Tag Archives: manufactures

Who should be in your entrepreneurial team

Business is about working with other people, it’s about trading with these ‘other’ people for mutual benefit. The successful entrepreneur knows their strengths and more importantly their weaknesses.  It is these lesser properties that they develop a team around them who can compliment and strengthen their abilities. So who do you need?

Every Entrepreneur has to sell and has to learn the trade, but sometimes sales can be more account management, telesales, people management which entrepreneurs tend to lack certain skills in maturing. Sales generate revenue, profit and growth in a business and therefore you need proactive people who can promote the business and generate interest and sales. It may be necessary to look at different business models which incorporate your style of sales, from franchising, selling to trade or on-line merchant. However the further you are away from the customer the less you may make in profit.

The financial management of the business is important in the development of the business, understanding and communicating this to the shareholders, banks and suppliers is a major success factor. There are two skills within finance which the entrepreneur should source, one is bookkeeping the other financial planning and reporting. Bookkeeping is easily outsourced on an hourly or part time basis. Financial planning and reporting is normally where entrepreneurs need help and it here you should bring in someone who can act as a part time financial director. They will be the big gun you can bring out to demonstrate the finances of the business are in very good hands.

Someone has to manage the operations of the business, they are in charge of making stuff, they are the person who gets given the order from the customer and then deliver the products. This may include manufacturing, purchasing, warehousing and logistics. This role is the heart of the business, they make the money, create the value and ultimately the reputation of the business. If they fail, the business will.

The nature of business means we have to protect our business interests with legal documents and enforce our position with legal action. The closer your legal adviser is to your business the easier it will be to ensure you are protected. The relationship you have with this person is important in developing an on-going business relationship and not just ‘calling you in to sort out my rubbish’ attitude. The general rule in the legal world is the fees reflect the depth of the hole the client is in. So no hole means smaller fees.

Every entrepreneur should have a mentor, someone who has done this before, can provide advice based on knowledge. This person is someone you can turn to, you can ask for advice and when things go wrong can help reflect and learn your failures, ensuring your next opportunity is a even greater success.

Finally, the one person which your business could not survive without:  The Customer. This person is an important part of the team, they buy into your business every time they purchase your product. They will offer advice, feedback and recommendations which will be free of consult fees, future contracts or telling what they think you want to hear. Use this amazing group to develop your business and treat them as part of your team.

Now go out and find your team!

Cool for Cats, Sales is for Entrepreneurs

As an engineering graduate, sales is ‘that stuff’ which other people do. When I became an entrepreneur the hard facts that everyone has to sell hit me, even though I had developed a product which was sold and downloaded on-line, how come?

We built a successful business with 160 customers in 60 countries without even employing a single sales person. Our company moto was ‘If you found a pump, pump it’ which meant if you saw a task which needed doing then you owned it. As a young dynamic entrepreneurial business everyone wanted to find as many pumps as they could, for experience, to ensure they were a key part of the business and also to ensure the business became a success. Our company of around 20 people continuously out preformed the sales of larger international players, how come?

Our products were downloadable mobile games. If we produced a press release over 500 websites would pick this up, if we had a new game, people would email to ask where they could get it, if we missed out supporting a handset people they would offer to test the game for us. Everyone thought we were cool (for cats). I even got mobbed on the Sun Java Stand at an exhibition, how cool is that (ok, I am a geek).

So did sales came easy?

No we had to learn fast, we had multiple levels of customers; operators, handset manufactures, newspapers, magazines, on-line portals, aggregators and end users. We had 60 countries to deal with in terms of: numerous currencies, customs and languages which all complicated the sales process.

The key, as with all sales, is turning an online product into a personal relationship which we could manage. This meant developing a complete sales cycle and customer experience solution which our customers could buy into and our competitors could only aspire too. We had to understand each client, their needs and requirements. We had to get out of our office and meet these people and make sure they liked us, our products and the complete experience we provided. The end result being they wanted to continue to do business with us every single month: repeat business.  In short we had to become an international sales force, learning on the job, we had to sell.

So if I can do it, I’m sure you can.