- Having the best product in the market can never provide you with enough sales, exposure and popularity unless you market that product.
- There are a lot of mistakes solo entrepreneurs make at the very beginning of their business journey that end up costing them more than just money.
- Find out which are those 3 mistakes and make sure you avoid them.
If you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business. Unfortunately, too many solopreneurs realise this too late after starting their new venture. Their hard earned savings or capital quickly deplete, signalling the beginning of the end for their entrepreneurial dream. What did they do wrong? How can you learn from their mistakes? Today I’d like to share three ideas that can move you from a place of desperation to one of victory. Without further ado, here are the three biggest sales mistakes solopreneurs make, and what to do instead!
Mistake #1: Perfecting the product
As solopreneurs, we gravitate to the activities that we do well. This usually means creating a fantastic, world-changing product. The mentality is “Build it and they will come,” and “The product will sell itself.” I hate to break it to you, but both of these sayings are unequivocally and colossally untrue. The graveyard of brilliant, failed inventions stretches beyond the horizon. Having an excellent product or service is not enough – you need to know how to commercialise it.
My advice for you is to create a product that is simply “good enough.” In business-speak this is known as the MVP, which stands for Minimum Viable Product. This will require mental self-discipline in letting go of perfection. Next, test to see if people are willing to buy the product at your price. By the way, it is not enough to simply ask people if they think the price is fair. The only true verification is when they open their wallets! What this ultimately means is that you need to focus on selling the product rather than making it better, at least until the business’ income can support further development.
Mistake #2: Believing in "magic bullet" marketing
Ads for marketing services are rife. They promise hundreds of percent in returns, thousands of eyeballs, or campaigns that will win new clients effortlessly. The business owner can’t help but succumb to the proposition that if they just pour enough money into a marketing campaign, that it will solve all of their problems. They mistakenly believe that marketing is easier than selling. The unfortunate truth is that marketing is often a bottomless pit of broken promises and disappointment. Marketing is complex, and getting it right requires a great deal of expertise, trial-and-error, and close monitoring to work. It’s never as easy as it sounds!
Let’s assume for a moment that you run a successful marketing campaign, and it generates you dozens of leads. They send emails and call your landline to enquire. Now, guess what you’re going to have to do with these prospects? That’s right, you need to sell to them! Honing your sales skills will not only get the revenue flowing early, it will help you capitalise on your marketing spend as well! I’d like to encourage you to seek and consume as much literature as you can on the subject of selling. Doing so will continue paying dividends long into your entrepreneurial journey. Remember this – “Marketing makes the phone ring, sales makes the till ring!” (Author unknown)
Mistake #3: Expecting a salesperson to do all the selling
“Hire people to fill your weaknesses” is common wisdom. Generally, this is good advice. For the starting solopreneur… Not so much. Good salespeople are hard to find. Even harder is finding this talent willing to work for commission only or low wages. Even if you do find such a person, this strategy will introduce a whole new dimension of challenges to your business. You’re going to have to train, manage, and motivate this person. They may not make any sales for 3-6 months (depending on sales cycles and their level of experience). If things don’t work out, can your startup afford the costs and lost opportunities?
The bottom line is that no one will be as motivated to sell your product as you are. You possess all the knowledge, passion, and vision for your product. Handballing the responsibility to someone else is rarely an ideal solution to your perceived skill gap. Even if you have no natural talent for sales, you can become good at it if you just learn how. Take personal responsibility for the success of your business. This way, if you do hire someone down the track, you will be able to show them how it’s done.
Don’t aim for perfection – get your product out there. Don’t fall into the marketing trap – hone your selling skills. Finally, don’t completely delegate selling to someone else – take personal responsibility for your sales results. If you need help in these areas, seek out books, videos, audio, seminars, or a sales coach to speed up your journey. Doing so will secure the future success of your business!