There are some businesses that are great candidates for accepting Bitcoin as payment. The online travel-booking industry is one that should be all over bitcoin, for instance as margins are razor-thin and saving the 3% payment-card fee could significantly increase their profits.
But established companies generally aren't the first movers. What will likely need to happen first is for there to be some brilliant entrepreneur from some unheard of corner of the world who uses Bitcoin as a competitive advantage in a challenging space and cleans up as a result. All it takes is one earnings report crediting Bitcoin as the reason for a great growth story and things could start to get interesting for the currency.
For recruiting additional merchants, however, perhaps an approach that would work would be to attain pledges to conduct a certain volume of business before making the pitch to the merchants. Of course, with a geographically dispersed community this approach remains very difficult. There was at one time a group-buying site for Bitcoin, http://www.MetaCo.in
which might have caught on but the service has not returned after being shuttered when they could no longer use the shopping cart system that they had been using (MyBitcoin's).
The opportunity does exist ... there are today thousands of bitcoins being converted each day into fiat and subsequently used for purchases. There is value lost in performing that exchange and many of those holding bitcoin would gladly use bitcoin for their spendiing. The problem is this spending is not concentrated geographically or in specific categories so there aren't many merchants that are really missing out by not accepting Bitcoin today. We are a great distance from the tipping point where merchants are clamoring to begin accepting bitcoin organically though services such as BTC Buy ( http://www.btcbuy.info
) appear to do decent volume by providing a bridge between these merchants and Bitcoiners. http://Bit-Pay.com is another promising development which will likely spur additional adoption.
We can help spur adoption ourselves as consumers by patronizing at every opportunity merchants who do accept bitcoin already. http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Real_world_shops
One tool that might prove useful is the Casascius physical bitcoin. Though it is not suitable (in its current incarnation) for use like traditional coinage it does work well as a conversation starter and can help to describe how bitcoin can be used by those without a computer even. http://www.casascius.com