Most people start a business because they are good at something. They are good cooks, they are good at making or repairing things, or they simply have a specialized skill set in an area of value to customers. They often think that their advanced knowledge or ability in their chosen profession will propel them to success as a business owner. However, after a few years of toiling away at their craft, they are often frustrated to find themselves with perhaps a steady flow of work but no real business.
So why is it that their skill set didn’t generate the business they had envisioned? Because it was not the skill that they should have developed or leveraged in growing their business. All business owners, in order to create and grow a business, should develop and practice their ability to sell. The business owner needs to be the lead salesperson for their business and they need to be utilizing this skill for a variety of needs and across a wide range of audiences.
First and foremost – the business owner needs to learn about their customer and then learn how to sell to their customers. The business owner’s primary role in the early days of the business will be to acquire customers and then to serve those customers. To effectively capture new customers, the business owner must not only know the product or service, but they need to know what the customer is looking for and how their product or service benefits the customer.
Second – the business owner must sell themselves and their business to those that can help the business grow. The owner of a successful and growing business will have to sell to; landlords, lenders, investors, suppliers, referral partners, and potential product or service partners. In order to get these third parties to believe in and support the business, the owner must be able sell them on the viability of the business and the value it provides. Otherwise, these groups will turn their attention elsewhere and place their support behind another.
Finally – the owner must know how to sell their business to potential employees. In order to grow a business – an owner will need quality employees. In times of low unemployment, the business owner will have to find a way to “convince” a new individual to join the business and be a part of its future success. This is not a matter of simply paying them more money, but selling them on the idea of working for a business that is going places and thus will be an exciting place for them to apply their respective skills.
If you find yourself lacking in this area – then seek some training on sales. Read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a video or attend a class. I can guarantee that if you develop your ability to sell – you will see an immediate benefit in the forward momentum of your business.
(Source: Mark Butler, Consultant, UGA SBDC at Savannah)