These days, more and more people are choosing to become freelancers, solopreneurs, or entrepreneurs. Whereas the employees of the past dream of job promotions, the current trend among employees is to make it on their own. This affords them more control over their time, their workload, and their income. It enables them to engage in the kind of work that they’re passionate about or where they think they can grow the most. Moreover, it allows them to get things done their way, which is especially appealing to those who are highly creative or who like to think outside the box.
Building a Customer Base
I, too, have been freelancing for years and plan to later move from being a solopreneur to having a staff working for me. However, one challenge to going solo is that I have to build my own customer base because my earnings will basically depend on the number of customers I have.
I came from working in the corporate world where other people were responsible for getting new customers and maintaining customer relations. I didn’t have to worry about these administrative things then. I just had to focus on whatever role or tasks I was given.
However, transitioning to being a freelancer or a solopreneur means that I have to do things that I didn’t have to do in my role as an employee in MNCs. I found myself wearing all hats – human resource personnel, accountant, manager, mentor, and marketing personnel among others – all at the same time. I had to manage and mentor the people who work with me, and take care of their compensation. I also had to take care of securing new projects and new customers.
I especially find customer relationship building to be quite challenging as I came from a job that did not involve direct customer interactions. As such, my first challenge was how to keep track of all my customers, both the existing and the potential, as well as my interactions with them. Business cards provide me with the information I need to connect with the customer. However, the physical nature of business cards makes it hard for them to store. I have so many business cards in my purse that I may need another purse for them soon. Some of them date back to several years, which means that most of them are already folded at the ages and already look worn and torn. For sure, I would have lost some of the business cards I got, too. Moreover, with the many business cards I’ve “collected” over the years, I honestly can’t remember who most of them are or for or what kind of interactions I’ve had with the customers when I met them. Some of the business cards have notes written on the side or at the back, but after some time, the handwriting would become ineligible. Moreover, if and when I need to contact a specific customer, it would be a tedious task to look for that customer’s business card.
I also tried using Excel to keep track of my customers’ contact details, as well as my interactions with them, but it’s such a “crude” way of managing such information. Moreover, with the many Excel sheets I’m maintaining, each for different purposes, it can be so easy to forget updating the customers’ information. Writing these down in an organizer or planner is even worse as information in it can easily get lost.
Being someone who’s just starting up a business and who still has a small customer base, it doesn’t really make sense to have a database created for this purpose. It would also be too soon for me to hire marketing personnel to take care of these things. As a startup and with my business still in its infant stage, I should be able to handle as many of the tasks as possible on my own.
KleverNote – The Best App for Small and Startup Businesses
You can then imagine my delight in finding KleverNote, an iphone app, which features various types of templates. I actually find all of their templates useful, but the one that I need most at the moment is the template for Customer Profiles. It’s like my purse of business cards and my Excel sheet of customer interactions put together. The Customer Profiles template allows me to save the customer’s business and contact information, as well as information on the last interaction I had with them.
This makes it easy for me to recall who the customer is and what their specific needs are. Also, by having information on the nature of my last interaction with them, I am able to determine what my next action would be – whether I need to follow up on their request; get back them with answers to their questions; or offer them a new product or service based on their needs and their last purchase.
I also don’t have to worry about the number of my customer profile records increasing as KleverNote can handle this. In addition, it has a Search feature that allows me to easily find the profile of a certain customer.
Indeed, this is a great app for small businesses owners or startups that are just beginning to build their customer base. The KleverNote app is free, which means that business owners have a cost-efficient way of keeping track of information on their customers’ profiles and on their interactions with their customers.
Another feature that I like is that the template is customizable, which means that I can change the colors if I have certain colors that I work with better. I can also add or remove fields as needed. This assures me that I can keep track of any and all types of customer informations that I’d like to keep track of.
I know that as my business grows, I’ll have to move to bigger databases or to more sophisticated ways of keeping track of my customers’ information. However, in the meantime, since I still don’t have that many customers and since I still don’t have any staff, the best option I have is KleverNote’s Customer Profiles template. It’s simple, comprehensive, and gets the job done!