What do waffle irons, billion dollar yoga pant companies and hip-hop mix-tapes have in common? Radically simple sales goals.
Having huge ambition and a grand vision for your company is essential. You definitely want to have that. But when you’re first starting out, what will make you successful is a radically small goal. That’s the key: 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): grand vision getting in the way of creating results today.
I was talking to three different CEO’s recently. They had ambitious long-term sales targets, but I kept hearing things like -
“Well I just two more channel partners. 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’re going to spend a ton of time courting people that may one day sell to their customers and magically everything will be okay?!
Is 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.”
You know what? That process sucks (and I even enjoy sales). It’s not the glamorous or easy route. It’s hard because it means going out into the world with your imperfect idea and having tons of people reject it.
Your 6-month projections show 1000’s of customers and tons of customers. So why make those calls today?
Ambition and vision are crucial to your success over the long-term. But getting there begins with being willing to start small.
Here’s a few humble beginnings for you -
- Jay Z sold mix-tapes 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 anyway. They chose to just get started. They embraced the baby steps. They learned and kept building from there.
I think your grand vision is awesome. I believe in it too. But I really want to know the 10 potential customers you’ll talk to this week. When are you reaching out to them?