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how to start own comp. if no contact

maybe it will be lame but:

I decided that sooner than later I want to start my own company / consultancy service. I have 8 years of work experience, from system design, implementation to project management, writing presales materials.

However in the past 8 years I lived in an incubator, and basically I didn't make any contacts. I realized it was a huge mistake, but I cannot turn back time.

So the question is how to find contacts and how to find work? What do you, what % of companies reject outsiders who knock in the door, and offer their services? What 'best practices' do you guys have?

I'm not in the US, I'm in Eastern Europe, if that changes anything.

na
Wednesday, October 01, 2003

"However in the past 8 years I lived in an incubator, and basically I didn't make any contacts. I realized it was a huge mistake, but I cannot turn back time."

Teams tend to have more success than individuals - find one or more people who have the abilities/contacts/ideas/drive/whatever that you know you lack, and team up with them.

The world is full of crumbling/crumbled one-man companies who had the right idea, contacts, etc. but lacked the time, money, etc.

If your company has to compete and succeed, it has to have everything  the customer wants (and more!), and more important, it has to have the customers.

Martin A. Boegelund
Wednesday, October 01, 2003

As someone who switched from software engineering to insurance sales here are some ideas:

Advertise low end stuff: we fix computers, networks etc ... this will get you in the door, talk to them about their problems and see if they have a friend complaining about their billing system or something. Give everyone a brochure listing all the services you provide. Also realize that like most eastern europeans you are probably a general computer guy (we do everything) business people like specialists however, so don't put we do everything in your brochures put 5-10 popular things and stick with that

You probably don't have business contacts, but ask the people you recently worked with, stayed in touch with. Even 3 or 4 people may be a gold mine
you would be surprised how many people just 1 person
can refer you. One of my customers has already reffered me 7 people and counting.

Networking groups, get together with a few other business owners (from different businesses) and trade refferrals get together once a monh/week to make it formal.

Advertise emergency services on evenings/weekends.

Make it a rule that no one you meet from now on will walk away without a)knowing what you do b) a way to contact you. Also practice a 10 second speech regarding what you do.

Give seminars on how to do basic stuff for free/low cost.  Contact charities/entrepenuership groups, they may already be doing this.

Teach at users groups

Never ever underestimate the power of bribery!

The artist formerly known as prince
Wednesday, October 01, 2003

If you are interested in doing tech support (ie as your own business dealing with home users/ small business) then you should read:    http://homepage.mac.com/monickels/techjob.html 

Even if you aren't, it's got some good general points about starting a business.

Matt
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Matt, thanks very much for that link.  It's an excellent article.

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Thursday, October 02, 2003

The link Matt provided seams to be broken. I get a message "We're sorry, but we can't find the HomePage you've requested. " Does anybody know the right link?

Branko
Friday, October 03, 2003

I think maybe I got a spurious character in the link. It worked when I pasted the URL into my browser but I got the "not found" error when I clicked through the link. Apologies.

Matt
Friday, October 03, 2003

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