Sales success comes from doing the right things that make customers want to do business with you. But like with spiritual success there's also some wrong things that can prevent that success. I call them the “Seven Deadly Sins of Selling.”
Managing a small business, especially its growth, is never an easy task. But, for entrepreneurs, it's when facing adversity that your ability to lead your company and your team, is most challenged. Assisted by Lego's experience, 6 lessons to apply
You build a business by acquiring customers and driving revenue. That's about selling, which is about creating and delivering value. Many think all that's needed is to present them, send a proposal and the sale is theirs. Not today, and maybe not
Small businesses need excitement and passion to keep their business fresh. The “Fireworks” to create that can't be one or two big events to keep people motivated and excited and get the best out of the business. It takes way more.
All entrepreneurs want to grow their business, but growth is not inevitable. What got you here, won't get you there. You need to perform better. To do that requires change. Not just any change, but change driven by the desire to continually improve.
Outside investment in your business, is way more than about capital. You are bringing a partner into your business that has long-term implications. That relationship has to bring a “value-add” beyond just capital.
Entrepreneurs, take lessons from big companies about how to do (or not do) certain things. When it comes to customer service, United Airlines has provided a treasure trove of lessons for small business owners. Not necessarily to follow, but to learn from!
Cash for your business is like food for your body. It is the fuel that enables growth. But, like the body, without sufficient food and a proper diet, a business without sufficient cash and cash management will not only not grow, but could die!
There are seven critical steps to getting customers and driving revenue. Learn what they are and you'll build long-term relationships with customers who keep coming back and become sources for future revenue.
Is this you? Starting your business it was just you. However, the longer that goes on, being the only decision-maker is not only a lonely existence, but could threaten the business' existence. Here's some guidance to help you let go and grow.
Rarely can an entrepreneur build a great business alone. Almost always it takes a great team to build a great business. Easier said than done because there are many significant challenges in the construction of a great team.
Every small business, no matter the size, generates data. If and how you track and manage that data can be the difference between whether your small business succeeds or not. Here are 4 key points to consider to make your data the basis for your success..
How do you go about finding the right advisor for you and your company? Here are 6 key ways to ensure you do it the right way and end up with the advisor (or advisor group) that fits your personality, business style and the company you've created.
Most entrepreneurs have a vision for what they want their company to become.Few understand how to execute on that vision, focusing on the destination, when it’s really about the journey. 5 critical ways to successfully lead your team on that journey
Most entrepreneurs have a plan for growth, but few have a plan for how they reap the rewards of that growth in the future. Most begin to consider it either when someone comes to them with an offer or they have a health scare.
Recent issues with companies like Wells Fargo constantly remind me of the importance of business culture and how it is so frequently misunderstood. No matter what you say, your culture is driven by what you do!
Does this sound like you? You're an entrepreneur; your business is well past the early stage, but you just can't seem to get either your company or your employees to that next level of growth, no matter how hard you manage every last detail.
Customer satisfaction is a result; usually, of successfully executing a series of fundamental processes, procedures, and guidelines in multiple areas of the company. Focus on the getting the processes right and the result will follow!
Even listening is not enough. Here the old saw, “actions speak louder than words,” applies. Because listening without action, be that deeper questioning or more research on what was heard, to say nothing of resolving the issue, makes the process fake.
Yes, you heard that right! But maybe not in the way you think. Growing a small business is a huge challenge, but it's a greater challenge not to make your small business act and feel like some Fortune 500 company.
Being a boss is not the same as being a leader. Leaders inspire, guide and motivate, hoping to help those they are leading to achieve both results and growth. Here are 5 key ways to ensure you are leading instead of just "bossing."
Having "parachuted into" a number of ugly turnaround situations, I've seen small company culture, from a lot of perspectives, often very bad. But all had one commonality...they never really paid much attention to culture.
In this age of texting and emails, less and less personal contact, some of the human touch seems to have been lost. And that can be a crucial difference in how you communicate and address issues that help you as a leader and drive your company's success.
Tradition, while it tries to emphasize the past, often suppresses the future. Entrepreneurs are faced with issues of tradition that can impact their business at almost any stage of its evolution. Far too often, tradition can be a new innovation killer!
Sports provides great metaphors and analogies for entrepreneurs. As a former athlete and coach, there have been 4 critical lessons that I've learned through my sports experiences that have been important in all the companies I've started or advised.
Too many small businesses, don't realize that change is inevitable if a company wants to grow. And that change, often, involves making hard business decisions that, just as often, impact customers. But how that change is communicated to them is critical.
Technology has made this one of the easiest times ever to start a new business. It has also never been more difficult to make a start-up successful than it is today. While focus is critical, it's just as important, to not do stupid things. Don't d
Almost every entrepreneur, at one time or another, proclaims that their service and support is what separates them from their competition; what makes them special. But, too often, help desks don't help and customer support, doesn't.
Starting a business and raising capital are two, mutually exclusive, endeavors. Yet, many entrepreneurs are under the mistaken belief that you can't have one without the other. You need capital to grow your business, but it comes with a price.
Where you're going can't just be driven by where you've been, if you want to grow. What got you here, won't necessarily get you there. You can't manage today's (or tomorrow's) business through yesterday's eyes. For companies to grow they have to change.
Malcolm Gladwell published a book that should be required reading for all entrepreneurs - "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants." In it are critical lessons for how you can leverage your size to achieve your own success.
First impressions count! They form the basis for opinions and feelings that can be difficult to change. First impressions are the foundation of reputations, whether for individuals or companies. And there are no "do-overs" for that first impressions!
Entrepreneurship is not just the province of the twenty-somethings. When it comes to creating new businesses, it's the "old dogs" who are leading the pack. A recent study found that twice as many successful entrepreneurs are more than 50 as under 25.
Every entrepreneur believes deeply in their business concept. Most have a deep passion for what they do, the market they serve and are willing to put in the hard work to launch the business. But, that's not enough. Without a vision, there is no success!
An advisory relationship is critical for an entrepreneur during every stage of their business growth. An advisor should be somebody who holds you accountable, when nobody else can or will or tells you the unvarnished truth when you need to hear it.
When you're ramping your business, there's almost nowhere you wouldn't look for revenue. Even if you're very successful, you always have limited resources that need to be judiciously deployed. That means sales and marketing require careful planning.
"Going the extra mile" for a customer, often, is what defines the culture in many small businesses. But like in any relationship, the "love" has to go both ways...as does the respect and the responsibilities for the relationship to succeed and grow.
Launching a start-up is no small task.But how do you really get your young company ready for sustained growth, that is growth that is both dramatic and consistent over a significant period of time, and how do you maximize the potential for that growth?
Marshall McLuhan, a renowned philosopher of communication, coined the phrase "the medium is the message." Nowhere is that more relevant than in an investor presentation. A bad presentation can kill a great product, blowing an opportunity for investment.
Whether driven by economic times or the seeming low cost of entry, it appears that more and more folks are setting out on the entrepreneurial path. And they are coming from every conceivable class, gender, age or ethnicity. But it ain't for everybody!
You have no business without customers and you have no customers without sales. As important as sales are to the ultimate success of any entrepreneurial endeavor, there is no area of business that is more misunderstood and more rife with myths than sales.
The culture an entrepreneur creates can be the single biggest factor in not only driving success, but attracting the employees and customers it needs to sustain that success. It reflects the environment and the management style the founder creates.
Customer service is more than a good voice answering the phone; more than a couple accolades from some satisfied customers. It has to be part of the culture of the company. But for many entrepreneurs, it's mostly "all talk, no walk."
This may be the easiest time ever to start a new business with technology enabling entrepreneurs to begin on a literal shoestring. It's also probably never been more difficult to make a start-up successful than it is today. To help, here's what not to do!
Building a new company from the ground up is no easy task. And according to history, the odds are stacked against you. o when it comes to achieving startup success, who better to heed advice from than successful entrepreneurs?
Quality transcends company size and documented procedures. And, it starts the day you open your doors. It means everything is done with pride, at the highest level of your capabilities with the highest level of service possible. It is a state of mind.
That sounds like professional investors don't want risk. There's nothing further from the truth. They invest in high risk ventures in hopes of generating significant returns. However, there's a difference between "prudent risk" and a "lottery ticket!"
So many entrepreneurs chase multiple revenue sources. For every revenue source, you need to commit marketing and sales resources. With limited resources, why wouldn't you concentrate those resources in one area instead of spreading them among many?
The Holy Grail for entrepreneurs is no longer just to be "first mover," but to be first mover with a "disruptive technology!" It's hard enough to achieve the former; achieving the latter is like hitting the lottery. Instead focus on fundamentals.
Most entrepreneurs watch every penny, especially early on. But there's difference between being fiscally conservative and just plain old "cheap!" Knowing what you're "really" paying and "really" getting in return with employees and suppliers is critical.
Most companies develop products that they either "think" their customers need or they let their ego believe that they "know" what their customers want Few entrepreneurs involve their customers in the product development process and it hurts them later.
Starting out most of you will only have a great idea, a plan to execute that idea and your integrity. Your idea might or might not be great. Your plan may or may not be executable. But your integrity is who are you and your business' reputation.
Building a business is not just about numbers. It's about how you make those numbers happen. Forecasts and budgets are simply objectives, your end results. But success is not about focusing on the results, but on the process to get those results.
"Go big or go home" is a perfect description for the type of passion and effort that entrepreneurs need for business success. But, used by the investment community, it has an entirely different meaning; often, just creating "noise" for the entrepreneur.
The more you know about your prospects and customers, the more successful ANY sales efforts will be. The more you listen, the more you learn about customer problems and needs; the easier it is to match your products/services with those problems and needs
A customer-centric culture is where the customer comes first and the prime focus of everything the company does, externally. That starts with how you treat your employees, internally. You show your customers the love, by showing your employees the love.
For many entrepreneurs, this sounds like some cultural nirvana. Accomplishing one of those two monumental challenges would be a great thing. But both? It's not only possible, but if you accomplish one, you will almost always, make the other happen!
Entrepreneurs are often too nice for their own good and, equally often, it costs them both time and money. "Dirty Harry" had a unique hard-edged personality that exuded "attitude." Sometimes you need a little "attitude" to give you a tougher edge.
Becoming an entrepreneur is never easy. But beyond just survival is the issue of growing the business. Often, the entrepreneur, so bent on making it happen becomes consumed by the business. In short, instead of owning the business, the business owns them!
A great quote from a great NFL coach, Bill Parcells. It's a philosophy that can serve entrepreneurs well because it reflects results - what has happened and where you are. This helps you know what you have to do to change the score.
The phrase "the customer is always right" has been gospel for nearly 150 years. But for entrepreneurs, always trying to "go the extra mile" to please a customer, there are customers who will take advantage. Sometimes, you have to "fire the customer!"
It happens every day. An entrepreneur learns that a former key employee, who left under good terms, has solicited suppliers and customers with a competitive offering. And, without a non-compete agreement, a new competitor and not a legal leg to stand on!
Because you need capital to grow is not a good answer. Nor is a "kick-ass" business model. Or because you're such a passionate entrepreneur,or such a great visionary. It's because the investor believes they can make money with your business. Period!
Virtually, every business plan that's ever been presented to the investor community, invariably, has that fabled "hockey stick growth" period where suddenly revenue jumps exponentially. Growth is not a destination, but a journey that needs preparation.
Picking a partner or co-founder isn't like finding a new friend. This is creating a relationship that will last for some time, with enormous financial and emotional consequences. It's like a marriage, but with a child from the get-go - the small business.
Generating revenue is the most critical part of getting an enterprise solidly underway. No matter how good your product, selling potential customers is difficult without a major track record. The best advice to solve that is to embrace "give to get!"
Business Growth = Change. If you want your small business to grow, you have to continually change. Whether it's pricing, packaging, process, delivery, organization...or just customers' minds! Little or no growth can happen without some level of change.
When you started up your own company did you know what skills you would need to make your enterprise succeed? Skills like marketing, sales, operations, finance and customer support, And how much of the skills you needed to know, did you really possess?
A Bob Dylan song, "Positively Fourth Street," had a great line in it - "...I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes, and for just one moment I could be you." Have you ever thought about trying to stand in your customer's shoes?
Wasn't this entrepreneur stuff supposed to be controlling your own destiny and riches beyond your wildest imagination? Yet, as each day passes you feel like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, running as fast as you can...mostly in place!
One of the key benefits of being a small business is the agility that being small enables. But using agility and the ability to "pivot" when a strategy is not working, can also result in constantly changing and having a "strategy du jour" mindset.