startups

Value is King

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Kiley Doll, Goodman Lantern

It’s often easy for startups to lose sight of the basics. The many challenges startups face every day really blur the lines between priorities. It’s really easy to lose sight of what is most important.

You’ve heard of startups failing because they grew too fast, ran out of money, or failed to capture public interest. There are hundreds of articles out there that discuss these three common issues. The fact is that each of them can be traced back to poor sales strategies.

Startups often reach out for help with repairing their sales strategy. The best way to go about fixing the problem is to look closely at the way you’re talking to your clients. If you don’t talk to them in a way that grabs their attention, you’ll never get them to buy anything.

I have four methods that you can work through to turn your business around:
 

1. Hit the Ground Selling.

The best and brightest startup entrepreneurs often panic when they’re confronted with anything to do with sales. There are so many who lack confidence in their ability to sell, and it shows up in their work. The fact of the matter is that every single person is involved in selling every day. It doesn’t matter what your job title is, or what you spend the majority of your time on.

Every conversation you have involves selling in some form, whether it’s ideas, products, or services. Actual sales is no different. It’s a conversation that you hope will end in a sale. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that the best tactic to make people engage is to be truthful and authentic.


2. Create Actual Value.

When you realize that you’re always selling anyway, you need to give some serious thought to what it actually is that you’re selling. You need to realise the value that you and your product represent is far more important than the actual product itself.

Your clients aren’t going to buy from you unless your product offers the best value. That doesn’t just mean a low price point. You have to be better than your competitors in every way. They want to know what is in it for them. Are you saving them money, time, or simplifying their lives in another way? The most important part of this step is to make sure that the value your client sees in your product has to be greater than the price they paid for it.


3. Sell Really Well.

Innovation is fantastic. It’s an incredibly important part of every startup’s growth. The trouble is, it doesn’t always work. Most of the time it’s because the innovation you’re chasing doesn’t do anything to add value to your client’s experience. The trick is to listen to your customers, learn about their preferences, and give them what they want.

If you lose touch with your clients, you’ll be using all of your money and energy to supply them with things they don’t want or need. Innovate in line with your clients’ actual needs. They’ll know you’re paying attention and you’ll make money as a result. Think about your relationship with your customers like a friendship. Try every day to make a positive impact in their lives and they’ll thank you for it. It's a fantastic way to build loyalty.


4. Be Truly Useful.

Your startup’s success all depends on your sales performance. It’s a simple fact that carries a lot of importance. You’ll find it a lot easier to reach your goals if you break them down into a solid game plan. You need to track your sales and understand what your minimum sales need to be, what your optimal level would be, and how you intend to achieve these figures.

Ask yourself six basic questions, and you’ll find it a lot easier to figure your process out:

  1. Who are your clients?
  2. How are you finding them?
  3. How are you talking to them?
  4. Is your sales cycle too long?
  5. How many sales do you successfully close?
  6. How much does it cost you to reach each client?


You need to do yourself a favor and find the answers to each of these questions. Take some time to really work through these steps and you will see results. Bear in mind that it’s by no means a quick fix. You’ll need to regularly reevaluate your answers to these questions. It's easy to find time to make sure your goals are aligned with your strategy. It all begins with realizing that doing this will save you money and time in the long run.

Give it a try, and I know you’ll see the value of this process. Happy selling!

3 Keys to Succeed

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Raj Anand

 

Goodman Lantern

I’ve learned a lot from building up my own startup. I remember being pulled in every direction. The trick is to get your priorities in line, which isn’t always easy to achieve. There are three steps you can take to begin the process of reclaiming your time:

1. Pointless Meetings

You’ll find a growing number of meeting invitations sneaking into your inbox. Trust me, trying to attend them all is only going to burn you out. Losing momentum because you’re distracted isn’t healthy for your startup. You also need to make sure the meetings you do attend are productive. A clear agenda, an effective leader, and follow ups are good signs. Learn to value your own time and prioritize every day. 

2. Product Focus

Your whole business exists because of your products. Staying focused on your product every step of the way will ensure your priorities improve. Every decision should be based on the product and how it is experienced by the client. Every change must be checked and placed under strict quality control. Engage with your production process.

3. Failure Works

Embracing failure is becoming more common, and it’s fantastic. It’s incredibly important to balance ambition with humility, but never fear failing. You’ll learn a huge amount with every setback you face. The best way to deal with failure is to use what you’ve learned and quickly change your approach. Take note of the results and constantly adapt in line with your findings. It takes time to find your voice and you’ll get it wrong many times. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

There's a lot of pressure on startups to succeed, despite the odds

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Raj Anand, Goodman Lantern

There’s a lot of pressure on startups to succeed, despite the odds. It’s easy to let standards slip when you’re under pressure, so it’s important to start off by developing some good habits. There are countless startups that fail and disappear because they weren’t financially savvy. 

Your business is based on solid thinking, careful research, and countless hours of hard work. All of which means nothing if you run out of money. You’ve got to look at your numbers from every angle, and make some intelligent strategic changes. 


1. Know Your Cash Flow

Most owners of startups and small businesses have at least a fundamental grasp of the basic cash flows in their business. If you don’t have a massive background in finance, you’re not alone. The smart move is to build your knowledge and learn more as your business grows. 

You need to be familiar with your full cash flow, taking into account every expenditure. You’ll have the power to tweak your priorities and develop a model that enhances your profit and minimises your outlay. Don’t hesitate to consult a professional.

2. Consultants are Useful

You can’t be good at everything. Recognise your strengths and come to terms with your weaknesses. In short, do the things you can do well, and find someone else to do the rest.

You don’t have to hire permanent staff members either. There are huge numbers of qualified freelancers with great references out there. Do the math and figure out what the best option is for you. This is definitely one area where spending a little cash can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

3. Be Thrifty

Don’t spend money unnecessarily, and make sure that you have laid out your budget. You should expect fluctuations in your monthly spending and add this to your plan. The best case scenario doesn’t always happen as much as you’d like. 

If you plan for the worst, you’ll have extra cash in the easier months. Turning this additional income back into your business is a great way to invest in your own growth. Take care of the bottom line, and you’ll have a much more stable business.

Startups often underestimate themselves right from day one.

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Kiley Doll, Goodman Lantern

Startups often underestimate themselves right from day one. They believe they’re too small and too busy to set up a proper set of procedures for their company. The problem with that is pretty simple. Startups need to grow, and with growth comes additional work, time, and effort.

It makes a lot of sense to ensure that you get the basics done right from the beginning. If you form productive habits from day one, you’ll have less to correct later on. Setting yourself up for success from the onset is the best mindset to have. Here are three basics you can take charge of right now:


1. Company processes.


Setting up your sales process into a systematic flow is a fantastic way to begin. If you have a process that everyone follows, it’s easier to track each sale. It also helps with benchmarking which clients are closer to taking the sale. Sales leaders know which of their team members are struggling. It's important to figure out why and do something about it.

It also helps to speed things up when you hire a new salesperson. They’ll have the safety blanket of a solid strategy, and training becomes far easier. Having a proven way of working set in place, you can ensure that your values are upheld.
 

2. Lead by example.

Making money is everything in business. It’s often difficult for startups to start bringing in regular cash. Usually, the problem is a lack of leadership and direction in the sales team. Setting a target for them to reach is often overwhelming. Sales managers need to introduce control to the sales process.

By outlining the tasks required to lead to a sale. Teach your team to prioritize their time. Break the target down into the number of conversions needed. Bench-marking the process as they go along gives salespeople control over their performance. With confidence and practice, it becomes normal to reach targets early.
 

3. Practice everything.
 

Salespeople have nerves too! Starting a new sales role and perfecting a pitch can be intimidating. A great way to reduce mistakes is to get your sales team to role-play various scenarios. Repetition builds muscle memory and confidence. It provides a platform for the team to learn from each other's strengths.

If a team member is struggling, have them observe a more capable colleague. Learning by watching, engaging, and practicing will make a difference in sales teams. A healthier sales environment means a healthier business.