When it comes to running a business you need to understand how to survive in the early days. The first few years you may need to watch your cash flow to predict healthy days in the future. One thing I will tell you though is the number one thing all business owners need to learn to do is sell. For some this comes naturally, but for most it is a challenge. For the ones that it does come natural to I would bet some professional training would help you improve your game. Honestly wouldn't even a 10% improvement be great for a decent sales person?
Most people do not see this as a problem though. I was probably in the same boat for the first few years when I was able to build a trusty, reliable income for myself. The problem was, this was not a great revenue of a business, it was just a high single person income. I just got off the phone with a business owner who is frustrated with a $3000 investment he made. His goal is to try to cut this expense so he can get out of this sinking ship.
Ok, I can relate. I too have over spent in hopes to improve my business from time to time. I too have gone on cost cutting sprees to get things under control. The problem with this is at some point you get to the bottom of the line and there is nothing left to cut. Then where are you at? Hitting rock bottom. The positive side is there is no way out but up. It is time to fight for survival because your back is against the wall.
What's the other option? Learn to sell. If you biggest concern is $3000 then in the grand scheme of things you are pretty small time. If however your average ticket price for a project is $1,500 on the small side and up to $20,000 on the large side then logic tells me your number 1 concern right now is not cutting costs, but selling 1 or 2 deals. The real issue this business owner is having is that he doesn't know how to sell. If instead of applying time to inbound marketing he got into prospecting mode either on the phone or through linkedin, he could probably stir up some new business in a short amount of time.
This is a part-time business that the owner would like to make full-time. The problem is in order to do that he needs to figure out how to double last years part-time income so he can fund the business and his lifestyle. When I suggested the 12 week sales and marketing training course we offer, he said, no we have this under control, we just want to get a better deal and cut costs. You can only lead a horse to water, you can't make them drink.
The first question that came to me was if you have the sales under control, why are you squabbling over $3000? Can't you find 2 clients a month that will bring in $3000? What if you were trained to turn single projects into retainer relationships and once you got 2 clients this month and 2 clients next month and 2 clients the following month, you be pulling $18K in the next 3 months. Heck if you could support 2 clients a month and could land 2 every month for 12 months, you could be making $234K annually. At this point would you still be concerned with $3000? Nope! Of course not because this small business would have quadurpled his business in one year.
The key is understanding your limitations and finding a professional that has been where you are and can get you to that next level. Last year I tripled my business by doing exactly this. I hired a sales expert to train me and help me over come problems that I would have never guessed were getting in the way of my sales - things like:
- Need for Approval
- Controlling Emotions
- Record Collection
- Buy Cycle
I did not understand what these things were or how they affected my sales ability, but let me tell you they certainly do. I may get into these issues in another article, but for right now, I'll tell you how I detected them. I got a sales evaluation from a third party and this brought up many strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the issues allowed me to start working on them, but doing so while I was getting sales training was the game changer.
So if you are a small business owner and you have been in business for 1 year or 21 years, but have gotten to cost cutting mode, maybe I would suggest re-evaluating your sales process. Do you have a repeatable sales process or are you reinventing the wheel on every sales call (meeting). Can you predict your future sales or are you on a sales roller coaster going up high one month and then down low the next? If you are interested in creating more stability in your life and in your business a solid sales process can do that for you.