Are you a business owner that is wearing many hats in your business, one of which may even be sales? If this is the case, you are not alone, as there are many business owners around $2M-$3M in sales where the owner/operator is the still acting in a sales capacity in addition to running other areas of the business, and still dealing with day to day issues.
Keeping Your Eye on the Right Ball
Focusing on revenue to grow your business has to be your core goal. In order to do this it will require you to be more focused, have developed processes in place, track your sales leads, forecast properly, continue to fill your pipeline, and to measure your own or your team's success. As your business grows there will need to be enough structure in place to hire the right people in order to free you up to work on your business.
Developing Sales for the Long Term
When we talk to many business owners that want to grow their business, they are tell us they can barely handle the sales that they have, but they still need to grow. It is true, that depending on your products and services you sell, there may be something that brings in customers without much time being spent on marketing or developing new sales. In the majority of cases this is not a sustaining model. At some point your sales growth will slow down if you do not have the right marketing in place or know how to develop new sales. If this is not in place when you need to grow, this is not the time to start, as you are now behind the eight ball. In many situations we have identified some of the barriers to their sales growth:
Strategy, Time , and Focus
When you are one person in a business and are doing everything, you do not have the time to develop a strategy, processes, buy systems, and figure out how to hire the right people. You are just keeping your head above water. The problem is that time goes by and more people join the company, you are having to manage more than yourself. It will be fine for a little while, and then all of the sudden like a boom - things are falling through the cracks. You find employees are not doing what you think they should be doing and don’t understand why the employees are not taking the initiative to do things in the business.
This is your business and as the owner, you have taken the risk, but you also have the most to gain if the business does well. Employees want and require structure. They want to understand what they are supposed to be doing and who they report to and take direction, and what is the potential to grow in the business. They are there for the most part for a pay cheque to feed their family, as this is not their business, it is yours. The better employees are treated and are recognized for their role in the business, the more they will help contribute to the success of the business.
Once you do hire employees, you need to let go and delegate the responsibility to others. You must spend your time focused on the success of your business and working on growth, not bogged down in the day to day. We find many business owners put off hiring sales people as there is a lack of trust in letting go of that part of the reigns. The key is to the right sales people for your business and manage them properly whether they are employees or sales agents/resellers. We have seen many owners hire the wrong people or have hired them and then not manage them properly. They have given up on trusting this function to anyone else and continue to try to run the business and sell as well. Your focus needs to be working on the business and setting aside the time to do so. There is nothing wrong with you still being part of sales from time to time as many times you are the face of the business to customers, but if you are going to grow, your primary focus needs to change and find others that are suited for this on a day to day basis. A side issue down the road when you want to sell your business is that if you “are” the business, your valuation will be a lot lower than you expect.
Concentration of Effort - Day to Day
If you really want to grow the business, the new focus as the business owner needs to be on:
Concentration of Effort - Ongoing
In order to grow your business, in addition to the items that you as a business owner need to be on top of, your role needs to be the one to:
As the business owner, there will come a time that need to be able to focus your efforts and time on the right things to keep your business running smoothly and be poised for future growth. If you are running around doing 100 different things a day and are out selling like you did when you started the business, you are not focused on the areas of the business to ensure you meet your goals, both from a business and personal perspective. As the business owner your time needs to be spent working on your business and determining how to grow it and take it to the next level. It is hard to let go of the reins but when you do, you will be taking the step needed to grow your business.
RK Fischer & Associates