Do you view yourself as a salesperson? Or do you view yourself as the CEO of your own business? If you really want to lead the industry, you must view this as your company. This is true whether you work as a sole-proprietor out of your car or whether you work for a national company. That also means you must invest significant amounts of your money, time and energy in your business. And you must make this investment up front, not some time in the future.
For example, we can’t tell you how many sales people contact training companies and say–I know I need this training but I need to close a few transactions first. Then they go months or years without the training they need. They are running businesses that are always going to struggle. And most of them will eventually fail because companies that are under funded do not do well. If you have worked for such a company, you know what we mean in this regard. Those who are on “pay as you go” status never seem to reach the top. So here is the basic question:
Are you investing what you need to in your business?
Imagine if you were opening a retail store or restaurant. You would invest many thousands of dollars and hours before you rang up the first sale. This would include hundreds of hours of research and setting up the location. You would purchase equipment and inventory. You may pay a multi-thousand dollar franchise fee. And when it was opened, the hours needed to run the business would increase substantially. In the end, you would still be in a situation that poses a major risk because start-up businesses tend to have a high rate of failure in the first few years. Obviously the research and investment should help mitigate some of these risks.
Sales personnel don’t necessarily have to invest as many hours or as many dollars as one might starting a restaurant. But the concept is much the same. What do you need to invest in? Marketing, education, technology and more. Perhaps it is a laptop. Or it is the time to learn how to use a software program you have purchased for your laptop. Have you ever purchased a software program and not learned how to use it? In this case you have invested the money but not the time. You must make an investment of all available resources. Imagine running a store without the technology you need. Imagine running a doctor’s office without the knowledge you need!
The investment needed would vary for each person. For example, an insurance veteran of eight years moving into the real estate industry would not need to learn about available insurance coverage. On the other hand, someone moving from government should spend the time to learn this aspect of the industry. After all, if you are serving homeowners and prospective homeowners, you will need to become an expert in all aspects of the real estate process so that you can deliver maximum value to your clientele.
Some will need a home office. Others will need a marketing assistant. It is this needs analysis that is an all-important research step. For example, within the education category some may need to learn how to better utilize a computer. Others may need help learning how to communicate verbally or in writing. Still others may need public speaking training. Note–we have not even touched upon training specific to your particular industry.
When we counsel managers, we counsel them to hire candidates that understand that they are not applying for a position but to start a business. The manager must make these candidates understand what investment must be made for each individual. In effect, instead of advertising in the help wanted section of the newspaper, they should be advertising in the “business opportunities” section.
Those who wait for their employers to give them the resources to be successful will typically have a long wait—forever. Success comes from within. And the key to this success is finding the right elements of investment that are needed for each individual. These elements include time, money and energy. You can’t make it with just two out of three. Our question is…have you made the investment that is necessary to sustain and grow your business as the reigning CEO? There certainly is a big difference between an employee and a CEO!