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    5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 23, 2013 4:04 PM by sharongadbois

    Pro bono, does it really work?

    Guide

      Many companies  offer pro bono services as a way to build a good rapport and help the community at the same time. Other companies offer their services as a form of advertisement. I am interested to see how many business members have done pro bono work and what the long term effects were. Tell us your experiences good and bad.

       

      Melinda

        • Re: Pro bono, does it really work?
          sharongadbois Adventurer

          This can work for you if you plan it out properly.

           

          By focusing on the reason WHY you want to do pro bono work will help you tremendously.

           

          So, let's say you're just starting out in your new business and you don't have any clients just yet. What do you do? How do you get them? Well, you can knock on doors, if you want. You can pass out business cards at a speed-networking event, or perhaps go in half with another colleague at an expo event that will bring you traffic to your table.

           

          These people that come to your table might very well be in the "buying stages" of the buying cycle or they may be "price shopping." Either or, it's good to know where they are at, and if you have a great deal, like a pro-bono service, you might very well close the deal. However, do you want to always offer probono services? Or, might I recommend you offer your services free of charge to one to three key people (keyword: key).

           

          You have to figure out who you want as customers; what qualities these customers will have and how much you want them to pay you. You also have to determine how much you're worth, how much the product/service is worth that you're offering, and what the value of this service or product is.

           

          After you figure that out, it's important to note that your business (whatever it is) has to know what sets it apart from e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e else :O) This makes it easier to target people to get business from and to know that you are not going to have to deal with everyone that comes through your door. You may not do this right away and you may try to go against my growing my pains and that's okay, because we all learn differently; however, once you grow past that "take everyone's money stage," you'll have a more clear focus on who to do business with and your business will be more successful.

           

          So the key to pro-bono service is to find one to three people who will not only benefit from your free services, but someone who you can benefit from also. Albeit, testimonials (written, photos, videos, audio, etc.), referrals, free advertising on their website and social media sites, etc. You have to determine what the "benefits" are for you.

           

          Another way to drive business to you is to barter ... a service for a service. Set a limit. And then go build it. Yes, they will come.

           

          Good luck.

          Sharon Gadbois

          TW: @sharongadbois
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            • Re: Pro bono, does it really work?
              Guide

              Hi sharongadbois,

               

              You offered some very good advice. You sound like you are talking from experience. Have you done any pro bono work in your field?

               

              Melinda

                • Re: Pro bono, does it really work?
                  sharongadbois Adventurer

                  Yes, I believe that almost everyone has to offer some type of "pro bono" service to get their business off the ground, albeit, a discounted service, a free service, a free product, something to build up your credibility.

                   

                  I have offered discounted pricing before to build credibility in my field. I have also spoken on several occasions at the local business expos and career fairs to warrant new customers. You have to pick your battles.

                   

                  -- Sharon

                   

                  P.S. Melinda, what type of business do you have? How long have you been in business? Who is your ideal customer? What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)?

                    • Re: Pro bono, does it really work?
                      Guide

                      Hi Sharongadbois,

                       

                      I own an architectural company which opened doors in 2000. We design ,and in some cases build, anything from home renovations to commercial projects. Most of our clients are residential because of our specialty (historical renovations and complicated additions). To be honest, our ideal customer are the smaller projects. Most architects can not be bothered with the "small", less attractive client. Which is what we realized very early on in the game and we were able to capture that market beautifully. Of course, the pro bono work we did catapulted us within the community as a down to earth, caring company which focuses mainly on the "average" person just trying to fulfill their dreams.

                       

                      Melinda