There is an old joke about how to have a small business. It goes like this, “You know how to have a nice small business?” The punchline is, “Buy a large business and wait.”
There is a reason that small businesses stay small, and why some would-be larger businesses shrink.
They think that their business isn’t a sales organization. The cardinal sin of most small businesses is that they believe that their business is not a sales organization. They believe their business is a design firm. They believe their business is an accounting firm. They believe their business is whatever they do to create value for customers. But because they do not put sales first, they never have enough customers.
They don’t understand the principles of selling. When a small business owner finally understands that they are a sales organization first and foremost, they struggle because they do not understand the principles of selling. Most of the time, they treat every sale like a transaction. They don’t understand the sales process, or funnels, or pipelines. They believe they need to present what they do and provide a quote, almost always by email. Because they do not understand sales, they struggle.
Eventually, they hire a salesperson.
They don’t know how to hire and manage salespeople. The real problem with a small business hiring a salesperson is they have no idea how to hire or manage them. First, they believe that someone who has sales listed on their resume is qualified to sell. After all, they know more about sales than a business owner, right? Then, they get bamboozled by “salespeople” who collect the salary and produce no results. After going through this a couple times they believe there are no good salespeople available. So . . .
They stop hiring salespeople altogether. Because the small business owner doesn’t know how to hire or manage salespeople, they give up. Well, first they hate salespeople. And then they give up. They try to do the selling themselves, or they let a good and loyal employee do the selling for them.
They don’t spend the money to build their capacity for growth. When a small business owner is fortunate enough to figure out how to grow, they resist spending the money to scale and keep pace with what should be their real growth rate. Because they cut corners and fail to make investments, they never grow into what they might have been had they been a sales organization first.
The key to growth is, was, and always will be sales. Your company, regardless of what you do, is a sales organization. Embracing that is the first step on the path to growth.