Posts tagged Sales Articles

7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan

7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan

7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan
Image credit: Shutterstock
Every business needs to have a written business plan. Whether it’s to provide direction or attract investors, a business plan is vital for the success for your organization. But, how do you write a business plan?SBA.gov recommends that a business plan includes;

  • Executive summary – a snapshot of your business.
  • Company description – describes what you do.
  • Market analysis – research on your industry, market, and competitors.
  • Organization and management – your business and management structure.
  • Service or product – the products or services you’re offering.
  • Marketing and sales – how you’ll market your business and your sales strategy.
  • Funding request – how much money you’ll need for next 3 to 5 years.
  • Financial projections – supply information like balance sheets.
  • Appendix- an optional section that includes résumés and permits.

However, getting started can be difficult to do. So, here’s a seven steps in writing a perfect business plan.

1. Research, research, research.

“Research and analyze your product, your market, and your objective expertise,” writes Bill Pirraglia, a former senior financial and management executive. “Consider spending twice as much time researching, evaluating and thinking as you spend actually writing the business plan.”

“To write the perfect plan, you must know your company, your product, your competition and the market intimately.”

In other words, it’s your responsibility to know everything you can about your business and the industry that you’re entering. Read everything you can about your industry and talk to your audience.

Related: Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

2. Determine the purpose of your plan.

A business plan, as defined by Entrepreneuris a “written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.” However, your business plan can serve several different purposes.

As Entrepreneur notes, it’s “also a roadmap that provides directions so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road.” That’s important to keep in mind if you’re self-funding or bootstrapping your business. But, if you want to attract investors, then your plan will have a different purpose and you’ll have to write your plan that targets them so it will have to be as clear and concise as possible. When you define your plan, make sure you have defined these goals personally as well.

Related: 3 Apps to Help You Write a Business Plan

3. Create a company profile.

Your company profile includes the history of your organization, what products or services you offer, your target market and audience, your resources, how you’re going to solve a problem, and what makes your business unique. When I crafted my company profile, I put this on our about page.

Company profiles are often found on the company’s official website and are used to attract possible customers and talent. However, your profile can be used to describe your company in your business plan. It’s not only an essential component of your business plan, it’s also one of the first written parts of the plan.

Having your profile in place makes this step a whole lot easier to compose.

Related: Conducting a Market Analysis for Your Business Plan

4. Document all aspects of your business.

Investors want to make sure that your business is going to make them money. Because of this expectation, investors want to know everything about your business. To help with this process, document everything from your expenses, cash flow, and industry projections. Also, don’t forget seemingly minor details like your location strategy and licensing agreements.

Related: How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)

5. Have a strategic marketing plan in place.

A great business plan will always include a strategic and aggressive marketing plan. This typically includes achieving marketing objectives like;

  • Introduce new products
  • Extend or regain market for existing product
  • Enter new territories for the company
  • Boost sales in a particular product, market or price range. Where will this business come from? Be specific.
  • Cross-sell (or bundle) one product with another
  • Enter into long-term contracts with desirable clients
  • Raise prices without cutting into sales figures
  • Refine a product
  • Have a content marketing strategy
  • Enhance manufacturing/product delivery

“Each marketing objective should have several goals (subsets of objectives) and tactics for achieving those goals,” states Entrepreneur.

In the objectives section of your marketing plan, you focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the marketing tasks for the year ahead. In the implementation section, you focus on the practical, sweat-and-calluses areas of who, where, when and how. This is life in the marketing trenches.”

Of course, achieving marketing objectives will have costs. “Your marketing plan needs to have a section in which you allocate budgets for each activity planned.” It would be beneficial for you to create separate budgets for internal hours (staff time) and external costs (out-of-pocket expenses).

Related: Why You Must Have a Business Plan

6. Make it adaptable based on your audience.

“The potential readers of a business plan are a varied bunch, ranging from bankers and venture capitalists to employees,” states Entrepreneur. “Although this is a diverse group, it is a finite one. And each type of reader does have certain typical interests. If you know these interests up front, you can be sure to take them into account when preparing a plan for that particular audience.”

For example, bankers will be more interested in balance sheets and cash-flow statements, while venture capitalists are looking at the basic business concept and your management team. The manager on your team, however, will be using the plan to “remind themselves of objectives.”

Because of this, make sure that your plan can be modified depending on the audience reading your plan. However, keep these alterations limited from one plan to another. This means when sharing financial projections, keep that data the same across the board.

Related: 7 Steps To A Winning Business Proposal

7. Explain why you care.

Whether you’re sharing your plan with an investor, customer, or team member, your plan needs to show that you’re passionate, dedicated, and actually care about your business and the plan. You could discuss the mistakes that you’ve learned, the problems that you’re hoping to solve, listing your values, and what makes you stand out from the competition.

When I started my payments company, I set out to conquer the world. I wanted to change the way payments were made and make it easier for anyone, anywhere in the world to pay anyone with little to no fees. I explained why I wanted to build this. My passion shows through everything I do.

By explaining why you care about your business creates an emotional connection with others so that they’ll support your organization going forward.

By ENTREPRENEUR

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281416

5 Keys to Closing Far Bigger Deals at Massive Companies

5 Keys to Closing Far Bigger Deals at Massive Companies

Identify the decision maker, and start there.

5 Keys to Closing Far Bigger Deals at Massive Companies
Image credit: Prasit photo | Getty Images
There’s only one thing that separates the top 1 percent of salespeople from the rest of the pack — and it’s not the number of sales they close. In fact, many mediocre salespeople are closing more deals than the top performers in their industry. So what sets those successful salespeople apart?

 The answer is average sale size. In many cases, the top 1 percent of salespeople are closing sales 10x the size of their competitors’ average sales.

Related: 7 Closing Strategies to Double Your Average Sale Size

The key to closing those massive deals lies in selling too much, much bigger companies. Read on to learn five keys to closing huge deals at large companies, then implement them to crush your competition and rise to the top of your industry.

1. Face your fear.

Most salespeople are nervous or uncomfortable trying to sell to really large companies, and they let that fear hold them back. Successful salespeople, on the other hand, understand that those large corporations can actually be easier to close.

First, they often have the same problems as the “smaller fish” you’re currently selling to — just on a bigger scale. Second, they actually have the budget to really invest in a premium solution. The only way to benefit from this reality is by facing your fear and realizing that big companies don’t bite.

2. Only sell to decision makers.

When you first start looking at bigger corporations, you may be overwhelmed by all of the fancy titles. Should you sell to the CMO? CSO? Chief Happiness Officer? Brand Director? What do those titles even mean? Cut to the chase by going straight to the top of the chain.

When looking at a big organization, identify the highest-ranking person relevant to the problem you solve and start there. The worst thing they can do is refer you back down the chain of command, but if they do, you’ll not only be connected to the right decision maker, you’ll also be introduced by their boss.

Related: 4 Ways to Make It Easy for Customers to Give You Their Money

3. Use an organized prospecting campaign.

If you’ve been relying on haphazard calls and email to reach your prospects, it’s time to upgrade your approach. Before going after a high-level prospect, sit down and plan out an organized prospecting campaign, complete with unique, value-adding packages that you send via FedEx. Why FedEx? Well, even C-suite prospects open their own FedEx packages — the curiosity is just too much to resist.

Each time you send a letter or package, follow up with a call or email. Be prepared to repeat this strategy over and over until you finally get through. After all, this will be a massive sale, so you can afford to put a little more time and money towards getting their attention and establishing a connection.

4. Clarify the decision-making process.

While small mom-and-pop operations often rely on one decision maker to choose a solution, the decision-making process is often more layered and complicated with a bigger company. By failing to understand that process on the front end, you’re setting yourself up for a much more difficult close.

Try asking your prospect, “What is your typical decision-making process for a solution like this?” By asking this question, you’ll be much more equipped to present a great sales proposal without being blindsided by a dozen more people you’ve never heard of who need to sign off on the decision.

5. Leverage each sale into more sales.

Once you sell to one department in an organization, it’s much easier to close additional sales in other areas of the company. When you close a big sale with a large company, don’t simply celebrate your success and go home. Instead, ask your new customer for introductions to others in the company — or outside of the company — that they think could benefit from your product or service.

Related: 7 Key Selling Habits All Sales Professionals Must Develop

Don’t wimp out on this last step. I’ve never met a salesperson who’s missed out on sales by asking for introductions, but I’ve met tons of salespeople who missed out by failing to ask. There’s no risk and a wealth of opportunity, so this should be a no-brainer next step after any sale.

Have you ever closed a huge deal with a massive organization? If not, how will you use these keys to close your first one? Check out this free 1-Minute Sales Strengths-Finder Quiz to learn more about how to improve your sales approach.

By ENTREPRENEU 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/300746

The 15 Characteristics of People Who Succeed at Sales

The 15 Characteristics of People Who Succeed at Sales

If you’ve ever been involved with sales, then you know that it’s not for the faint of heart. Whether it’s selling a pair of sneakers at a store, a new heating system to homeowners or pitching a startup to investors, making that sale depends on the appearance, knowledge, and enthusiasm of the salesperson. Quite frankly, not all of us have those characteristics in us. There is a saying that salesmen are born, not taught. Well, not exactly. Undoubtedly, there is a natural talent, but can you can learn these characteristics and be just as successful? Yes!

A true salesperson has the following characteristics that they use consistently to succeed in making those important sales.

1. Conscientiousness

In 1993, the American Psychological Association published a report that found the most successful sales reps were  “conscientious.” This trait is found in people who take great pride in their work, are organized and efficient. But, if you are not organized and efficient, you can learn to be. Conscientious also means you keep going in your job, no matter what.

2. Respectful

Founder of Searchmetrics, Marcus Tober, states that “our top sales reps respect our customers’ time above all else. You have to make sure that your customers and potential customers are treated like gold.” Part of doing this is making sure that they have time and you schedule time for work. People want the bottom line. Old tactics don’t work. People are busy, respect their time above all.

3. Initiative

Salesperson don’t wait for orders. They’re go-getters and take matters into their own hands. Being disciplined like this helps salesmen to stay on track. If something has to be sold, there is a way to do it. The salesman will do what it takes to sell the product. Learn to like the product better, compliment where appropriate (even if they hate it at first), learn how to mirror to connect, then actually care about the connection.

4. They listen

American Express’ OPEN Forum says that the best salespeople ask their clients and customers “why they want something done.” When you listen to your clients/customers, you find out what they want and need, and how to make that happen. If you don’t know exactly how to make happen what your client has asked for, be absolutely sure that there is a way. You just haven’t found it, yet.

5. Persistent

You have to have thick skin to be a salesperson. Why? Because you’re going to become very familiar with the word “no.” You have to be confident and persistent if you want to remain involved with sales. The public is done with the hard sell. However, the average person is not done with extreme kindness, even if you are irritating. “Hello, yes, I’m calling you back because I know you didn’t mean to hang up on me.”

6. Coachable

According to Mark Roberge from HubSpot, the experience isn’t nearly as important as coachability for predicting successful reps. Being energetic, willing to learn and having the ability to adapt are all a part of being “coachable.” Coachable means an early adopter of the suggestion. If you are asked to do things in a certain way, do it that way, even if it’s something you have always done a different way. Brainstorm in your one-on-one with your coach.

7. Positive

Who would you rather make a purchase from? The upbeat go-getter or the depressed downer? Having a positive attitude and being cheerful makes it easier to approach customers and keep their attention until after you’ve made the sale. This positive attitude exudes from a person. If you’ve got a really bad scene going on at home, stuff it! I mean, stuff it! Learn to compartmentalize the aspects of your life. Your work life is positive. Try some psychology, smile, jump up and down, breathe, do what you have to to be positive.Related: How Your Attitude Can Win You Sales

8. Resourceful

The true salesperson is able to shift gears if a sale isn’t going the way that they envisioned. Instead of just taking “no” as an answer, they will attempt a different approach by using their creativity and imagination. Remember though, you have to make it snappy and switch quickly. Learn to read faces. If your approach has not worked within two minutes, change. Have your twists and turns ready. If you have to practice them at home so that you are natural.

 

9. Passionate

A top-notch salesperson actually enjoys their job. If you hate it, change or get out. Most importantly, the salesman will be passionate about the products or services that they’re selling. If they’re on board with a brand’ message, they can excitedly share that vision with prospective clients and customers. Happy, positive, love it, passionate.

10. Ask questions

Searcy states that there is data that has discovered “that the higher-performing sales representatives ask more questions–often more than twice as many.” But, these salespeople don’t ask questions that focus solely on data. They want to know what the implications are. I have personally found that the questions I ask are not about the product. The client got what you are selling your first time around. Don’t drone on. This client has something to say. What is it? They have a Zen garden at home? You learn to love the Zen garden quickly and ask more.

11. Independent

Since most salespeople work on a commission, they have to be independent and will take the correct measures in making this a reality. The boss doesn’t have to be there to make sure the work gets done. The salesperson is a self-motivator. The independent salesperson can build themselves up to do more. They can pat themselves on the back and appreciate their own greatness. Most independent salespeople do not have to be thanked for each call or sales, they know how to say, “Good job, me!”

Related: 7 Must-Know Tips for Managing Your Millennial Sales Team

12. Time managers

Here’s a simple equation: more selling time increases sales and compensation. The best salespeople manage their time effectively, such as finding the best routes from location to location, so that they have more opportunities and time to spend securing a sale. If one place or person takes too long, or longer than expected, the time manager makes up for it somewhere else.

13. Overachieve

Author and sales expert Grant Cardone informed OPEN FORUM that salespeople should “over commit and over-deliver.” You have to go above and beyond. True salespeople don’t know when to stop and typically are pushing for more. More people, more clients, more work, more money… just more. The quality more.

14. Personable

A great salesperson has no problem getting along with others. And, most importantly, they enjoy meeting new people and realize the power of networking. It’s not surprising to see salespeople involved with so many local events and organizations. Most salespeople love people, and it shows. They are energized by people. They go home and can hardly sleep after an event.

15. Alertness

Salespeople are always prepared. They have to be ready for any situation that they’re thrown into and know how to successfully break free. The salesperson is aware of herself and her body. If she is not alert, she has felt it coming on and take care of it. Caffeine up, run up and down the block or eat less, they do whatever it takes. Alertness is key to so many of the principles of being a great salesperson.

Related: Build a Stellar Sales Team

By Entrepreneur

https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/299829#0

Attitudes That Flop The Job Search

Attitudes That Flop The Job Search

1.  The “I’ll Never Find a Job” attitude is obvious in its negative nature, but a negative attitude while job searching is going to lead you nowhere but to throwing a pity party for yourself.

Continually telling yourself, you cannot find a job is going to reduce your motivation in searching. Essentially you determine your own outcome, so think positive and keep encouraging yourself until you find new employment.

2.  The “I don’t care what kind of job it is, I just need a job” attitude comes from those who apply for every open job. This is not an effective job search and rarely leads to results.  You are often wasting your time applying for a job you might not even be skilled for or have the qualifications to complete. Read the job outline in its entirety and apply only for positions that will challenge you and that you will be able to succeed at.

3. Refusing to put forth effort in searching and claiming, “jobs just come” doesn’t result in many interviews. For some people, they have never had to create a resume or interview for a job until later in life. Lucky for them previously having an easy find and hire, but now the search is on. Don’t assume something will “come your way” or “fall into your lap” — you need to spend time creating or editing your resume and ensuring it is top quality. Those who seek often find, so start searching for a job rather than assuming it will just come.

4. The “I should be the boss” attitude is always a sure way to keep yourself jobless. Sure you might have the skills, experience, and knowledge to be the boss, but it’s ok to be the employee too! You might just learn to love working with others and being part of a great team. Be open to accepting a position that is less of a leadership role if you feel you could enjoy the position and it has great potential!

5. Before you even have a new job, avoid being the “I don’t care about working or what happens to the company” employee. Recruiters and employers alike can quickly separate those in an interview who are excited and ready to work their hardest and succeed.

Your attitude towards a job is going to make or break an offer.

Employers see and talk with tons of potential candidates and it is easy to pick out those who want to work hard, be punctual and achieve high goals.

It might be reasonable to consider talking with a friend or mentor about your negative feelings in searching for a new job, you’re not the only one who has ever felt this way.

Sometimes processing through your emotions leads to a great outcome and change of attitude.

(Content provided by www.barclaypersonnel.com)

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