1. A small business has problems and knows that there must be a solution, but doesn’t know what’s possible or where to turn.
2. You make contact. Through a personal introduction by a friend, relative, or business associate. Or at an industry event (their industry, not yours). Or at a chamber of commerce event. Or any local business event. Or by mailing them a postcard, flyer, or letter using a purchased list or phone book. Or in a restaurant, bar, or party. Or from a flyer or business card that someone else gave them. Or from an ad you ran in their trade publication. Or from a search that landed them on your website. Or… (you get the idea, it could be anything).
3. You meet and listen. I cannot stress this enough. This is 100% about their problem, not your solution or anything else.
4. If you have a way of addressing their problem, do it. It may be software you’ve already written, a service, or (quite likely) a prototype you mock up to show them how to attact their problem.
5. They love the fact that someone has finally actually listened the them about their problem and addressed it. Your solution is a good first step, but it still needs a, b, and c.
6. You quickly add a, b, and c to your prototype and show them.
7. They’re in love. Now you can get started.