Given the work I do, I tend not to hear about things that went right in business. Instead, I usually hear when things failed miserably and cost way too much money.
If you are launching a product or service, some of the topics I cover in this series of articles could save you headaches, heartaches, and major $.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to be overly optimistic. It’s how we’re wired. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to launch a business. It’s good to identify this as a known issue that you will need to manage against.
In a perfect world, you launch the thing you’re incredibly excited about to a market that is starved for it and you have an immediate hit.
There are very rare instances where this happens, but more often than not, you will be underwhelmed by the response and will have to throw additional time, energy, and money at selling your new thing.
Here are three ways that entrepreneurs may set themselves up for failure if they are not careful.
If you are in business, you are in sales. It’s a scary truth.
Set it and forget it online marketing can work, but only after you’ve done the very hard work of nailing your ideal buyer and the messaging to attract the attention of that buyer.
Oh, and the platform and cadence of messaging that you need to leverage to get in front of your would-be buyer.
Basically, a ton of work goes into this and it’s your responsibility.
Hiring sales reps too soon
This happens a lot in businesses that sell technology or services. Founders or business leaders think they can hire in a previously successful sales rep and this person will be able to immediately make sales.
Just because someone has exceeded quota at another company doesn’t mean they can sell your thing.
An experienced salesperson may be great at building relationships, but if you haven’t identified your ideal client, their industry, and their pain point, the salesperson may not have the skills or interest in doing that for you.
You would do better to take over the initial business development efforts yourself, since you know the product or service best.
Test the market, identify who might be an early adopter AND has a burning need and budget. Narrow your focus on one or two industry verticals to start. Map out the sales cycle so you understand what reasonable expectations are – and then bring in sales help.
If you don’t have all these pieces in place, you have probably set the salesperson up for failure.
It can be very tempting to partner with someone to help market or sell your thing. You might be hoping to get in front of their audience, which is fine, but you need to remember that nobody will care about your thing as much as you do.
You also need to ensure this is the right person, and that their audience is who you want to be targeting. You will get no results if their people are not your people. Just because you love this thought leader or influencer, doesn’t mean your ideal clients will be part of their community.
In addition, you need to make sure this person has a good reputation and similar values to yours. Reputation risk as a small business is a big deal and it can be extremely hard to come back from a PR fiasco, especially as a very small business with a very small budget for crisis management.
I hope this has given you some food for thought.
Moreover, I hope I have saved you from jumping the gun and hiring in help before you’ve laid the foundation they would need to be successful.