How SMB Owners Are Attracting Top Sales Talent in 2022

SECRETS TO ATTRACTING TOP SALES TALENT FOR SMB OWNERS

There is a growing crisis in sales talent. According to Forbes, companies are “struggling to keep the sales reps they have, and having an even harder time finding and developing sales reps to replace them.” 

Recruiting and retaining top sales talent has always been challenging. But, if you are trying to grow a small or mid-size company, it’s an added struggle to compete with the bigger salaries Enterprise companies can offer.

To help you attract top sales talent and navigate this era of the Great Resignation, I’ve rounded up six SMB owners to share their advice how they overcame specific constraints to recruiting sales talent.

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #1. Hiring Salespeople Who Can Produce Quickly

How ClickGuard Overcame This Challenge:

 

Hiring is tough and in 2022 hiring the right sale people who can produce and ad value quickly is even tougher. 

Sales is a competitive sport, and like any good general manager, you should recruit and evaluate candidates based on their track record.

Hire candidates that are already active within your industry with a strong social network of relevant contact which you can benefit from. 

Ralph Perrier, CEO of ClickGuard
Protect Your Google Ads from Bot Clicks,
Click Farms and Competitors and Prevent Waste.

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #2. Limited Budget and Limited Local Talent Pool

How Function Fox Overcame That Challenge:

When we hired our first sales team – we are looking for people physically in our geography, so it was a limited market and we didn’t have big budgets.

We hired a former chef who had never really worked in an office before. He became one of our top performers and stayed with us close to 10 years and even got a FunctionFox Tattoo! 

We always try to “Stay Creative” with any challenge that comes our way.

Corina Ludwig, President/ Partner – FunctionFox.com
Timesheet and Project Management Software

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #3. Finding Salespeople Who Were Willing to Hold Themselves Accountable

How Green Rope Overcame That Challenge:

The biggest challenge we faced was finding salespeople who were willing to hold themselves accountable (fortunately, we have a great team now). 

We have focused our energy primarily on inbound marketing, which is conducive to having a team of farmers. 

Farmers are generally better with accountability and providing the data needed for closing the loop on the customer journey. Hunters tend to be more outgoing, extroverted, and harder to keep track of. We have found this role has been the hardest to fill and keep and are still in search of a good one.

Lars Helgeson Founder / CEO, GreenRope
All-In-One CRM with Marketing Automation

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #4. Managing Budget & Expectations of the Sales Team.


How WeStrive Overcame This Challenge:

As a first-time tech founder, the biggest challenge has been managing the budget and expectations of the sales team. 

To overcome this, I’ve taken the time to meet with people who have been in my shoes before.

Cory McKane, CEO at Westrive.com
The All-In-One App for Personal Trainers

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #5. Making the Pivot to Enterprise Sales Teams

How Read Cube Overcame That Challenge:

ReadCube is part of Digital Science, which is part of the broader Holtzbrinck Publishing conglomerate. People who work in the Science Technical and Medical (STM) sectors know that Digital Science is a hot commodity.

So, I leveraged three core ways to be able to attract top sales talent.

 

  • I engaged my network looking for potential sales candidates who already had a rolodex.
  • The sellers I recruited worked for me in a past professional life, so we had/have mutual respect for each other.
  • I also worked with a headhunter. 

From those tactics I was able to source 15-20 top qualified candidates to interview.

Miles McNamee

Senior Vice President – Enterprise Sales, ReadCube

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #6. Not Getting Enough Candidates

How DSP Helps Companies Overcome This Challenge: 

In our 15 years in business we have been through many challenging times such as a recession and Covid 19.  2022 has been just as challenging, the challenge this time is finding quality talent.  

Only 4-5 years ago if we contacted 20 potential candidates we would get 10 quality resumes. Today, if we contact 50 we are lucky if we get 1 strong candidate.  What we have done to combat this situation is think out of the box and consult with our clients to do the same.  

 Although the clientele might be different the core processes and sales cycles are the same.”

Jim McKenna, President at Definitive Search Partners
We Partner with You to Bring You the Highest Quality Candidates!

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE # 7. Candidates Who Change Their Minds

LinkedIn recently published the top challenges facing recruiters. A staggering 75% of recruiters report they’ve dealt with candidates who went through the entire interview process, only to then change their minds last minute. (Ugh!) Unfortunately, this is growing problem that’s been happening at an increasing rate in the post pandemic world we are living in today.

top sales

How Yoon Cannon Helps SMB Owners Overcome This Challenge:

While it is unrealistic to completely eliminate this problem you can expect to greatly reduce candidates changing their minds by focusing on the big rocks I call the 3 R’s:

  • Remote Options: The latest studies are finding that 56% of candidates turn down jobs because of lack of flexibility to work remote. They want flexibility more than they want pay and security. Where we have been able to help SMB owners is by designing systems to help you effectively manage a remote or partially remote team while boosting their sales performance.

  • Retention through Relationships: Working remote certainly gives your sales team greater work-life balance, but it can also lead to your sales team feeling too isolated and disconnected. Pandemic or not, never forget human nature has proven throughout history that people will often stay with a company longer, not necessarily, because they love the actual work they do, but because they love the people they get to work with.

    • Introduce candidates throughout their interview process to multiple managers and peers in your organization.
    • Show the vibe of your people and the camaraderie they enjoy through your company videos.
    • Create and showcase several videos of you, the founder as well as your leadership team. Don’t make it “corporate”. Be your genuine selves. Candidates will want to work for you if you give them ways to feel like they got to know, like and trust you.
  • Recruiting Funnel: There is no one reason why a candidate changes their mind last minute. There are multiple reasons.
  • Skills fit
  • Personality fit
  • Financial fit
  • Timing fit
  • Lifestyle fit
  • Future fit and 
  • People fit / Culture fit

So, by the time you are reviewing your top candidates you can be confident each of those candidates have determined for themselves the role they are applying for is truly the right fit for them.

 

Yoon Cannon, Business Growth Coach,
Founder, ParamountBusinessCoach.com
Helping entrepreneurs scale your business growth!

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #8. Generating Enough Sales as a Startup to Hire Sales Talent Without Any VC Funding

How Peeva Overcame This Challenge:

FIrst off, to make sense of this here is an analogy. Startups are like rock bands. Whereas, rock bands will send out demo tapes to whatever label will throw money at them. StartUps send out pitch decks to whatever VC will invest in them.

Either way, most of them never make it out of the garage. To get a record deal in your favor, getting out of the garage and touring is the best way to do this.

Investors want to see traction and there is no better way to show this than to have paying customers. It doesn’t matter who you know. People with money have it for a reason, they don’t spend it foolishly. Ironically, the far majority of VC funded companies also fail.

My best advice to any Entrepreneur is to get as many paying customers as possible and as quickly as possible. This also comes at great cost if you are irresponsible. 

Peeva’s approach is a top to bottom approach. 

Rather than hire a ground swell of boots on the ground (outside sales professionals) to make cold calls and hand off marketing literature and then pay them to chase and bother busy prospects, it was much more productive for us to establish a beta relationship with a large corporate chain of vet hospitals. 

From the C-level down, we were then able to scale at a much quicker rate with veterinary professionals and hospitals without ever meeting them let alone speaking with them. Our veterinary professionals essentially do sales for us, by selling Peeva to pet owners. 

 

 I did all of this myself, before requiring any sales professionals. It was not until after I established these types of accounts before brining on a veterinary relations director that overseas 3 other sales professionals that follow the traditional meet face to face sales model. No VC needed, and the only VC’s I ever speak with at this point are those that reach out to us.

I hope this helps many entrepreneurs that will go broke or focus on an exit strategy before getting started. 

 

Michael Hamilton, CEO / Founder of Peeva

Universal pet identification and central database

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #9. Sales People Who Are Transactional

How Qnum Analytics Overcame This Challenge:

The biggest challenge in hiring my first sales team was the transition from their past selling “norms” into trusted advisors that would solve the customers problems as opposed to selling our products and solutions.

I hired sales talent who had the desire and hunger and weren’t too worried about their sales track record as that was in the past and CVs are exactly that past achievement. I was more interested in how I can transform the potential that existed to meet what our customers needed. So, I trained them to be consultative and not transactional.

Bheki Nkomo, Founder, Tech Entrepreneur Qnum Analytics 

Digitize end to end inventory data capture

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #10. Attracting Highly Motivated Sales Talent

How Fin vs Fin Overcame This Challenge:

 
 

The key is well-structured, performance-driven incentives. Why not offer unlimited upside to grow your business?

Of course OTE  must be achievable so that your team can accurately forecast income and plan their lives. But incentivizing sales talent to treat your business like it’s their own has been the single most important thing. How can you make them feel more like an owner, rather than a rep?

Alex Goldberg, Founder Fin vs Fin

Discover the best wellness products

 

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #11. Making Our First Sales Hire

How Conmitto Overcame This Challenge:

It’s easy at first to try to go too big, too fast especially while building a solution or consulting business. While growing an early sales team, it usually works well to start with one great sales professional to help you begin bringing your product or service to market. 

Early on, it’s about learning quickly and allowing the sales, marketing and product development cycles to evolve together. It’s more difficult to do this with a large team in place, and I’ve seen firsthand how painful it can be to change or adapt once you’ve made a few great but potentially mistimed hires. 

 

 

That will help you define and grow your offerings to fit the needs they’ve seen solving this problem first hand. 

Based on the approach that works, it may make sense to hire more sales professionals with a similar background, or it may make sense to partner with a larger firm that is in the industry that can be trained to cross-sell or up-sell for you.

There’s no one-size fits all method, and you may find that direct sales hires, outside SDRs that focus on meeting generation, or a partner channel oriented approach work for you, or a healthy mix of the three may be the best approach. It’ll all depend on your industry and the state of your business, so the first step is to start trying and learning! 

 

Akash Agarwal, CEO, Conmitto

Configurable cloud software for supply chain management

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #12. Creating a Large Team of Sales Advocates as a Startup Company

How Aqai Overcame This Challenge:

Having been an entrepreneur for over 20 years, growing and scaling multiple teams and companies, sales is the lifeblood for growth. The challenges in hiring great salespeople and teams have evolved over the years. In my latest start-up at AQai we have focused on two key aspects to grow our company through a specific sales and go to market strategy.

Firstly, having a compelling mission, one that deeply resonates and connects with our audience of coaches and HR leaders. This driver to inspire & empower every human with the skills to adapt and thrive. Ensuring no-one is left behind in the fastest period of change in history, has been the corner stone to attracting truly great talent.

The second and important strategy has been to empower a global network of distributed agents to act as our sales advocates. With this strategy we have managed to rapidly train, certify, and enable over 200 coaches and consultants to win more business, and do more interesting work. With their sales and success, driving exponential growth on our adaptability assessment and training platform. This strategy has removed the traditional thinking for hiring, and the barriers of initial funding the growth of a direct sales team.

Using this strategic approach has enabled us to land significant projects with companies like Microsoft, IBM, The Federal Reserve Bank and Havi, among many other pioneering, people focussed organizations.

To find out more about our work, the community we are building focussed on the mental health and wellbeing in the future of work, please check out www.aqai.io

Ross Thornley, CEO & Co-Founder AQai 

Change, retain and prepare your people for change

SALES HIRING CHALLENGE #13. Making Sure We’re Hiring the Right Kind of People to Fill the Role.

How Sched Overcame This Challenge:

sched.com

The biggest challenge we’ve faced in hiring sales talent is making sure we’re hiring the right kind of people to fill the role. Sched helps individuals and teams create great events with our event scheduling software.

We invest significant resources in training our sales team to be able to offer solutions for our customers’ challenges when trying to plan great events.

We want to make sure our salespeople can uncover problems, explain our solutions and build trust along the way. 

Instead of just hiring a Sales rep, we are trying to hire people who over time can expand their roles.
 
Our company is remote, distributed and filled with self-motivated, accountable people. We look for bright, hard working, results-oriented individuals with high levels of integrity because they are the most likely to succeed within our team. 
 
Finding these people makes our typical hiring process look more like an audition than the typical “application and interview” process.
 
Hiring good people is tough. Hiring good sales people is even tougher. Our hiring process helps reduce some of that risk and increase the probability of a successful sales hire.

ceo

Marvin McTaw, CEO of Sched.com 

Event Scheduling Software & Event Mobile Apps

 

 

So, there you have it. Thirteen founders sharing their personal advice on how they overcame specific Sales Talent Hiring challenges. 

▶ QUESTION: What specific hiring challenge would you like to see covered in this article? Please share your comments below.

▶ Not Sure What The Best Way is to Solve Your Sales Hiring Challenges? 

Book a complimentary business strategy call with Yoon Cannon here:

https://www.paramountbusinesscoach.com/coaching/coaching-call-sign-up/ 

Hiring for the first time?  

 

Download the free printable Hiring Checklist here:

How to Effectively Manage a Remote Team as a Small Business Owner

Working from home is a great benefit for both employees and business owners. It opens up larger talent pools for companies to source individuals from and allows people the opportunity to stay in one place rather than relocate to another. But despite its various benefits, remote work can still have its own set of problems.

While working from home, it can be hard to get everyone on the same page. As a business owner it’s vital to stay on top of your remote team and the responsibilities associated with it. Here are a variety of ways you can streamline your remote team’s process, so you can manage your team effectively.

1. Create Communication Channels

Going hours without speaking or messaging someone on your team is not a good sign, especially when you have team members working from home. If you’re not actively communicating with one another, you will have no clue where a project may be in production.

That’s why constant communication is one of the most important aspects of managing a remote team. When people worked in a traditional office setting it was easy to turn around or walk over to their workspace to talk about a problem or discuss a change. Now that your team is located in different places or even time zones, you need to have multiple platforms for communication.

While it seems like a given for remote work to have an instant messaging and video conference channel, select one that’s right for you and your work situation. If there is a free tool that will do everything you need, you can save some money for your business. Slack, Zoom, and Google Chat are common platforms for daily communication between remote employees.

Aside from conversation tools, also consider project management ones that team members can share materials on or mark the progress on a task. Software like Hive, Asana, and Trello allows your team to check off completed work or share materials with one another. Whichever tool you decide to use, make sure everyone understands how to operate it.

2. Set Daily Expectations

Goals are necessary for a variety of business operations, one of which is daily expectations. If your team doesn’t have a goal for the day, how is anything supposed to be completed? Now, each department is different when it comes to the everyday task to finish. For instance, an HR team will have a different focus than a writing team. It’s up to you, the manager, to work with your employees to establish what needs to be done by the end of each business day.

Start small when making a task list for your team. Maybe, in the beginning, it’s just logging their timecard. Once you’ve developed that steady rhythm, work with each individual and their working style to create larger daily expectations.

Every individual is unique in what they can accomplish in a day. While one employee can churn out multiple tasks and juggle different projects, another may want to focus on one thing for the week. That’s why you need to meet and learn about your individual team members, so you can play to people’s strengths and get things done.

3. Remember That We’re Humans

Unfortunately, the entire workforce has not become robots, yet. What that means for you is that burnout still occurs with your teams, especially when they are remote. Working from home can still often involve traveling to clients. These factors, amongst others, can lead to burnout and other negative health effects. For you as a leader, set the parameters and example for your team by shutting off from work at the end of the day. However, this doesn’t mean you log off every day at the same time, just differentiate circumstances such as a critical deadline.

It’s not just work deadlines you need to consider in your team’s daily lives. People have kids, hobbies, partners, emergencies, pets, personal lives, and other outside-of-work things that can pop up unexpectedly. If you haven’t already, create a leaving work for emergencies policy book or guidelines for your team. That way employees know the proper protocol for how to report their emergency and what qualifies as one. Situations like these pop out of nowhere, and can be frustrating, but remember your people come first, not the job.

4. Build Fun Opportunities

All work and no play are not conducive to keeping a remote team motivated. Take a break every few weeks or perhaps after a project is done to celebrate and relax a little. Virtual happy hours and other team bonding experiences became popular when the COVID-19 pandemic first made many businesses go remote. But now it’s time to bring back these virtual games to break up the workload and build bonds between teams.

Scavenger hunting, cooking, show and tell, or virtual home tours are all ways to get to know each other and not talk shop for a little bit. Ask your team if there’s an activity they want to do or if someone wants to lead a session. You’ll be surprised at what hobbies or skills people have outside of work. Kicking back to relax and just chatting is okay to do as well. Just mark time on your calendar every few weeks for fun activities like this to help your team unwind.

Closing Notes

Managing a remote team can seem daunting some days, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Using the right communication tools, setting daily expectations, remembering that everyone is human, and scheduling time for fun are all ways to make a team unit run efficiently. At the end of the day, your business’s success depends on your employees, and working together with them will help your end goals.

READ NEXT: CREATING HIGH PERFORMING SALES TEAMS

Guest Blogger Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital. He enjoys reading and researching tech and business. When he’s not looking into the latest trends, you can find him out cycling.

4 Tips for Startup Business Success

The majority of the difficulties in starting a business depend on doing the little things correctly. Any good coach will tell you at some point that the fundamentals are what get you to the top. There are many factors that play a huge role in the making and success of a business. So, if you are considering starting a business, here’s some important business success tips to follow:

1. Be data obsessed.

The more data you can track, the better your business decisions you’ll be able to make. Business always demands some “gut feel” decisions, but it is smarter to inform your gut as much as possible with all available facts.

Tracking key performance indicators for your company and understanding why they rise or fall can help you make decisions that will help your company grow and stay on track. By creating systems to provide you all the important and accurate data you need, you will ultimately make your business run smoother because you’ll be able to make better decisions each step of the way.

Be sure to have databases of people you interact with, that includes their names, job titles, business phone number, or even client’s feedback so that your decisions in the future will be based on all the information you have collected over time.

2. Pay attention to online reviews about your business.

Your business is “always on” even if you just operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Every company should set up Google alerts to monitor what their customers are saying about them, their competitors, and the market in general. Google Alerts is a fantastic and free tool for “listening” online. Be the first to know when a customer leaves a negative review or when someone praises your company online. Use these methods to remain ahead of the conversation and capitalize on it.

3. Be aware of your competitors.

Both your direct and indirect competitive options must be known and understood. You should continually be aware of your competitors’ activities, including what they are doing, how they market, and how they price their products. You may be the only one of your kind in your town or industry, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have indirect competitors.

RELATED ARTICLE: MAKE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION

4. Have a greater goal: a strong mission.

People prefer to work for companies that are more than just a money-making machine. That’s not to say you can’t have sales or profit targets; it just means that if your employees feel like they’re part of something bigger, they’ll work harder and be more loyal. Customers also like to buy from companies that they believe have integrity and a valuable mission.

Here is an example of my own mission statement of why helping entrepreneurs matters https://www.paramountbusinesscoach.com/about-yoon-cannon/why-it-matters/

Certainly, there is way more advice I don’t have the space in this short article that go into making a startup business successful, but use these four starter tips to help you take some baby steps forward.

Overall, today’s business requires flexibility as well as solid planning and organizing skills. Many people start a business with the expectation of turning on their computers or opening their doors and immediately producing money, only to discover that making money in business is far more difficult than they anticipated.

You can avoid this in your business operations by taking the time to seek out experts to give you invaluable advice, feedback, support to coach you to success. Investing in yourself early on in your business will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars of costly mistakes, not to mention save you from years of struggling and spinning your wheels.

▶ Want To Explore What Business Coaching Might Look Like For You?

Book a complimentary discovery call with me here:

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QUESTION: What question can I answer for you next about growing your startup business? Share your comments and questions below.

How to Build a Dream Team as an Entrepreneur

How to Build a Dream Team as an Entrepreneur (for Startups) 

startupThe purpose of this guide is to help you build your startup from a team of one to a team of many. You’ll know how to identify your startup needs, find the right people to fill those needs, and how you can bring those people together to create a high-performing team.

If you want to get your ideas off the napkin and on the ground running, it can be helpful to prioritize the growth of your team. These are people that you can mold into your workflow, and bridge the gap between your expertise and business knowledge. Not only will you have to expand it, but also make sure these individuals have a strong foundation to launch from. 

Have a Clear Vision for Your Startup 

If you’re reading this you probably have an ideal plan for your business, but the development of a business idea still has to be completed. Either way, solidifying the vision is a great first step toward a clearer direction. 

Once you’ve outlined your idea or “vision”, set SMART goals for building your future team. As a refresher, these are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound. They can always be adjusted throughout the different stages of your startup so don’t limit yourself, or feel limited to sticking to your original plan. 

During the stage of crafting your business’s vision, find individuals to network with and learn from. They may have gone through a similar process before, or have a well-rounded knowledge of establishing a startup. If conversations go well, and you build trustworthy work relationships with others, you can always further the mentorship process and ask them to be an advisor for your startup team.

These don’t have to be full-time employees, but more of a mentor or phone call away if you needed a helping hand. Without one, you could be missing out on necessary industry and experience-based knowledge so take additional time to prioritize those networking events, and connect with as many people on LinkedIn as you can! 

Once your advisor or board of advisors is established, make sure to take the time to review expectations and schedules with them. Take their areas of expertise and experience into consideration when developing a strategic plan for your business. ask questions such as: How involved will they be in the process? Will there be weekly or monthly meetings? 

Evaluate Your Startup Needs 

As an entrepreneur, you may pride yourself on being self-sufficient and independent, but you doing everything by yourself can actually lead to burnout. Skills that you may lack, another person could really excel at. Instead of thinking that you can do everything the best way, delegate the tasks to other people and work along with their strengths to help build your business.

Write down what skills you can improve upon, and what the main needs of your business are, and find the gaps in between each to create roles for your future team. Remember, self-awareness and honesty are key to benefit from this exercise. 

Hiring people who are different from you helps to create a well-rounded team with a diverse skill set. Diversity leads to more creative solutions to problems. Hiring people who are not only equipped with different skills and backgrounds but also different personalities and interests can lead to more success. While keeping diversity in mind, there are a few key abilities and traits that you should also look for when bringing on team members. 

First and foremost, startups can be completely unpredictable. Most of the time, they may be strapped for resources, tools, and possibly money. You will want people who can bounce back from mishaps that are bound to happen when you’re working in a company that’s in its early

stages. People who are adaptable, innovative, and capable of multitasking will thrive in this ever-changing and evolving work environment. 

Use Your Connections to Your Advantage 

This may seem obvious, but making connections is essential when you’re recruiting new business team members. Take advantage of networking events, industry-focused workshops, and other opportunities that may broaden your social reach.

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to first find someone (or maybe even multiple people) you trust to serve as an advisor on your team. Depending on what you’ve identified as your business needs, you’ll need people to fill those roles. Typically, the starting lineup of any company will include these positions: 

  • Chief executive officer 
  • Chief marketing officer 
  • Product manager 
  • Chief financial officer 
  • Chief technology officer 
  • Business development manager 
  • Sales manager 
  • Customer service expert 

However, don’t feel tied down to building your dream team around these positions. You can adjust or delegate multiple roles to team members. 

If you feel like the number of connections is looking limited, don’t hesitate to use hiring platforms to build your team too. Indeed, Linkedin and Glassdoor are reliable for finding and recruiting top talent. If you’re not confident using this method by yourself, consider involving your advisor in the hiring process. They can assist you in interviewing and choosing candidates, and it never hurts to have a second opinion on something that’s going to affect your business. 

Another thing to have handy in the hiring process is an employee checklist for candidates you’ve decided to move forward with. You’ll want to make sure your employees are set up for success early on in your business beginnings. On the note of successful beginnings, make sure your team is properly compensated whether it’s monetary or otherwise from the start of employment. 

Take your advisors, for example, they’re not just doing you a favor by mentoring you through your startup journey. There are a few ways to go about compensating advisors, one of the most common is to utilize the FAST Agreement from the Founder Institute. This is a flexible approach to providing compensation as it depends on the company’s maturity and the level of advisor engagement.

compensate top talentAs for your other team members, you may be wondering how you can not only compensate top talent but also entice them to work for you. For startups strapped for financial resources, it might seem like working for a startup is undesirable. Job seekers might opt for work at a larger company with higher pay and better benefits. But, how long does it take until those benefits are outweighed by a lack of satisfaction?

It all depends on an employee’s value, and how they are able to connect with your start-up’s overall mission. Even though a larger company is most likely more established, it does not mean they are prioritizing employee growth and opportunity. It’s all about how you advertise your business to those who you want to hire. Relate to an audience and show them that, even though you’re smaller and in a more development phase, it could give them a lot of experience! 

Working at a startup and on a smaller team fosters a sense of belonging and purpose as well. There is a clear goal for the team to work towards, and reaching that goal is the most satisfying feeling. Furthermore, a startup with a clear vision and personable leadership is more attractive than a big corporation with less than ideal morals and goals. As stated earlier, a startup may lack resources and constantly change. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, it gives employees a challenge that they can benefit from professionally. 

Making and utilizing connections is an effective way to form a team but it’s also crucial for finding support outside of your internal team. You’ll need people to advocate for your startup to help you achieve your goals. Accelerator programs are a great resource for breaking through a heavily saturated market.

Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, co-founders of the delivery company Gopuff, understood the importance of having an advocate in the early stages of a startup through their small business accelerator program. These are great for business-minded people who are starting their own companies because it gets them in front of the right people to find funding or other resources that can set them up for success. 

If you’re looking to expand, take advantage of the resources and opportunities that these company-created programs give you especially as you’re growing your team. And who knows, maybe one day you can give back to the entrepreneurial community with your own accelerator program or fund! 

Instill Strong Values In Your Team 

When you have finally assembled your team, consider having them take a personality assessment. This test can give you an idea of how individuals will work with you and the rest of your team. Remember, it’s less about who is on the team and more about how the team works together. Once you’ve done this, you know how your team can most efficiently work together. 

But, that’s not the end of things. What foundation are efficient and high-performing teams built on? A few things; trust, consistent communication, respect, and honesty. If your team consists of people with all these traits, they’re more likely to be there to support you and each other. From day one, you need to set up the expectations of these values for your team.

Re-evaluate Your Team as Needed 

Now that you have your team and know how best to work with each other, it’s important to keep track of your progress as a business. If you find your team is missing something, like a specific skill set or perspective, consider bringing someone on to help. You can either hire someone to fill a role on your internal team or you can outsource an individual or an entire team. 

Let’s say you’re lacking the marketing tools to propel your business and you find your team unsure of how to tackle this issue. Ask yourself, “Do I hire a team to do in-house marketing, or should I outsource?” While there is no right or wrong answer to this question, and it depends on what works best for your business, this outsourcing vs hiring guide may help you find perspective on what to do if you find yourself in a situation like this. 

At the end of the day, your team is what makes or breaks the success of your startup. Hence the saying you’ve probably heard countless times, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” By utilizing the tips mentioned above, you’ll build the startup team of your dreams in no time.

5 Ways to Maintain Cash Flow For Your Struggling Business in 2021

5 Ways to Maintain Cash Flow For Your Struggling Business in 2021

On top of everything else, 2020 has been a tough year financially for most individuals and businesses around the world. Many small businesses have lost the fight to stay open amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and several larger organizations have had to make serious budget and staff cuts to survive. This has all led to many companies leaning heavily on their emergency funds and perhaps you as well running extremely low on your line of credit.

It all started off simple enough—stay at home, operate as best you can, or take a brief break while we flatten the curve. However, as the months have drawn on and life has not returned to normal, it’s become harder and harder for many businesses to keep their doors open. The second wave of the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped.

However, it’s not the end of the world if you’ve reached the end of your credit. There are many ways for you to maintain cash flow for your struggling business in 2021, and even fund it’s growth!

#1: Make Strategic Budget Cuts For Your Line of Credit

If you haven’t started tightening your belt, it’s time to do so now. You need to see how your company can survive on less money each month. 

The first step is to draw up an extensive list of regular expenses so you can see where your money goes, and where you can cut costs. 

The biggest damage to a company’s profit margins doesn’t come from once-off expensive items—it comes from the regular payments that could be reduced. Look at items you can remove entirely, such as subscriptions to services that are nice to have but not essential. These can always be reinstated when cash flow improves. Then look at where you can reduce costs; for example, switching to more affordable coffee and cleaning products. It’s time to make concessions, and this means pinching pennies.

#2: Put A Spending Structure In Place

This is the kind of policy that a business should have in place regardless, but it may need to be tightened up a little bit if your credit has run dry. You need to be very strict with what can be expensed to the company, and what is for personal expenses. However, explain to your employees why you’re making these changes, how making them will help them keep the company alive, and how they contribute to ensuring their jobs stay intact. Without employee’s support and understanding, your efforts will probably look draconian and very demanding.

When changing your spending structure, focus heavily on why the changes are being made, and how you hope they’ll only be temporary. Then make sure that the changes are clearly spelled out so that there are no mistakes that could cost money you don’t have. This step will also help to give you clarity on your monthly budget for expenses, giving you a better understanding of what you’re dealing with.

#3: Clarify Your Payment Policy With Clients

Again, this is a policy that should already be in place. However, it’s well worth reviewing and ensuring that you, your employees, and your clients are up to speed–and that your payment policies are suitable for the current economic climate. This way, the people expected to pay you know what to do, and those who are following up on payments will have a straightforward procedure to follow.

When you are in a situation where businesses are operating on a knife-edge, it’s even more essential to ensure that invoices don’t go unpaid, or payment gets delayed. Having no line of credit as a backup means that each payment coming in on time is crucial.

Your payment policy should cover:

  • Payment deadlines–you should always follow the same deadlines for each invoice. They should be on a specific date or by a specific length of time. Having the same conditions for each client across your company makes tracking invoices much easier.
  • Penalties and fees–it’s essential that you spell out what the penalty is for late payments and how it will impact the invoice. 
  • Terms and conditions–this shows that the deadlines and penalties are something you’ve instituted company wide, and not just for a specific client. Using the right language here will also illustrate that your policy is non-negotiable, and that you will not give any client special treatment.

In addition to reviewing your policy regarding payment terms and penalties for late payments, you can look at offering incentives for early payment. If you know you need to get cash into your business because you have no credit left, you can offer customers the option of a small discount for quick settlement terms. This is a great way to help keep your cash flow looking good, it encourages loyalty with existing clients, and may even earn you some new ones. Customers may well need the break of the reduced rate as much as you need the income in trying times.

#4: Investigate Business Loans And Investors

A line of credit is not your only source of extra income for a business. You can look at getting a loan from a bank or some of the less traditional (but still safe) lenders. Crowdfunding is another great way to bring in income if you’re struggling with cash flow, as is looking for investors to help you stay afloat.

Credit running dry doesn’t have to be the end of your business. It’s all about finding the right way to bring in extra funds. Ensure your business plan is watertight, your financial records are in order, and your business is a solid investment, then approach lenders for assistance. Even a short-term loan could be enough to see you through a rough patch, or to facilitate the growth you need to keep pivot your business and keep generating profits. 

Remember, a lack of credit isn’t the end of your business. It’s a push you need to investigate new ways to cut costs, streamline expenses, reaffirm payment policies, and seek alternative avenues of funding. 

SOLUTION: Shift your focus from credit to getting creative with what you’ve got.

#5: Try Bartering to Reduce Out of Pocket Spending

One creative solution for your struggling business when cash flow and credit runs dry is the age old currency of bartering. Coming up with new ideas is one way to think outside the box, but sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

You can simply do what our forefathers perfected and trade your services for goods and services you need. There are various bartering networks you can google. One we recommend is Better Business Barter Club. You can contact the member chairperson at BucksContractors@gmail.com.

QUESTION:  Which of these tips could you implement IMMEDIATLEY to maintain cash flow for your struggling business? Share with us in the comments below!

How to Get Your Business to Run Without You

Take it from the CEO of Jetsmarter (a.k.a the Uber of Private Jets), Sergey Petrossov: reducing time and effort wasted on inefficiency can revolutionize your whole business. He upped his company’s annual business by over seven times, simply by spotting an inefficiency. 

Common inefficiencies stem from a lack of communication, getting stuck in outdated procedures and a constant search for something new (the shiny object syndrome). Therefore you have to root out these inefficiencies so that your business can run smoothly.

This requires shrewdness, a can-do attitude and professional coaching.

Are you ready for it?

#1: Know Every Inch of Your Business

Knowing every inch of your business means observing what you are currently doing and asking yourself:

  1. Do I have a clear understanding of what’s important and what’s not?
  2. Am I simply focusing on each task or crisis as it comes along?
  3. Can these tasks be systematized?

Observe your current patterns to determine your strength. Then, apply those useful principles to the rest of your business to systematize the entire process. You can‘t really be objective about your company’s situation if you’re constantly carrying out daily tasks, as the ‘doer.’ You have to step back, zoom in and observe.

“Those who are most successful are capable of ‘higher-level thinking’ – i.e., they are able to step back and design a ‘machine’ consisting of the right people doing the right things to get what they want.”  – Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund

This is the only way to create a system that allows you to remove yourself and let the business take care of itself. Principles by Ray Dalio is a great resource to learn more about this approach. As is Work the System by Sam Carpenter.

Once you’ve built your machine, improve it over time. Create a solid diagnosis of your goals and the problems blocking their path so that you and your team can stimulate creative solutions.

Google was famous for empowering their employees with ‘secret’ information and involving them in Q & A meetings where they could openly discuss anything with anyone. A clear and open communication flow can help you identify bottlenecks, generate better ideas, and build an effective business machine.

Would you agree? If so, you may benefit from a mastermind group that allows you to brainstorm core business challenges with fellow CEOs. Get that conversation started.

#2: Determine What Your Communication Strategy is Lacking

Don’t just say: “I can’t transfer my knowledge to my team.”

Instead, Ask yourself:

  • Which team member, and why?
  • Is it a problem of time or a lack of shared language?
  • Poor follow-through?
  • Lack of clarity?

It’s Only when you’ve identified a problematic pattern can you get to work designing a solution. Get your team in the habit of raising issues and risks that they feel are out of their control or impossible to deliver.

Communication is a tricky problem for most organizations, but it is absolutely your responsibility as a business owner to get it flowing.

So, Make your vision and your values available to your team in file that is accessible to everybody in your company. This way your employees and contractors can keep coming back to whenever they are unsure of the direction of your company. Having a set of principles accessible to everyone means you don’t have to constantly re-exert effort to explain yourself. Document everything, including common Q&As, guidelines etc. Have them organized and updated, often.

Good ideas come from all places. If you have a team that understands company goals, encourage them to ponder and speak up. Let them bring their disagreements into the open where it can be discussed and settled logically.

Are you taking advantage of communication tools like Slack, Basecamp or ProsperWorks? Use communication technology to automate internal processes while decreasing inefficiency, human error and unnecessary delays.

Bonus tip: Outlaw long and complicated emails. Communications should be razor-focused on a task, an update, or a process.

#3: Remove Bottlenecks with Technology

Leveraging technology is the best thing you can do for your business. The benefits are endless: smoother operations, greater customer experience, increased productivity and higher profits.

Jetsmarter made it easy for customers to access technology and information by letting them directly schedule their flights through an app.

As a result, agents were removed as a booking bottleneck and re-directed towards other tasks.

For better or worse, every company is now a software company. There are hundreds of applications that can be used to run business tasks.  It’s all about connecting people, processes, technology and data.

For your business to run smoothly and be highly adaptable to market needs, it needs digital integration. Use the proper tools to get you from knowledge to action in a systematic way.

How can you empower your business with technology?

Every industry has different needs.

Companies with manufacturing, transport and large investments may need to improve operations and take advantage of their infrastructures.

Other companies may want to focus on customer relationships and platforms.

Use technology to support your own goals, decreasing the amount of time and effort that you as a business owner need to focus on daily operations.

#4: Get Help So You Can Focus on the Big Picture

This means passing along some responsibilities when it becomes highly problematic or time-consuming. In other words: seeking help.

Escalation is not a failure — it’s recognition of responsibility.

Your business is meant to grow and run smoothly without your constant input. Because it becomes successful only when treated as a separate entity worthy of investment.

If time is the problem, get a virtual assistant to help you in a variety of areas, including administration, research, invoicing as well as marketing, sales and operational support.

If you have a core business challenge, consult a business coach who can “shift your mindset and perspective on your business which then allows for powerful breakthroughs in the strategic direction of your company.

Seek help.

#5: Define the Roles and Responsibilities of Your Staff

Did you know that there is a significant relationship between employee performance and clarity about roles and responsibilities?

According to one study: “Role ambiguity, which is absence of clarity for the roles, is considered to be one of the great bottlenecks for the effectiveness of the team.”

The research went on to indicate that employers who are clear about performance, evaluation and delivery improve their business tremendously. Not only are employees happier with their own performance; they uplift the entire organization.

How clear are you about your expectations?

If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Almost 50% of employees across different sectors lack role clarity. With start-ups, the problem stems from a fluid environment where everybody has to do everything. However, For larger organizations, it’s due to poor communication.

We’re talking about goals, priorities and boundaries.

Your Employees need to understand not just how they fit into the puzzle but how the other pieces fit in, too, and how the whole thing comes together. 

There is a freedom and passion that comes with clarity.

This includes you as the employer, CEO or business owner. The only thing you should be focusing on is making the best decisions for your business. Remove all the other noise from your head – you’d be amazed at how many different tasks there are that you can get someone else to do for you.

Seriously – here’s 84 examples!

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Conclusion

Are you ready to find out what it means to run a business that is so effective that you can pursue bigger and better goals? It’s possible. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary session today and find out exactly how you’re going to do it.

QUESTION: What inefficiencies have you found in your business that have allowed you to pursue bigger and better things? Share with us in the comments below!

Katrina McKinnon is a leading online innovator with over 20 years’ experience building and operating high performing businesses. In a market hungry for skilled online professionals, Small Revolution powered by Katrina McKinnon’s proven insights, is the fastest, most effective way to get the expertise to tap into this growing opportunity.