While it isn’t too difficult to find products that are plant-based or vegan, vegan service providers, B2B companies, or solopreneurs who rely on referrals have to put in extra work to be visible or find potential clients.
More and more individuals and media are talking about business ethics and how to treat employees and customers better. As vegans, compassion, health, activism, and innovation are inherent values and naturally, we want to find clients who align with those values.
Here are four ways service providers can find vegan clients:
1. Get your vegan business found online
- To be found online, you need to:
- Have a website, ideally with a blog. Create blog posts with keywords so Google bumps up your vegan content, making it easier for clients to find you.
- Be active on at least one social network (if you must choose just one, use LinkedIn).
- Network online with folks likely to hire or refer you (more on that later).
Definitely have a Google My Business Profile. This is where Google pulls information (especially for brick and mortar, location-based businesses) and populates it on the right-hand side of a search page, even if the information isn’t always correct. Now, you have complete power over what appears in your business profile, and it will sync really well with search. For example, if you create an event using your profile, sync it with Google Maps (for location-based businesses), and create other Google-run services like ads.
2. Share your values
A decade ago, values were a taboo topic in business. Sharing your values loud and proud can be a great way to differentiate you or your company from everyone else.
More companies are sharing their values in business conversations to see whether there is overlap with partners and suppliers. It’s easy to throw up words on a website, but it’s rare to see (much less HEAR from) REAL PEOPLE who walk the talk.
While “vegan businesses” or “vegan-owned businesses” may still be a new term for the public, the reasons why people eat plant-based or live vegan lifestyles are rapidly getting out there. It’s only a matter of time before people seek us out. You may not yet be ready to use the term “vegan” front and center in your marketing, but using terms like cruelty-free, ethical, and your personal values will help attract the right clients.
Also, conversations are a two-way street. You must also seek clients who share your values and boldly say “NO” to those who don’t. It’s a new era, and empathy and vulnerability are courageous, both in life and in business.
3. Vet products and services
Because the world is catching up to brave conversations about social responsibility, climate change, and being vegan, it’s up to you to vet prospects who contact you and find out whether they’re a right match for you. Certifications can be a straightforward way to judge how much companies care about their reputation, but they don’t guarantee perfection.
If a potential client says they’re a cruelty-free company but you’re not sure, dig further. If it’s a food company, look at their ingredient lists. See what others are saying about them on social media. Google them to check for negative publicity. Use your intuition. Maybe they look great on the surface, but when you speak to them, it’s like you’re talking to a kindergartener and you have to keep explaining yourself. Your gut instinct could be right!
Every experience or interaction’s going to be different, but when you’re crystal clear on your website and social media about your values and the type of clients you’re seeking, when people reach out to you, you can have a values-based conversation to help filter out clients who aren’t a fit.
4. Find and join networks that align with vegan values.
Besides value alignment, you want to niche as much as possible. If you identify as a woman, you might think to yourself: “I know a lot of business networks for women!” But in your city, there could be at least a dozen of these, if not more.
Attend meetups and join your local vegan society to network with other vegans; just remember they may not all be business owners or a decision-maker where they work.
However, there are a few vegan business networks open to members globally:
Add your business to vegan directories like vKind, and search them. We have business listings across seven main categories and over forty sub-categories, including food, health, professionals, and shopping.
Think of your industry and ethnicity too. You might learn new industry or culturally focused business networks you didn’t know about before.
If you know of any other vegan networking organizations B2B service providers or solopreneurs would find helpful, let us know and together let’s boost the VegEconomy®!
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