The century old debate amongst start-up entrepreneurs, which is most important; product development or sales? It can feel like ‘what came first the chicken or egg?’ But I feel it’s clear.
There is no doubt that you need an offering to sell. Developing a product or service to take to market is an important early step for your start-up but it is often costly, time consuming and this can be detrimental to the success of the business. Products and services can and should evolve with time. Taking on board feedback from early adopters and listening to the market will help your offering adapt and grow. But your offering needs to earn its return on investment, which is where sales come in.
In the early days of a start-up business, sales are your lifeblood, your start-up is fighting to survive in a competitive market. As a new unrecognised business you’re trying to find your individuality and give reason as to why a customer should trust you. Trust me, it’s a tough world!
Reports show that so far this year 103,207 start-ups have been launched, but further reports suggest that 20% of start-ups fail after year 1, 30% after year 2 and 50% after year 5. There are of course many reasons why businesses fail, but from my experience one stands out. When it comes down to it, many simply do not focus on selling their offering, they expect customers to come to them.
Sales is your rocket fuel. Getting your sales strategy right from the beginning and being flexible, personable and, above all, hungry will be the difference between failure and success. The only way you can survive in a competitive world is by attracting and keeping customers. They become your advocates, they refer more customers to you and crucially they pay for your further offering development, your growth and your success!
Let’s give sales the focus it deserves.
Opinion Piece by Owen Richards, Managing Director, Air Marketing Group