Clients are your pap and vleis

Your new business is likely to struggle over the first three years, a time when you should expect to overwork and underpay yourself.

During this time, passion, courage, dedication and a team of positive people will carry you through.

You need customers so you need good sales people if you will not be selling the product yourself. And if you do undertake the sales, you must sharpen your selling skills. Be careful who you hire. You need people who can convert any prospect to a customer.

Most people start businesses because of their technical expertise and years of experience in an industry. You might have experience in designing, manufacturing or selling jewellery, but you will need all these skills to run your own business successfully.

You need to know your customers and how your product or service will satisfy their needs. Make a list of your prospects and try to find out as much information as you can about them.

If your prospects are companies, search for information on their websites, talk to their call centre or employees. After collating the information, try to set up appointments with people in the companies.

Be precise at the meeting and show you know what you are doing. Ask pertinent questions that will help you understand the client's needs. Customers don't just buy products or services. They buy from people and want to know you and what they will gain from the transaction.

Nurture relationships with clients because it costs far less to sell anything to an old client than to woo new customers.