Wow, these are some great posts! Thanks for all the helpful advice.
At the moment we're sort of an off-shoot from a larger company. We do web work for our parent company, but we've got enough development power to do work for external clients, and if we can land clients that earn more than our work does for our parent company things will be good. As with most companies, IT makes a "loss", so we're keen to monetise the department by getting external work in.
To put it frankly, I'd be happy to even be considered for a long-term, multi-million pound contract. I know a bunch of firms that tend to always be in talks with companies over these things with other firms, but I cannot see where they all tend to "know" about these things.
From the outset I've stated that we need to exert authority to be taken seriously. We'll be maintaining a blog and releasing a bunch of libraries and source code that we use from day to day, and we'll have a larger presence at the various user groups and trade shows in our local area. However, outside of that I'm not sure what else we can do. We're in an area where there's no shortage of creative types, even though in technical ability we're just as capable as the best of them.
This is an excellent approach to the problem, and likely to be one that we'll be addressing. As I mentioned before we'll run "articles" covering things like basic web terms and our thought processes on certain business solutions.
As we're an off-shoot from a larger company we do have contacts in our industry and around it, but it's very specific and in an industry where the "creative types" with their huge portfolios with Coca Cola and Glaxosmithkline are extremely eager to muscle in and get the work.
To be honest, we've got the dev-power and we've got salesmen that do good work in our parent industry, but it's the simple act of getting our foot in the door once our business is up that's the hardest.
What do you mean by aggressive? To be honest, as my area is rammed with web design firms we'll need to be as aggressive as we can.
We've got a "portfolio", albeit of sites we've done for friends and sites from sister companies. Within time, we'd like our site to become almost self-sufficient, allowing us to go to networking events, but to also pull in clients itself.