Attracting Customers for a New Small Business – 5 Clever Steps

Setting your foot on the path of entrepreneurship is a bold and clever decision. However, it requires some additional moves in order to make it work. Even if you have the best business idea since bread came sliced, it will be pointless if you don’t manage to attract a sustainable number of customers.

This is a long-lasting process that needs to be taken seriously from day one. The following strategies will help you target, contact and acquire new customers for your new small business.

Decide who you want to target

No businessperson should enter the business arena without knowing their target audience. While it doesn’t have to be strictly defined at that moment, you need to have in mind who your potential buyers are. For example, if you’re launching an online shoe store, you can focus on both male and female adult buyers. Creating an avatar for the potential buyer is one of the most important things you need to do. Don’t try to create an image of multiple customers at once. Instead, take just one customer and imagine how he would look like. Where he hangs out (online and offline), what his interests are, how old is he, what’s his level of education. Deciding your customer’s demographics is one of the most important steps you need to do before launching your store.

As you launch your website and start adding products to it, as well as other bits of content, you’ll also start narrowing down your initial target audience. This part might also largely depend on the suppliers you have at your disposal. For instance, if you have a reliable shoe supplier for several particular brands shoes, go with that. Here you should also adapt your content and SEO strategy to the audience you’re going to target.

Build trust through unique selling proposition

Naturally, the end goal of most business contacts and collaborations is making money while providing top-notch services. This goal is achieved in a smoother way when the entire process is sugarcoated. This is where building trust with your potential customers is of greatest importance.

As a new business, you’re yet to show why a customer should opt for you and not for someone else. So, what you need to offer them is a unique selling proposition (USP). This statement will define what your business does and how your customers can benefit from what you do. It has to carry some special value, which will make it easily recognizable for your new customers. In fact, the key question a USP should address is the following:

Why should I choose to do business with you instead of any other option available to me?

That’s why it’s more a creative thing, rather than a mere marketing element. Simply put – ask yourself what you don’t often see in your niche and offer that to your potential customers. Find the gap.

For example, Domino’s Pizza is a great example for that.

You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free!

Pay attention that here they say nothing about how good their pizza is. Instead, they address 3 different things: they make a promise (“fresh, hot pizza”), it’s time specific (“delivered to your door in 30 minutes”), and has a guarantee (“or it’s free”).

By defining your USP, you’ll raise people’s interest in your business and form a group of first loyal customers.

Take one lane at a time

A new small business should start with a smaller number of services and products that will be provided to their first customers. That way, you’ll avoid scattering your attention, energy, and assets on too many things. As a result, you’ll be able to deliver all your products and services in a responsive way, which will, in turn, improve your trustworthiness among customers.

For instance, Richard Branson first launched a business that sold records via snail mail in the early 1970s. Only when he mastered the basics of business did he spread his field of interest to other business branches. He first built a Virgin brand which became popular with its customers and then expanded his work.

This is a pattern that clearly works, which is why every new entrepreneur should try and follow it.

For instance, the e-store owner we mentioned as an example in the first paragraph should stay focused on shoes and keep gathering assets for additional services. Going for too many footwear and clothing items from the very beginning could be too much for a rookie businessperson.

Rely on referral marketing

The word of mouth has always been one of the most effective ways to make a business work.

The online business environment has opened new opportunities for satisfied customers and aspiring business owners to share their experiences.

This is why you should include some elements of referral marketing in your marketing efforts.

When a customer makes a purchase on your website, they should be encouraged to invite their friends to do the same on your website. This incentive can be packed in a popup CTA-message on the website that will be activated immediately after their purchase has been made.

Alternatively, you can go with an email incentive – send your buyer a follow-up message on their email address with a thank-you note for their purchase. Also, invite them to refer their friends and family members to your website. Logically, they need to be awarded for every referral they make. It’s up to you whether you’re going to reward them with some coupons, discounts or freebies.

Get in touch with other entrepreneurs

Generating new customers can be achieved in some indirect ways, as well. The more visible your business is, the better chances you’ll have to be noticed by a larger number of potential customers.

Again, you could turn to various online places, in order to start expanding your business network.

LinkedIn is a great place for making initial contacts with fellow businesspeople. There are also some new search options on LinkedIn that will help you accelerate the search process and make it more efficient.

Apart from that, you can follow, comment and reach out to dozens of businesses on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Use the hashtag with your business name and take part in various discussions as much as possible. By doing so, you’ll be seen both by businesspeople and ordinary users of social media.

In addition to online communication, don’t hesitate to launch an offline campaign and get in touch with other business outside the Internet. Attending trade shows, exhibitions, guild events and business conferences will help you equally promote your business to other business ventures and potential customers. Therefore, make a plan what events you’re going to visit and start putting it to practice.


The baby steps in business are the most difficult ones. That’s why it takes a lot of determination to make a business take off upon the launch. If you clearly define how your customers will profit from working with your business and offer some incentives, you’ll grasp the attention of the initial target audience. When they recommend you to their friends and acquaintances, you’ll start building a network of customers. Still, don’t rest on laurels, but always search for new prospects, business partners, and new markets as your business keeps growing. It will ensure constant business growth and will build trust with your customers.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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