3 Easy Strategies for Getting New Catering Business in 2013

Do you experience that sudden drop off of business in January that so many catering businesses face? After a grueling—but successful—holiday season, do you welcome the break, or by the end of the month, do you start to feel a little anxious? Do you start looking for ways to find new business faster and stay on everybody’s radar? This eternal question reminded us of 3 easy strategies for getting new catering business.

Last month, we talked about how to stay on everyone’s radar through the busy holiday season. If you kept up with your advertising, blogging, and other social media outlets, then at least you maintained your visibility with your current and potential clients.

Once your calendar frees up a little bit in January, try these 3 specific strategies for getting quality face time with new and current clients, so they’ll remember you for their next event, big or small. You can start lining up these opportunities leading into January.

1. Charity events. Volunteer at charity events or do them at cost. If you’ve got nothing but time, you’ve got nothing to lose. You’ll bolster your reputation as a caring leader in the community, and your staff and food costs are tax write-offs. Also, if you research the charity you’re helping, you’re likely to find that the charity’s audience demographic matches the demographic you’re looking for. It’s great PR AND you can feel good about giving back to a good cause.

2. Network. Now is your time to schmooze. Deliver cookies and goodies to businesses you’ve always wanted to work with and help defeat the January office blahs. Attend networking events in the community. Better yet—sponsor and cater your own event! Businesses and organizations that actually sponsor networking events are more likely to be remembered and thought of later by the people and businesses who attended the event. Throw a small “Thank You” reception for past clients and acquaintances, or have a business mixer. Tell people you’re inviting all the coolest people you know whom you feel should know each other. People will be flattered and will welcome the opportunity to make new connections.

3. Think kids. Kids can be big business. Can you put together a small catered kids birthday package that has good profit margins and isn’t too much hassle? Think about partnering with local places, like kids’ gyms (like a Romp ‘n’ Roll or Little Gym type of place), coffeehouses that cater to moms and their kids (Richmond, VA, has Cartwheels and Coffee), museums with kid sections (or even children’s museums), and other kid-centric businesses. This advice goes back to the last point about networking. Look for business partnerships in your area. These smaller types of parties may be a good way to fill in holes in your schedule not just in January but all year long. Bonus—parents are almost sure to be a good referral source for more business later.

These are just a few of the techniques that have worked for us and some of our clients. What are some of the strategies you’ve used to create momentum in a New Year? We’d love to hear them! Please share them in our comments section. After all, there can never be too many good ideas floating around out there.

Here’s to a successful and prosperous year!