By Paul Durrant, PDT Sales Consultancy
Small businesses owners need to be more entrepreneurial and sales-savvy – more than ever now!
To survive in business – let alone be successful – a small business owner needs to have an entrepreneurial mindset, a viable business concept, and be at least competent at sales, because sales is the lifeblood for any business.
Unfortunately, lack of sales is one of the main reasons why only 50% of small business make it to year five – lack of funding, bad cashflow, and lack of talent retention being the others. This is no surprise really, given that most business owners do not have any real sales experience or formal sales training.
Many small business owners also struggle with the creative element of business ownership, which is crucial for surviving harder times such as now. Sometimes a business has to pivot and change direction because of external circumstances, but many small business owners are not fully equipped to think this way.
Helping struggling small businesses to be both more entrepreneurial and sales-savvy is more important than ever for the future of our national prosperity and for our place on the world stage. This is exactly why I penned my latest book Entrepreneurial Sales – available in paperback and Kindle format from both Amazon and Waterstones.
Economists tell us that we are now entering a ‘once in a century’ economic crisis which is predicted to be twice as severe as the 2008 financial crash and as deep as the great 1930s depression. The national economy is also predicted to shrink by up to a third and not fully recover until 2022
Businesses are, unsurprisingly, delaying non-essential purchases. Manufacturing output has crashed, supply chains have been severely disrupted, and consumer confidence is at zero. Spending on some discretionary consumer items has literally fallen to zero – so there is simply less business out there for all of us now.
There are, however, still ways to survive and even thrive during times of recession. But a lot depends on mindset, being agile, and keeping your nerve. There is no such thing as a recession proof industry, but some industries do fair better than others during a recession, and an example of this is the IT and telecoms industry – who have supported our homeworking capabilities. Educational trainers and online platform providers have supported our ‘lockdown learning’, and some restaurants have even continued trading by delivering meals to hard pressed and time poor key workers.
Leisure, hospitality, and airlines always suffer in harder times and this recession is no different, with carriers crying out for state aid, entire fleets being mothballed, and some temporary layoffs expected to be made permanent. Towns and communities like Crawley and Luton – that service Gatwick and Luton Airports respectively – will also suffer badly, as well as take months to recover.
Having the right product at the right time helps and companies that manufacture and produce ventilators and PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – have fared very well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of pivoting businesses include micro-breweries and distilleries that have turned their alcohol supplies to producing hand sanitizers.
Examples of larger pivoting brands also include Burberry – who have produced gowns for the NHS – and an Airbus and Rolls-Royce consortium – who has produced ventilators from scratch – to help meet two very immediate public health needs.
Groupon also proved that you can successfully launch during a recession as long as you have the right product. Back in 2008, people wanted to save money but still enjoy experiences during the financial crash, and Groupon serviced this need brilliantly. They now operate in 35 countries and turn over $2.2 billion (£1.8 billion) per year
My latest book Entrepreneurial Sales combines my own thirty years sales experience – having also sold through two previous recessions – with some first-hand case studies and interviews from the likes of Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones MBE and best-selling author, motivational speaker, and PGL performance coach Robin Sieger.
The end result is a practical guide aimed at new and existing business owners; to help them manage the trials and tribulations of business ownership, navigate everyday challenges, increase their sales, and ultimately grow their business. Emma Jones’ kind attribution in the book states, “Top tips from someone who’s been there and done it. Keep this with you as your sales guide to success.”
In conclusion, if you are brave enough to start your own business venture, then you are certainly on the entrepreneurial sales spectrum in my books. How far you want to progress up the spectrum, is down to you though. If you do want to progress, then look to expand your mind, be more creative, take calculated risks, be fleet of foot, and get some proper strategies and processes in place for selling. Then, I just may be interviewing you for one of my next books.