There’s More To Business Than Sales & Marketing
It’s true… without sales, a business is not a business; it’s just a hobby.
Think about it… if you are spending a lot of time and money on your business, but your not making sales, is it REALLY a business?
A business can only lose money (or not make money) for so long before it goes out of business.
But is there more to business than just sales and marketing?
So what else is there?
There are actually 5 CRITICAL areas of focus for growing a healthy, sustainable business (which is what you want as an entrepreneur).
Yet many people just focus on sales and marketing.
They focus on making money.
But then get themselves into trouble because they neglect the other areas until it is too late.
And they create a mess for themselves.
So below we introduce you to the 5 key areas that you need to focus on in your business.
1 – Strategy & Planning
At the heart of running a successful business are strategy, planning & execution.
In simple terms, your business strategy is the set of goals and how you plan to achieve them.
Successful businesses require an ongoing process of establishing goals, executing towards those goals and replanning based on how things are or are not working.
If you are just “winging it” and trying to sell as much as you can, you will likely face the following problems:
* You may begin chasing the money and selling anything that you can to make money
* You may grow faster than your business can handle, leading to long hours, stress, and customer support issues (and potentially losing customers)
* You may continue to generate sales (revenue) but spend most if not all of that money to make more sales (leaving little to no profit)
To avoid these issues, healthy businesses establish a cadence of planning and executing. This allows the company to set goals, then focus and work towards achieving those goals.
This leads to healthy, sustainable growth.
As you do this planning, you will then have work to do in the following four areas to execute that plan and achieve your goals.
2 – Products & Services
As entrepreneurs, we have new ideas pop into our heads all of the time.
We also see opportunities in the marketplace; additional ways that we can make money.
This may seem like a great problem to have.
Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of new ways to make money?
Well, here are a few reasons:
* It could distract your focus and hurt your ability to sell & support your existing products and/or services
* It could spread you and your team too thin across too many different offerings
* It could cause your company to become “too generalized” and not specific enough to draw in your targeted customers
* It could cost your company money as launching a new product or service is a lot of work and could detract from existing sales
So being intentional about what products and services you offer is CRITICAL!
You will want to start out with a single offering and build it up to a decent point. Then use that revenue to expand with complimentary offerings (for example).
3 – Sales & Marketing
This is how your business actually makes money.
In order to make sales, you must have customers.
You must either pay to get in front of your customer with outbound/interruption marketing (think advertisements and commercials) or attract your ideal customers through inbound marketing (blogs, infographics, helpful videos).
Once you have the attention of your ideal customer, you then want to convert them from a prospect/potential customer into a customer through a purchase.
Sales don’t just happen in business. Sales come from identifying your ideal customer, getting in front of them/attracting them and then offering them something of value in exchange for money.
Yet many entrepreneurs treat their business like the movie Field of Dreams; “If you build it, they will come”.
They spend a lot of time to create their offering (the product/service mentioned above), but then don’t actively sell their product.
Many new entrepreneurs feel “icky” about selling. Images of a used car salesman come into their head and it stops them in their tracks.
Selling is not a slimy process. It becomes that way when not done correctly, when you don’t believe in your product or when you are trying to sell something to someone and it isn’t a good fit.
However you feel about marketing/selling, it is another CRITICAL aspect of running a successful business.
4 – Accounting & Finance
Part of building a successful business is generating revenue from sales; the other half is making sure that your business doesn’t spend all of that money (so that you actually make a profit).
If your business is spending just as much (or more) money than it is bringing in, then you will not have a profitable business (and won’t be in business for long).
It’s not uncommon for an entrepreneur to build a business that generates that generates 5-figures ($10,000+), 6-figures ($100,000+) or even 7-figures ($1,000,000+) in revenue and not actually make any money because they spend it all.
I’ve worked with a company that had some great growth and was able to sell more than $5 million dollars in a few short years, yet the company ended up losing more than $200,000 a year.
Therefore it is essential to manage your books, have a budget in place, review your numbers/key reports and make smart decisions based on your financial situation.
5 – Your Team
You can’t (and shouldn’t try) to grow a business alone.
Sure, you may start out as the only person involved in your business, but as you grow you will need to outsource and delegate some of the work.
There are many hats and skills that you need to have as an entrepreneur, and you will not be an expert in all of them.
Therefore, as your business grows, you will want to make sure that you are putting the right processes and procedures in place so that other people can assist you.
Far too many entrepreneurs try to do everything themselves, which can lead to the following issues:
* Burning Yourself Out: This is when you get to a point where you are exhausted, overworked and ready to quit.
* Sub-Par Work: You will not be the expert in everything, and it will show. Your marketing may look amateurish, your customer support may be lacking and your books could be a mess. All of this costs you money and causes additional stress.
* A Failed/Less Successful Business: Many businesses struggle to gain traction (or simply go out of business) because the founder simply can’t keep up with the amount of work required in all areas of their business.
In order to avoid these problems, you will want to make sure that you are establishing procedures for every area of your business and hiring the right people to help you out.
You also want to make sure that you are not breaking any laws as you do this. Violating equality opportunity laws or incorrectly classifying team members as contractors (1099) when they are employees (W2s) can land you in hot water with the IRS.
Keep all 5 of these areas of your business healthy, and you WILL reach success!