Sales first- The key to start-up success

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I have recently had the opportunity to meet with a number of aspiring young entrepreneurs who have been brave enough to make the leap and start their own business. It has been quite an eye opening experience. On the positive side I have seen that amongst the young people in the Midlands region of the UK we have some outstanding talent. I have however also seen that without proper advice and mentoring that talent on its own will not be enough to secure success.

My main concern is that I have seen some businesses who have not quite grasped the first and most important fact about being in business – you have to make sales. They have spent all of their start-up capital, often acquired by loans, on overly expensive websites, unnecessary software programs, piles of stationary, office premises etc. etc. without securing any revenue streams.

It is imperative that if we are going to help these young people in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial dreams we must start with the first and most important priority being advice around how they sell.

Whatever the product, whatever the route to market for these businesses to survive they must FIRST establish a revenue stream and worry about their accounting software and highly stylised logo’s somewhere further down the line.

And as they move forward and become more established businesses sales must be the primary concern in any business advice program. It is no accident that sales turnover is the first line on your profit and loss account. New clients and customers are the blood that delivers oxygen to the rest of the business, cut this supply and the business will quickly begin to fail.

People go into business for all sorts of reasons, mostly because they have a passion for the product or service they offer, rarely because they want to be salespeople. The best advice we can give to any young entrepreneur is first and most important priority in business is and always will be sales.

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Big Bang Your Business

 

Niccolo Machiavelli the 16th century Italian philosopher stated that “Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past,” and even in a world that changes with incredible speed there are lots of lessons to be learned by casting a backward glance. I want to spend a few minutes looking at how something from our rather distant past may be help us in growing our business today.

To do this let’s take a journey back in time some 13.8 billion years, to a time of – well we are not really sure – perhaps nothing. However around this time 13.7 to 13.8 billion years ago the universe as we now know it came into existence with a burst of energy so large and temperatures so unimaginably high that the remnants of it can still be detected by scientists today. This was the start of the universe, energy; nothing solid and physical that we would associate with our real, material universe we interact with every day.

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So what happened to take us from a massive burst of energy to the physical reality that allows me to feel the keys of the laptop under my fingers?  The answer lies with Albert Einstein and his E=MC2 equation that turned the world of science on its head early last century.

Einstein’s theory states that Energy and Mass are interchangeable. One of the most dramatic examples of this was the Hiroshima atomic bomb that converted a mass of uranium into energy unleashing energy in the most devastating proportions. However Einstein’s equation also suggests that Energy can create Matter (mass) and that’s what we see at the big bang.

The initial burst of energy that was released at the beginning of the universe created matter, particles of energy that eventually formed protons, neutrons and electrons that became atoms the basis of our physical reality. This soup of particles created from pure energy began an amazing journey that has led to the spectacular cosmos we inhabit.

A great story but how does this help our business growth. The answer is ENERGY. The universe was created out of energy, everything we see around us comes from energy and if we want to Big Bang our business growth the foremost thing we are going to need to do is input a source of energy.

I understand that we will need a vision, a plan, strategies, objectives, KPI’s, management philosophies, measurement tools, CRM software, a new website – and the list goes on and on. A lot of these things will have an important part to play in the building of a successful business. BUT, they are tools that assist with rather than the originators of growth.

Energy is the beginning of everything and whilst I am a firm believer that energy in business needs to be directed, focussed and managed into areas where it will bring the best results. Without that initial energy you will not have to worry too much about management as you will have little to manage.

As entrepreneurs, business leaders and managers we are the people responsible for leading our businesses forward. People look to us and mirror our persona and behaviour. If we exhibit low energy attitudes in the workplace how can we expect to inspire the people around us into making a real difference.

I have had the pleasure of recent times to engage with a number of young entrepreneurs who have achieved fantastic growth within their businesses. They all have different personalities, different skill sets, education and experience but they all exhibit one common trait – high levels of energy.

The truth is we have a choice every day as to how much energy we will bring to that day’s proceedings. My experience is that energy is contagious, if you mix with energetic people you feel a boost in your own energy levels and you too can be an energy radiator within your business.

Think back through your business or your career.  I guarantee the highest moments of achievement correspond to the highest levels of energy imparted into the business. Einstein predicted that energy and mass are interchangeable. If you want to increase the mass of your business you need to input energy.

Machiavelli exhorts us to learn from the past, the big bang shows us what can be created from nothing but energy.  Give it a go and BIG BANG your business.