Whether you’ve been an entrepreneur for years or whether you’re just starting your first venture, there are always new pitfalls, struggles and challenges. The long road is littered with difficulties but it makes overcoming them so much sweeter. I’ve had many different businesses over the last fifteen years with a variation of success.
However that success has gone from a roll of the dice to a more scientific approach over the last 4-5 years as I’ve realized there are certain things that will improve your chances 10x when it comes to keeping the business going. These are obvious enough but they can easily be overlooked when you’re in the middle of a difficult time.
Sales, Sales, Sales!!!
I’m starting here because it’s incredibly obvious however you would not believe how many businesses still don’t have a sales strategy. If you say any of the following things on a regular basis then you are extremely likely to hit a sales downturn at some point in the near future.
- “We rely and thrive on referrals to bring in our business”
- “Imagine the doors doing a project for X client will open”
- “We’ll do them a deal and then that’ll bring in business down the line”
If you have found yourself saying these sorts of things or close to it, you’re doing the same thing that I did for years, it’s called “Hope Marketing” and it means you’re constantly working with the hopes that your work will speak for itself and bring in new clients. Why is this bad? Well, if you’re a local butcher or a very local community service, then it’s not necessarily bad. However if you’re trying to grow a national or international business then it’s just not good enough and it’s time for you to work on your sales funnel.
I don’t need a website? I have a Facebook Page…
This is part of a larger strategic point but I’ve decided to title it with how I usually hear this. I could rant at you all day about why just sending traffic to your Facebook page is a bad idea but instead of doing that I’ll just give you the two main reasons you should have a website.
- Professionalism – If you’re trying to build a brand, having a website can showcase that brand, have you ever looked up a large brand that doesn’t have a website? Of course not.
- Control – If you build up a massive audience on Facebook, that’s great, but you should also be capturing a database of emails and information so that you can use these as your ongoing sales funnel.
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Don’t reinvent the wheel
One of the main things that every business seems to fail to do at first is to check in on their competition. Especially if your competition has been around for years. One of the main things that I always do, is to look for the “low hanging fruit”, which basically means what are the easiest areas you can find and convert clients into your funnel. Generally speaking this means going after your competitors’ customers. The reason is they’ve already done the groundwork, you can just hit them on price or quality and convert them to you. Think Gas and electric companies, they do this all day successfully.
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Done is better than perfect.
Finally, just remember, get started and try new things early and often. Your plans will never execute as an exact science of results so you’re better just to begin now and see what works specifically for you. However make sure you have a logical plan behind it or try to understand why what has been working for you…works. This will help you scale your efforts.