This is an edited excerpt from the book “Work toward Reward” by Huntersville entrepreneur Chia-Li Chien.
In my first business, I was a federal minority subcontractor providing software development servicing to the energy industry. Even with only one client and one type of revenue source, I still didn’t put forth any sales and marketing efforts.
So when I started my management consulting business in 2004, I had to learn how to market my business to small and mid-sized companies.
Today, as I try to grow my business, my needs for marketing and sales have evolved again. I need more sophisticated processes. For advice on how to do that, I turned to Clate Mask. Co-founder and CEO of Infusionsoft (based in Chandler, Ariz.) Mask is a small-business growth expert who has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and co-authored The New York Times bestseller, “Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy.”
Mask discussed mistakes that prevent small businesses from growing.
Lack of consistent new leads follow-up. “Studies show that 80 percent of people buy between sales contact No. 5 and No. 12. Yet most people stop following up after attempt No. 3,” Mask says. Can you imagine how much it may cost your company if you do not continue following up after only three attempts?
No time for nurturing relationships. Take time to close deals. People buy from those whom they know; use your time effectively to build that relationship.
Not getting paid on a timely basis. Automatic billing is a great way to keep track. Then get on the phone if a client or customer hasn’t paid. Don’t be their bank.
To grow your business, Mask recommends:
Consistently spend the right amount of money and time in marketing. Many entrepreneurs have an on-off relationship with marketing; you must have a consistent method for generating leads. Dedicate a set amount of time to marketing and market consistently.
Stop trying to do everything yourself. Entrepreneurs are proud control freaks. Most don’t trust other people to do things the right way. Surround yourself with people who can do what you’re not good at doing or don’t want to do. Your way may not always be the best way.
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