You’re a start-up?

My “picture of success” for a start-up business would be:

  • A healthy and diverse client portfolio which validates your business to potential customers.
  • Your brand is recognised as solving “something”. When a problem is encountered, who are you going to call? (cue Ghostbusters theme).
  • You can explain your offering in 30 seconds (elevator pitch) in a relaxed and comfortable manner.
  • You speak at industry events, receive endorsements from opinion leaders and are seen as a specialist in your field.
  • Your website, marketing material and your prospecting delivers a clearly defined message – how your products add value.
  • Your pricing/commercials are simple for customers to accept.
  • You have a clearly defined sales process. Here is one example:
    1. Initial contact or referral
    2. First meeting: questions/discussion/confirm interest/confirm next steps and customer decision process
    3. Follow up email: further information/confirm next steps/
    4. Follow up call: book next meeting/confirm previous discussion
    5. Second meeting: with decision makers/confirm requirements/confirm decision process/discuss commercials/in-principle agreement
    6. Send through commercial agreements/Get sign-off
    7. You understand how long each step takes and the average sales cycle. You work with an effective CRM tool and manage a large portfolio of prospects and sales opportunities. You to consistently deliver new sales every week or month.

By definition, a start-up will have very few of these qualities. However they are achievable if properly planned out.

All the successful “selling” companies in the world, created an environment and process to make buying from them attractive and easy. IKEA make furniture shopping fun and create experiences for customers to assemble their own furniture. Apple Inc. is another example. They all developed a process and environment to attract you as a customer.

It’s the same with start-ups.

In summary:

  • Develop a “picture of success” for your start-up.
  • Engineer your customers’ purchasing to be a simple and rewarding experience.