UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Customer Needs

How to Find and Keep Customers

Customer Needs

Landing that loan or finding the equity investor--pretty sweet feeling, But landing that first customer? That's what it means to turn a startup into a successful and sustainable business. 

Below, we share tips and tactics for finding that first customer and keeping them coming back.
Know Your Target Market
First step toward finding that first customer: understand who your potential customers are and how your product or service will benefit them. Follow these tips to find your target market, brainstorm your benefits and reach potential customers.
To dig deeper into the demographics and psychographics of your target market, do some market research at your local library or visit Pew Internet for the latest research and data on the online habits of your potential customers.

Find New Customers with Social Media
You know social media is an effective tool to raise the visibility of your brand. Here are more tips to help generate leads and attract new customers.

Learn from KC Startups’ Direct Marketing Successes
Learn how three Kansas City entrepreneurs used direct marketing to grow their Kansas City startups in this recap of the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association’s Oct. luncheon.

  • Sock 101 used Facebook ads and retargeting to increase revenue 10x over the last year. 
  • LittleHoots used email and personal marketing to drive traffic to their Indiegogo fundraising campaign and as many as 150 new app downloads in a day.
  • Ligo grew 2,500+ new subscribers in less than a month, thanks to targeted direct marketing tactics and partnerships.

Don’t Neglect the Old School
Face-to-face networking and business referrals can be golden tickets to really connecting with potential customers, communicating your value and building a relationship. In fact, landing referrals from networking or past business associations is an inexpensive way to pick up new business and boasts the highest retention rates.

Alana Muller, author of Coffee, Lunch, Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking, shares how to network like you mean it. Pro-tip: use Eventbrite to be strategic about where you’re going and to find out who will be there.
How to Keep Them
Delivering on your brand promise and providing exceptional customer service: that’s how you keep customers coming back—and even turn the toughest of customer critics into evangelists.
Here are a few tips on building customer advocates—and even turning them into your salesforce.

Need Help?
Use our Resource Navigator to find Resource Partners in your area who are ready to help you define your market, build your brand and find that first customer.
Here’s how to search for folks who can help you target your market:

  • Under “Area of Assistance” select “Marketing/Sales”
  • Under “Specific Need,” select “Market Research.”

Add your zip code, your industry and your business stage to narrow the results to your location and your niche.

How can we help you?

Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Kansas City every day.

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