What do waffle irons, board shorts and hip-hop mixtapes have in common? Radically simple sales goals.
Having huge ambition and a grand vision for your company is great. But when you’re first starting what will make you successful is a radically small goal.
I love working with entrepreneurs. Their passion, energy and sheer audacity in facing down long odds of success is inspiring. However, I’ve observed an annoying habit (that I do too, which is why it’s so annoying). The grand vision get’s in the way of creating results today.
I was talking to three different entrepreneurs recently. They had ambitious long-term sales targets, but I kept hearing things like -
“Well I just need to get the online store just right. Then they’ll come flooding in.”
“I need to get set-up with a big distributor so it will get me in front of the right people.”
I countered with -
“Really?! So you build the perfect online shopping experience and all these customers magically appear?!
That distributor is going to solve all your sales problems?
No, you need a list of 10 people you can call tomorrow that you think you solve a problem for. Then get a meeting with 5 of them this week. Hopefully close 2-3 of those.”
And you know what? That process sucks (and I enjoy sales). It’s hard because it means going out into the world with your imperfect idea and having tons of people reject it.
In your 6 month projections your product will have more features and you’ll have 1000’s of customers. So why make those calls today?
Ambition and vision are crucial to your success over the long-term. But guess what? You can’t get there until you close your first few sales today.
Here’s a few humble beginnings for you -
- Jay Z sold mixtapes out of his trunk.
- Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, founders of Nike, sold shoes with soles made using Bowerman mother’s waffle iron.
- The first Apple was just circuit boards in a wooden case created by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
- Chip Wilson, founder of lululemon, sold board shorts out of the trunk of his car in Calgary.
Their products weren’t perfect, but they went out and tried to sell something that day. They learned and kept building.
Your grand vision is awesome. But I really want to know the 10 potential customers you’ll talk to this week. So who are they?