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The secret to growing your small business faster: Go after the big fish

·3 min read

One of the biggest issues almost all small businesses face is how to grow.

It is a subject I have always thought a lot about, but especially over the course of this last year as I spent most of the COVID pandemic writing a new book ("Your Small Business Boom") about that very subject.

While I will share more about the new book soon, today, I want to drill down into one of the strategies covered because it can help almost any small business become a bigger business.

The idea is this: While many small businesses sell to the general public as well as other small businesses, the secret here is to target, woo, and work for bigger clients and customers because bigger clients have bigger budgets.

A so-called “big money” client or customer is either a person, company or an organization that has a significant budget. Entities like:

  • Major corporation

  • Governments

  • High-net-worth individuals

There are a lot of ways to target these bigger clients with bigger budgets.

A friend of mine who is a real estate broker did it a while back under pretty tough circumstances and his story is illustrative.

In 2008, my pal was selling single-family homes. He made a decent living, but it was a lot of work: driving all day, lots of showings, deals falling through, etc.

Where do you find big-money clients? The essential idea is to hop online, do some research, target likely prospects, and then use social media, websites, and your own network to forge new connections and strut your stuff.
Where do you find big-money clients? The essential idea is to hop online, do some research, target likely prospects, and then use social media, websites, and your own network to forge new connections and strut your stuff.

And then the Great Recession hit.

The economy fell off the cliff due to the bursting of the housing bubble and his entire livelihood was suddenly at risk.

Very quickly, my friend’s deals dwindled. Scared and not knowing what to do or where to turn, he went to see a family friend who was an experienced real estate broker. He was given this advice:

“I’m going to tell you the secret,” the friend said. “You can do little deals or you can do big deals. You can have little clients, or you can have big clients. You can stick with selling single-family homes or you can sell apartment houses and commercial real estate. And here’s the thing: If you switch to selling bigger properties for bigger clients, you will not only make a whole lot more money, but basically, you will be doing so for about same amount of work.”

In a few short sentences, my pal was given the keys to the kingdom.

And the fact was, he really had very few other options. Given that, and that the idea of actually growing his business in the middle of what was then the worst recession in 50 years sounded great, my pal decided he had little to lose, a lot to gain, and so he would re-invent his real estate business.

So he did the following:

  • Started taking classes on commercial real estate

  • Began to take commercial real estate brokers out to lunch

  • Hired an assistant who specialized in marketing

  • Re-branded himself as a high-end commercial real estate broker

Over the next year, even though the real estate market tanked – and even though my pal was able to close only a few deals that entire year – he made more money in those three deals than he had with all of the single family home sales he had closed only two years prior.

These days, he routinely makes seven figures selling high-end commercial properties.

So, where do you find these big-money clients? The essential idea is to hop online, do some research, target likely prospects, and then use social media, websites, and your own network to forge new connections and strut your stuff.

Check it out. After all, what do you have to lose but those dinky paydays?

Steve Strauss is an attorney, speaker, and the author of 18 books, including his latest,"Your Small Business Boom." You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.com, get more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed.com, and connect with him on Twitter @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Small business: How can you grow your business more quickly?

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