1. Go where the growth is. Silverman says he attended trade shows for a few core industries that were doing well (medical, oil and gas, green technology, defense and space), and concentrated on specific geographic regions including the San Francisco Bay area and southern California. This helped the firm not be spread too thin, Mr. Silverman said. More than half of 2009’s revenue came from these specific industries, he says.
2. Ally with other businesses. Maclay also is partnering with companies that provide similar or complementary services to pick up new clients. For instance, he’s now working on two projects that combine Voler’s electrical-engineering expertise with the other firm’s mechanical-engineering specialty.
3. Use online tools. Reach out to others by maintaining a blog or a Facebook page with useful, educational content. Social-networking tools are also places to post promotions. Mr. Maclay says he gained new clients by posting the company’s resume on Craigslist.