When you decide to go into business for yourself, you are accepting risk and reward, however stressful that may seem! Not knowing if you are going to generate sales, make money or if people are going to like your photography is a big hurdle to overcome. Self confidence is very important.
The biggest challenge facing any business, assuming income and clients have been secured, is finding and employing talent or employees.
Confidence in others you employ or outsource to is the same thing: they must understand your proposition and be completely comfortable in your shoes. The biggest challenge facing any business, assuming income and clients have been secured, is finding and employing talent or employees. Outsourcing therefore becomes an extremely viable option but it’s important to do your homework on them and your market:
- Don’t become a side-project. Any sales gun-for-hire will be looking at more than project in their portfolio to sell, and can easily focus their attention on the easiest/most lucrative options. As one of these people, I can honestly say you have to drill down and make sure they are compartmentalising their projects. Ensure they spend the necessary time acquainting themselves and doing the numbers on your project. Sales is a numbers game, and defined by niches. Make sure they are properly going through your target market and that you provide them the ammunition to0 – this could be contacting all your past customers over the past five years to re-engage, or contacting your local wedding venues, schools, colleges or if you think out of the box, funeral parlours!
- Give them focus and space. Whether they work as an employee or as an outside resource, clearly define what you need of them and then get out of their way. Sales people need space to operate comfortably, and not with someone hanging on their every word. Smothering them with advice and constant hassling will only be detrimental. Regular, reassuring reviews will be more productive, and besides sales is very measurable so it’s obvious how they are performing. Just be aware, sales do take time to develop.
As part of your business planning, it’s easy to get excited and assume that you will over-achieve on your sales. This applies to your expectation on sales people too. Being realistic (see the S.M.A.R.T. blog) about what is achievable both overall and in specific areas will provide a happy platform for all involved. Better to achieve smaller targets and grow them, than set a big goal and fall far short.
Unrealistic working environments can be exciting in the short term, and this works in high volume boiler rooms, but the bubble will burst. This ends up de-motivating everyone and being completely counter-productive.
Risk is never far away though and if you don’t speculate a little, growth will not happen mentally or physically. You can never be 100% certain about business or sales so you will have to take a punt on a new product, salesperson or strategy. Research will get you so far; getting beyond the comfort zone will get you answers one way or the other. Risk and reward come hand in hand!