You are a benefits professional. You also help business clients with their insurance needs. Many existing businesses already have benefit plans in place. You want to find some new businesses that will be hiring and staffing up. How can you find them?

  1. Talk with your local bankers. It is likely you are not direct competitors. You do not make loans and they do not sell health insurance plans. New businesses need to set up company checking accounts and establish lines of credit. Although they cannot reveal confidential information, they might be agreeable to mentioning your name if a new client asks about a service the bank does not provide.
  2. Look in the business journal. If you live in a metro area, there should be one. They should have an online presence and a print edition. There might be a section listing new businesses. There also might be a section listing real estate transfers and business sales. Really big entrants to your market probably merit feature articles. If you do not have a business journal, the business section of your daily and Sunday paper should have this information. Make it a point to get these publications. Review them at least once a week. Have a strategy to at least send a letter of introduction.
  3. Talk with your realtor friends. Ideally your broker friends are also involved on the commercial side. If not, get some more broker friends. They should know who is retiring and selling their business or moving to the area and setting up shop. They may also be bound by confidentiality, but there are often signs and ads advertising commercial property. Look for sold signs.
  4. Do you know any property developers? Ideally, you want the ones building shopping centers and office parks. Can you find out who the new tenants will be? Often there is signage announcing who has contracted for construction of the building.
  5. Look for Grand Opening banners. This approach is so obvious, but it is worth mentioning. Drive around the commercial district. Look for the bright colors. You cannot miss them.
  6. Who are the new chamber members? In previous columns, I mentioned Chamber of Commerce ambassadors help recruit new Chamber members. New members and new businesses get written up in the Chamber newsletter. Back issues should be online. Approach the new chamber members. They are likely businesses.
  7. Look for new construction. OK, so you might not know any property developers. Look for big holes in the ground surrounded by fencing. There is often a "future home of" sign. If not, can the construction crews tell you who is going in and when the building will be completed? It is likely the new owner will be onsite in the final stages as the interior is fitted out.
  8. Walk through shopping malls and professional office suites. Look for "Coming soon" signs in shop windows. Look for new names on office park directories. Develop a system. You can at least send a letter welcoming them to the area. If you are a chamber member, you might become an ambassador. This gives you a reason to approach new businesses and invite them to join the chamber.
  9. Read the local newspaper. Local papers are great! They are boosters for the local community. They do stories on new businesses. Reading the local paper also gives you topics to talk about with current clients.
  10. Know any venture capitalists? This might be a long shot, but it is worth following up. Perhaps one of your former college classmates got into this business. These folks might be angel investors, putting up the money that enables someone to turn a good idea into a new business. This might really get you in on the ground floor, just as they start hiring employees.
  11. How about business brokers? These are the folks who help an owner sell their company for the best price possible. There might be possible business with the current owner, but more likely with the new owner. Can your friend, the business broker, introduce you to new owners?
  12. Who do your current clients know? This is another obvious idea. Your clients know their competitors. They know who is new to the market. They know who left the firm and started in business on their own. Assuming the relationships are friendly, they shouldn't mind sharing this information.
  13. Do you have shared office facilities in your market? You have heard of WeWork. It is one of several firms providing co-working office space. Businesses today might not have one fixed address, but they have employees. Perhaps people work from home. Regardless if they work in a physical location or virtually, they still need benefits.
  14. What about business incubators? Sometimes these are located on college campuses, other times they might be privately run or affiliated with the local government. Here is where you find businesses that have progressed beyond the idea stage but have not set up their own independent physical operations yet. They might share lab space, technology and administrative services. Are there any in your area? Are they worth a visit, a quick walk around?

There are many ways to find new businesses in your area. It just takes some ingenuity.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" is available on Amazon.

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”