I recently attended a venture capitalist networking meeting. You can picture the scene right? A panel of venture capitalists from various backgrounds and industries sitting at a table at the front of the room, various owners of startups and young companies coming to a podium and delivering their pitch.
They spoke with the passion expected of someone who has built a company out of nothing. They spoke about all of the great things about their companies, their products, and their services. They spoke about why an investor should provide them with the capital they are looking for to take their company to the next level.
But as the companies gave their pitches, there was one major thing that the venture capitalists consistently said was missing. The venture capitalists kept asking one question over and over.
What’s your sales plan for the continued growth of your company?
All of the companies focused on their products, their people, and the things that they believed made them different from anyone else out there. But none of them focused on how they plan to grow sales for their company to reach the next level.
Let’s face it. Venture capitalists are interested in one main thing: if they give you their money, they want that money back and more. How you plan to do that is of great interest to them, and should be of great interest to you as a business owner.
To ensure that your company not only grows now, but continues to survive and grow in the future, you need and your people need a sales plan with clearly defined goals, a sales process, and a sales system. What are you doing to put that together? Are you just working in your business, but not on your business? Are your people making up their own sales system and structure as they go?
I see too many owners mired in the weeds of their business’s day-to-day and unable to step back and see the forest for the trees. They’re too busy putting out fires. They’re not focusing on putting the right systems and tools in place to continue to grow their company and leave the legacy that they talk about.
Take a step back from your business and make sure that you’ve spent the time to put together a solid sales plan—a plan with clearly defined goals, a sales process, a sales system, and a sales structure for your company. Then go one step further and educate your people about your plan and how it works. Having these items in place will ensure that you can head in the right direction, and keep growing now and in the future.