind of offline events do they attend? If you’re a freelancer, you may be surprised at how easy it is to get this information by simply asking them. However, if you’re a small business owner (who manages a team), a simple way to pinpoint this information is by conducting a survey by using tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or even Google Forms. 3. Start Building Relationships With Better Clients So you’ve reflected on these questions and completed your survey(s) and you now know where your ideal clients gather—it’s time to connect with them and build relationships! There are a couple ways to do this: Website: If you know which websites they frequent, consider establishing yourself as a thought leader at those “hang out” spots. Start by writing relevant, educational, and informative content on topics that are related to the type of services you offer. How to do it: If you’re a small design consulting agency that provides a variety of design services and you know your ideal client tends to browse articles on HOW Design, you could write a blog post in the Freelance section about how to set yourself apart from other designers. Because you’ll have an author by-line with a link to your website on the bottom, this client can easily contact you for design services. Social Media: Similar to websites, make sure you are active on the social media networks that your ideal client is active on. How to do it: If clients are more active on Twitter, be more active on Twitter. If you can, establish yourself as a thought leader on the networks that they tend to use. Connect with them and share content that’s relevant to the industry. 4. Practice And Perfect Your Pitch If you’ve found and connected with your dream client, then you should know that reaching out to them to sell your services is a whole other ball park. Make sure to perfect your pitch to ensure that it’s on point, tailored, and directed to the right person. Remember: practice makes perfect in this scenario! If you’re a freelance writer pitching to a potential client, why not mention their name and even go above and beyond by mentioning one of their recent articles that you’ve read and enjoyed? Before you pitch to them, spend time researching the company or person to better understand their needs. Personalize your email to them—the last thing a potential client wants is a “Hi, I can provide XYZ,” without seeing that you even understand what kind of services they need. 5. Acquire Better Clients By Offering Value Nailing down your value proposition is key to communicating the benefits or value you offer to your clients. The better you know your own value proposition, the easier you’ll attract the types of customers you want, and filter out those you don’t want. Effective value propositions convey a clear and concise message—it should highlight your unique value, promise certain benefits, and often include testimonials for social proof. Often, they contain a headline, sub-headline, bullet points, images, and sometimes even a video. Spend time working on your proposition and make sure to include it on key pages on your website including your home and services pages. Conclusion: Get Started Acquiring Better Clients Bad clients can be detrimental to the overall health and profitability of your small business. They can have an adverse impact on your cash flow, not to mention cause you more stress in the long run. Learn to avoid bad clients altogether by using the five steps above to build a healthier and more profitable business. After all, a healthy client relationship means that you are paid on time, have good communication, and gives you the opportunity to grow together—making for better business in the long run. Once you’ve found and acquired your better clients, the next step for growing your small business is to simplify your bookkeeping. Try Kashoo for free today to see how we can organize your (new) income to further improve your cash flow!