Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Just Ask Jac" Answers Client Development Questions from A Fashion Forward CEO

Need some start up or social media advice? Then Just Ask Jac. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Just Ask Jac column features real business owners with real business challenges seeking advice or insight on a range of topics. The Jaclyn of All Trades is here to answer questions and provide simple, new strategies while sharing them with you too. 

As the CEO of Manchester PR, (founded in November 2008 to help undiscovered designers and start up businesses put their stamp on the consumer market), everyday is a different day for Nadia.

And why is that? In addition to overseeing all client projects for Manchester PR, Nadia also writes and contributes content to several blogs and media outlets including where her articles revolve around fitness in New York.

Fashion meets fitness and Nadia has it all covered. 

Keeping busy with her writing while navigating through client management mode often presents some challenges around business development. So, savvy, stylish Nadia came to Jaclyn Mullen, the Jaclyn of All Trades to get some answers on new client development and management. Here is our "Just Ask Jac" session.

Nadia: What are the primary steps when working with a new client? 

Jaclyn: When working with a new client, it is essential that you understand their expectations. In truly defining the outcomes they would like to achieve, you can formulate a plan and structure to attain those goals. 

The first step I recommend when prospecting a new client is performing a client assessment. Provide your client with a questionnaire which asks them what their budget is as well as how much time are they willing to invest towards this endeavor. It's also important to find out their primary and secondary goals. If primary goal is an increase in sales, that's where you want to focus your initial efforts--on acquiring customers. If primary goal is branding, then you may go more of a content development route both online and offline.

The 2nd step is outline your initial strategy then determine the ability to forecast that goal. Ask yourself and the client, will we test this strategy? If so, for how long (30 days, 60 days)? What are we trying to determine from this test (how much media coverage they get, ROI)? Once you have a grasp on the strategy and what has proven successful that's where you get into Step 3. 

The third step is to launch a well thought out strategy with supported structure. The purpose of outlining and testing your initial strategy was to see what worked and didn't work. Why spend time on something that didn't reap rewards? You may utilize the approaches that didn't work in the future but right now, you want to focus on what did work to help your clients start meeting their goals as soon as possible. Relaunch full speed ahead with a clear sense of direction, clear benchmarks and a clear time commitment from both yourself and the client.

Nadia: Have you ever said "no thank you" to a potential client?

Jaclyn: Business is all about matching needs. Clients have needs that services must fulfill, in turn businesses have needs that by providing client services must get fulfilled--the most important being income.

It's really hard for any business owner to turn down a potential project. But if the client has different expectations that you can't justify with your skill set then why start down a slippery slope?

Some clients may not be ready for your services YET particularly if they haven't budgeted for them. Budgeting goes beyond the financial aspects, it shows that the client has thought and planned out their business model to ensure a healthy base and longevity for themselves. Fifty percent of all businesses fail due to poor or no planning at all. Should you assess a client and determine they aren't a good fit refer them to someone who is or suggest they incubate a little longer then reach out to you after 3-6 months.

Nadia: What are the number one goals a business owner should set for themselves when taking on a new client?

Jaclyn: Support and measure.

How can you determine as a company that this client is successful? Is it press hits, event attendance, an increase in sales? You want to quantify your results which leads to the most common goal amongst clients; increase in revenue.

If you do a good job and give your clients an ability to measure what you are providing, you can establish a long-term relationship which improves your revenue and overall profitability too.

I also want to add that another important goal for business owners servicing clients is clear communication and thorough time management. One hour is VERY precious especially as you build up your client roster. You need clear communication with the client so that you can relay their objectives to a member of your team, measure your company's ability to meet those objectives all while managing time.

And these answers aren't just applicable to fashion. They can be applied to many businesses across the board. The point is, get out there and find those potential clients. You never know which one of your prospects may turn out to be a really good business match.
Are you in fashion and are looking to branch out from being under the radar? 

Be sure to contact Nadia Murdock, CEO of Manchester PR, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm MST. 
Phone  201-218-0238

You can also keep up with the latest developments at Manchester PR through their blog and Twitter.

Manchester PR Twitter

We'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to share your client development success stories and tips in the comments section. The more, the merrier. Thanks for reading this "Just Ask Jac" sure to come back for future posts. You can also follow Jaclyn Mullen on Twitter.


  1. Excellent feature of Nadia and Manchester Public Relations. I love the points Nadia made re: time management and saying "no" to a potential customer because you're simply not the right fit with the potential customer at that time. I love the honesty in Nadia's answers.

  2. Hi Letitia, first I'd like to thank you for commenting. Nadia is a great person to feature given her drive and dedication. What is it that you do? I wanted to invite you to submit a question for me to answer via this post series. I publish the Ask Jac articles on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you have a question for your brand, business or other area, I've got an answer.