-by Matt Leedham
Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a quarterly training on sales and marketing for small business entrepreneurs. It was part of the Accelerator Program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. There were about 25 business owners there, all striving to make it to the next level. The next level may include revenue, reach (local, regional, national, or global), profitability, balance, etc.
What was abundantly clear is that everyone there wanted to grow their business without completely sacrificing their personal lives. Each owner had unique challenges, but the common bond of wanting growth and being a maverick in the business world, created quick bonds and open sharing of ideas and experiences.
There’s something incredibly attractive about a group like this. They’re in the trenches, taking risks, and making things happen. It’s a unique combination of business acumen and reckless abandon. I love it!
Here are a few takeaways from my experience:
- Inspect what you expect.
- “Where some see clouds, others see an opportunity to sell umbrellas.” (Sounds like Level 5 Energy)
- What’s your competitive advantage? What can you do that no one else does?
- “Reject the tyranny of ‘or’ and embrace the genius of ‘and.’”
- Are you busy, or productive?
- “From day one, we had a healthy disregard for the impossible.” – Larry Page of Google
- “The aim of marketing is to know and understand your customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
- Map your sales process from beginning to end – where is the opportunity?
- Constantly assess your product or service through evaluations, surveys, and feedback. Make adjustments and recalculate if necessary.
- Always be open to learning from anyone or anything around you.
An entrepreneur needs to keep growing and learning or they may be destined for an early exit. Even the most successful entrepreneurs out there are hungry to learn more. We heard from a guest speaker, Devin Schain of Campus Direct. Devin has had three successful ventures, one of which generated hundreds of millions in revenue. He has sold multiple companies, and invests in many others.
Devin made it abundantly clear that the phrase “it was a good learning experience” is a euphemism for “things didn’t quite go so well.” He used that phrase multiple times as he described the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And even after all the success he’s had along the way, he’s a self-admitted life-long learner. You have to be hungry to shift and adapt with the times, and always be open to learning something new.
Continue to grow. Continue to adapt. Always be learning.