This is a guest post with sales advice from G.L. Hoffman. It is excerpted from his book, Dig Your Job.
Sometime during your adult years you will wonder about starting your own business or company. Everyone thinks about it so you will too. There are a lot of factors than go into this decision and things you should know. Some people can achieve success on sheer effort combined with a great business idea…even if they have little experience or knowledge about business. However, no business can survive without sales. Here are some things you need to do to make your business successful.
1. Sales is number one, two and three on the priority list. You should plan on spending most of your time worrying and working on your sales efforts. Nothing else matters much. A sale happens when someone pays you for your service or product. Don’t get too excited if the marketing focus group says everyone will buy one. Get excited when someone pays for it.
2. To sell many, sell one. To build your company, you have to sell multiples. You can’t just sell one. Anyone can sell ONE. The trick is to sell a lot, right? Sure. But before you can sell many, you have to sell that one single customer so that he is excited and pleased to have your product or service. This is why when you talk to venture capital investors, they are obnoxiously insistent on waiting until someone buys something from your company. Everything else is classroom.
3. Do you know what scalable means? This is a relatively new business topic for an old business process. What this means is that you should try to develop processes in the business that can be easily duplicated and replicated. It is one thing to sell your product to one person, quite another to figure out how this sale was made so that you can make the next sale more efficiently. Success often hinges on your ability to continue to do the correct things faster and better that result in some tangible success.
4. Your sales people don’t work for you. The sooner you realize that all good sales people work, truly, for the customers and not for you, you will understand more about sales people than 90% of all non-sales people.
5. Sales trumps all. Sales will mask a lot of internal problems. Or, said another way….sales mean you can live to fight another day, and buys you time to fix and solve internal problems…which are sure to come.
6. Just stay in business. Too many new companies flame out, just like the afterburner on some supersonic jet. The pilot kicks in the after-burner for an added jolt of power, but once it happens, that’s it, no more power. If you can just continue your new business, first year to the second year, then to the third year…chances are great that you will make it. Do whatever it takes to make it to that third year. Don’t flame out.
G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. He has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other local business publications and newspapers.
Currently, he is Chairman of JobDig, an employment-focused media company that delivers multi-channel recruitment advertising solutions to employers of all sizes in all industries. JobDig publishes a free weekly jobs newspaper in markets throughout the U.S., operates the popular website jobDig.com, and partners with network and cable TV stations and radio stations in each of its markets to allow companies to leverage broadcast media in their recruitment advertising. The company also owns and operates LinkUp.com, a site that aggregates and publishes only jobs listed on corporate web sites from over 10,000 companies around the U.S. His daily blog can be found at www.whatwoulddadsay.com, JobDig.com, and now as a weekly guest writer at US News and World Report. He can be followed on twitter at www.twitter.com/glhoffman