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Riding The Big Swing Of Success

Tire Swing

A lot of new entrepreneurs start out with one goal … to make that big “lottery ticket” sale that will instantly rocket them onto easy street.

It’s about as easy to do as winning the lottery.

We all hear about the successful business-lottery winners. No one hears about the thousands of businesses that fail to grab the big brass ring and fall flat.

The smart play is to do the hard work and get every good, solid sale you can in the beginning. And the swing between no sales and a handful of small ones is bigger than most people realize.

Leveraging Success

Getting told “No” a hundred times just to get 10 sales is a little discouraging. Especially when you’re first starting out. That’s probably one of the reasons people like to go after the big, big sale. So they don’t have to go through that as much.

There’s nothing wrong with going after a huge contract as long as you have the resources to handle it. But most of the time, a customer that can give you huge business has enough experience to know that they want to work with someone who also has a proven track record and can deliver the goods.

That’s why it’s so tough for new companies to win that big lottery sale.

So the advantage of getting those first small sales is to prove yourself and your business to those bigger clients. To create a successful track record. You’re creating a little bit of success, that you can then leverage into a lot of success.

Nothing creates huge success like the seed from a little bit of success.

The Advantage Of Some Over None

There are some other big advantages of going out and getting those small sales too:

  • You create momentum and motivation within your company
  • You’re creating a group of satisfied customers, and word-of-mouth advertising is second to none
  • You’re bringing in a little bit of cash to pay the bills
  • Every single sale you make is one your competition doesn’t. This is the big swing because dollar-for-dollar, you grow a little stronger and they get a little weaker
  • If you’re looking for investors and you have a proven sales record, they’ll line up and throw money at you based on your numbers alone

Start small and steadily grow larger. One morning you’ll wake up and realize that just a few months ago … you won the lottery.

Denouement
 

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8 Comments

  1. And one other reason – having just one person buy your product means that you’re solving somebody’s problem for them, and that means you have to be close to solving it for other people too.

    Nobody buying…means you don’t know that yet!

  2. Hey Richard,

    Yep, starting small and “testing the waters” is a great way to make sure your idea is gonna fly before you get too far into it.

  3. Shane,

    This is a great post and right on the money (no pun intended).

    I incorporated my consulting practice in March of 1977. To get some buzz going, I spoke at every service club meeting I could find. My first clients were small business owners as a result. It was hard work, a lot of “no’s”, but bit by bit they started talking with their friends and I began doing work with Fortune 500 companies.

    Thirty years later most of my clients, globally, are large corporations. BUT…the numbers show that small business owners still contribute a significant amount of revenue and require less admin time–as well as a much shorter sales process.

    For a while I ignored the small business market, believing that the bigger money coming in from large companies was the only way to go. I was very, very wrong. And a lot of the reason has to do with the momentum that you mention. When you aren’t out doing your thing every day and waiting for the big fish, you lose your edge and the Word of Mouth buzz, even after many years of success.

    BTW: In 30 years, I have only been stiffed once on a contract. It was for more than a million dollars. I had brought in some of the best consultants known to do some of the specialized work and still paid them as a matter of honor and integrity. But here’s what I learned:

    1. Just because someone signs a contract doesn’t mean they’ll live up to it, especially if they have an in-house legal team (after the fact I discovered that this had happened before).

    2. Don’t get blinded by a big score. I saw the money and ignored my intuition and discernment which was telling me all along that something wasn’t quite right. So I paid the price.

    Whether you are starting out or a seasoned businessperson, lots of small sales can make a difference as long as you watch the cost of sales.

    If you aren’t making a sale, you aren’t in business.

  4. In sales generally its a good idea to look at a NO in a positive manner, each no brings you closer to a yes. Obviously if you are not making a sale you are not in business.

    Big sales can make you or break you or both. If you are neglecting the smaller sales you are not doing the right thing. The way I look at it in my business, the smaller sales keep me in business and the bigger ones are a bonus.

    Follow up a sale with quality service and your clients will keep you in business. Each year about 40% of my business comes from existing clients. Good post, I liked what Steve had to say too.

    Take care and Cheers.

  5. Steve,

    Thanks for sharing that story! I’ve seen a couple companies start by going after the “up and down the street” business. Just having that growing visibility got them the attention of ever larger customers. It works. And it very works well.

    Your caveat about not getting paid for a large contract is also an important one. It can kill a new company. When I was in the bottled water business we got hung out to dry for 7 figures … luckily we recouped about 70 cents on the dollar, but a lot of other companies involved in the mess got little or nothing.

    No contract is worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s only worth the integrity of the people signing it.

    Hey Robin,

    That’s a nice percentage of repeat business. All the small sales you have give you a good diversified client base. That’s good. There’s nothing worse than having all your eggs in one basket … and then tripping.

    Follow up service is so important. A lot of companies don’t seem to think so … which to me is a huge opportunity.

  6. I agree 100% Shane..

    The smalle things (in this case sales) ALWAYS add up in the long run. My brother and I, when we get our business up and running, are concentrating on the community first and small sales…work our way up the ladder :D

    -Gregg

  7. Hey Gregg,

    That’s a good solid strategy. I’ve seen it work very well (multi-million dollar well!). It takes some time to build, but the things you build this way are rock solid.

  8. [...] Riding The Big Swing Of Success: Shane is right when he says “Start small and steadily grow larger“, it’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t get. A small sale may not seem important, but it’s just as important as a big one. [...]


 

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