Ask an entrepreneur: How to grow your business

If you started a business, you know that developing your business idea and raising capital is just the start.

When is it time to find new customers and grow the business, and how do you do it? Much depends on knowing your customer and how much they’ll likely spend, says Evan Burfield, who owns a tech company and co-founded startup incubator 1776

Know your customer type

Customers, Burfield explains, can be corporations or individuals.

If your customers are large businesses, you need salespeople who can cultivate and maitain personal relationships with clients. If you sell to individual consumers — for instance if your product is a smartphone app — online tools can help you find new customers.

Most businesses need both strategies. Burfield’s advice is to experiment and hire some staff who with face-to-face sales skills and others adept at using online tools to attract new customers.

“Want to know more?”

During a State Department webchat, Burfield shared more business insights. Hear his thoughts on what skills it takes to start a business; why not defining your customer “is one of the most dangerous things you can do”; and other topics for aspiring entrepreneurs.