Business Growth: The reason for the roller-coaster.
When you start out in business you have that initial phase of fight and hustle to get business and expand. In the early days its hard work and effort, long days and late nights.
You fight hard, work hard to employ people and feel like your heading in the right trajectory. Then you realise that suddenly you have a ton of other responsibilities and spinning the plates and getting in front of potential customers because an impossible task.
The same effort that got you from zero to £1 million turnover, won’t get you to £3 million turnover.
Is this familiar to you?
Like Alton Towers or Chessington Adventure your sales are like a roller-coaster. Great months followed by terrible months. It’s more than seasonal, your sales are still linked to you. In this stage you can get a sales person to replace you but when you start to scale up, you will need a larger and larger sales team to keep feeding the machine.
There is literally no time to get everything done and sales and business development gets pushed to the back of the queue until it becomes are more arresting problem like “what we going to do next month?”
You’ll go around and around in this cycle and have no time, chase new business. It’s a never ending cycle.
The emergency measures
So you hit the “what are we going to do next month?” stage and you go into high energy action stage. Sales flies to the top of the agenda and anything that gets in your way is to be reckoned with. You are whipping the backs of your sales people to deliver and their lack-lustre response is starting to infuriate you because they don’t understand what is at stake.
You now have two options…
Option 1 – Discount
Sell your product or service at at a lower price to get business through the door. You may pay a heavy price for this, not only in the discount but the precedent it sets for future client relationships. Why can you do it in July for 20% less than September? Do you want to encourage your customers to take up deals and discounts?
In the B2B world it’s a really bad idea, but you justify it by saying “needs must”.
Option 2 – Promote
You need to get the factory or office busy, you need to get the numbers up, so out of shear panic, you go into promotion mode. You get flyers, email campaigns, advertising and anything else you can think of. The results are well average if you are lucky but it gets you through. You’ve spent a ton of money doing it and to be honest, you are not sure which parts worked.
As you scale up, you can’t run the business like it is just you, I am sure you have had to deal with the frustration that employees don’t do things exactly how you want it done, but you have to let go because you cannot keep up with everything.
Sales and business development is no different. You can’t drive your business like you are a one-man-band when your scaling up into seven figures. Yet so many still do.
If you want to build a business that free’s your time up, you have to master scaling up, otherwise you’ll never go on holiday and despite having staff will be working the same long hours.
So, what is the solution?
Don’t do any of that… You have made the choice to operate your business that way.
In the early days it was all about action, but now you have to think how to acquire new business at scale. That is totally different to the crazy hustle you have to do when your starting out.
For someone who has pioneered their business from scratch, it can be very uncomfortable to realise that you have to work how to build from behind the desk, rather than running round trying force the company to grow.
This is called selling at scale. You can’t sell at scale on a whim or with a plan which you pay lip service too, but every business can do it.
Every established business has to understand a few truths in order to scale up efficiently
Truth 1: Sales people are not productive when they are looking for leads. Sales people are productive when they are following up and closing leads.
Truth 2: Seasonal trading and the roller-coaster are not the same thing. Every business will have dips, but the key is a stable trajectory.
Truth 3: Every profitable B2B business understands that scaling requires you to draw business to you rather than hunt for every piece of business.
Truth 4: Someone people do fumble their way on Truth 3 but most don’t succeed.
An interesting statistic:
7% of £1m turnover companies increase turnover by 300% within 3 years.
So what are they doing to achieve that?
They are certainly not relying on sales people to generate all business. They have a plan which articulates what they are doing to get to their goal which involves more than a sales person.
They are looking ahead to the future planning new business for the next 6, 12 and 18 months.
They are working to develop their offer, get ahead of the competition and generate demand for what they do.
If you are pursuing business growth do you have a plan to get there?
When I work with clients, I try to help them see how doing things can different, it can be challenge to get out of the cycle and start to do something differently. Sometimes you have to resist the urge to do what has probably become a habit.
Where you should be focused and where I help my clients focus is on getting out of the roller-coaster and thinking. Helping them plan and have a strategy to get new business flowing without the high energy, high cost panic.
It’s a four-step process which is built around one key principle; salespeople are at their best when they are following up and closing.
- How to remove the barriers to new business.
- How to differentiate your business from the competition.
- How to get your prospects eyes on you before they know you want to do business with them
- How to make the salesperson more effective.
- How to develop an plan which delivers consistent inbound demand for your products and services.
If you want to build your business and are looking to develop a plan which you can implement to break off the tracks of the roller-coaster.
Book a 30 minute appoint with me here