The interview I did with Andrew Morello had so much quality content that I had to do a part two to squeeze it all in for you. This is testament to Andrews’s knowledge in the field of sales and all the training sessions he has run for large organisations around sales. In part two of my interview with Andrew, I discussed with him ways in which startups can become dollar productive. It’s crucial that you’re always thinking outside of the box and not afraid to talk about what you do.
Below are Andrew’s five suggestions on how your startup can get dollar productive right now!
1. Increase leads any way you can (be smart)
One mistake that all startups make is that they concentrate on things that are not important. A prime example of this is worrying about what your website looks like, what your brand looks like or what your flyers look like. In the early days, you need to concentrate on things that are dollar productive. Try starting with the three F’s.
F – Friends
F – Family
F – Fools
When you start out in a business, often you haven’t got the credibility just yet, and you’re relying on people that know you, trust you and are prepared to give you a go. This person that trusts you is only a fool until you turn them into a client, and they are only a client until you turn them into a friend, and they are only a friend until they become part of the family.
Anything you have ever done in the past, like other business ventures or jobs, will help you find prospects. These people are great to start with because they trust you, and they know you.
In order to keep on feeding the prospecting machine, you always need to have leads coming into your funnel. These leads can come from your networks / referral networks, Consider the concept of reverse engineering your sales funnel. If you want to do 10 sales per month that may mean that you need to do 40 face-to-face appointments per month, which means you might need to be speaking with 400 prospects over the phone in a month. If you’re looking at your business networks to increase leads and become more dollar productive for example, with a financial services business you might want to consider contacting any accountants you know, bankers you work with, lawyers or financial planners.
The other source for leads could be within your community networks. Could you join a Rotary or a Lions Club? Could your church, your mosque or your synagogue be another place to look for increasing leads? It wouldn’t be that hard for you to create a referral program with one of these organisations and then pay them a referral fee which could go back to the organisation and help support their cause. All of these strategies will also help your startup to be recession proof.
Another area to try (don’t go too crazy with this) is to look at purchasing leads. The quality may not always be amazing but if you’re not the salesman or the prospector then this could work well for you. A client that Andrew signed up used this strategy in the early days and built their business up to $700k in upfront revenue per year. The secret to this businesses success was that he gave each of the leads phenomenal service, which allowed him to get 3 or more referrals off them, to the point where he no longer has to buy leads or prospect.
Your startup is no different to any other sales business, and you need to look to build out a sales funnel. Everybody that you meet should be a prospect or an opportunity in your CRM (Client Relationship Management) software. Even if they are hot, cold, or not interested, make sure you put them in your CRM so that you can at least put them on a monthly newsletter.
Don’t make the mistake of going to a networking event, collecting a 100 business cards and then saying only 3 were interested, and throwing away the other 97 business cards. The other 97 people should go into your CRM and onto your newsletter so that they might become a prospect in the future. It’s up to them to opt out if they really hate your product or service, not for you to make that decision on their behalf.
Don’t make your content salesy make it educational. At the end of each of your educational newsletters or piece of content, you should have an opt-in if the prospect would like to get started with your business.
One final tip for increasing leads is to look for joint venture opportunities. For example, if you’re a supplement store, consider doing a partnership with a gym and offer a month free membership for anyone that spends over $200 on protein powders. These types of strategic partnerships can add revenue to your bottom line.
2. Start with entry-level products (you don’t buy a Rolls Royce for your first car)
Don’t try and sell the premium package straight away. Have an entry-level product so that people can get to know you. Something like a $99 ebook can work well, and then they have the option to upgrade to the $1500 package. If you’re selling a product, then let the prospects try it for a period of time.
3. Don’t have too much of your revenue coming from large giants
Mum and dad businesses are a great target market because they are recession proof. What that means is that whether the economy is good or the economy is bad, there is always a mum and dad that needs your product. The danger of going after large organisations is that as soon as there is a GFC or tightening of the economy, generally the larger companies make the budget cuts first and then when the economy turns around they are the last to get invigorated.
“When Andrew was asked to speak at the G20 Youth Summit, they discussed the massive issue of global youth unemployment. At the end of the discussion they realised that the answer wasn’t in government or large corporates, but rather it was in entrepreneurism”
The danger of selling to a large organisation is that if they makeup 80% of your business and then you lose them, the majority of revenue is gone overnight. At the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with selling to small business and mums and dads. It’s also a great way to deleverage your business.
4. You must measure
A great way to measure if you’re dollar productive is to work to what Andrew and his mentor (John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate) call “the ideal week.” It’s the seven days that you live your life broken up into dollar productive activities and personal activities. The point of this is to try and find ways to leverage off your personal activities so that they become dollar productive.
A great example of this would be if you had kids and wanted to drop them off at school each day and pick them up at the end of the day, make sure you wear your company polo top and wrap your car with your businesses logos, so people know what you do. Also, try and meet a new parent every day, have a business card in your pocket and always tell the parents what you do. This is a great conversation starter, and the natural barrier that people have is broken down because you have got something in common which is that your children go to school together.
5. Leverage social (yes we said it again)
Andrew considers himself as a bit of an old dog when it comes to technology, but he has recently started to take much more notice of social media. Having said that, I was originally going to do the interview with Andrew over Facetime but he insisted on face to face because he believes that business is about catching up with people and finding out what’s going on in their life.
Social Media allows you for to be an advocate for your business. Jane Lu from ShowPo is a great example of this. Her business went from $20,000 per month in sales online to more than $1 million dollars per month in sales online. Jane is a walking talking billboard for her business and in the early days she had more than 100k of Facebook likes and a lot of people that had liked her page had actually met her at some point.
“When you’re in the startup phase your business page on social media is your personal page”
Andrews Morello’s Social Media Tips
- Use social media as a way to keep people interested in your startup
- Try not to flog too many products on your social media pages
- Don’t be afraid to be a little bit rough around the edges and show some vulnerability.
- Avoid putting up anything offensive but there is nothing wrong with putting up photos of you, and you’re family. It shows people you’re a family man, and that’s the type of person that people want to do business with.
If you would like to connect with Andrew or follow him, then you can below:
Website – www.andrewmorello.com
Instagram – @andrewmorello
Facebook – Andrew Marcello Morello
Twitter – @ AndrewMorello
How to Create a Winning Startup Culture
Some time back, in my infographic on 51 Business Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs Make, I had outlined that one of the biggest mistakes is that you do not give any thought as to what you consider would be a great startup culture. And, without good policies or HR to keep things in check, the startup begins to develop a toxic business culture. (more…)
51 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dream Startup
So you’ve got an idea. You know it will work. And, it means the world to you.
You are an entrepreneur and you think you can rock the world with this one idea that matters to you the most. And, you set out to form the idea into a startup that you are going to nurture and develop into a blooming business in the upcoming years.
However, I don’t want to throw water over your dreams but, I do need to bring this “optimist” you into the hard and cold reality…….. the reality which says that 90% of all startups fail.
Of course, this can bring a great deal of uncertainty into your life and you got to be prepared to deal with it. You are also going to face a ton of challenges in your life which will force you to grow as an entrepreneur. But, the important thing is that you stick with it.
Of course, as Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s friend) once said, “All I Want to Know is Where I’m Going to Die So I’ll Never Go There”. No entrepreneurs want their startups to fail after putting in days and weeks of effort into it.
So, a lot of research has been put forward into knowing what does actually sabotage a startup?
Fortune reported that the single biggest reason startups fail was because they do not identify what the market wants before setting up their startup.
However, it isn’t as simple as that. An entrepreneur needs to perform a comprehensive business plan before he sets out with his business idea. Also, you have to know whether your business idea actually suits you or not. If it doesn’t then, you either you need to fine-tune yourself with your business idea or you need to change the business plan so that it suits you.
And, it is only after that, should you venture upon your startup.
Now, is that all? Of course not. The problem most entrepreneurs face when they first begin their entrepreneurial journey is that they don’t know what they don’t know.
That’s where they tend to make a series of mistakes that may cause great harm to their startup.
That’s why I scoured for successful entrepreneurs to provide me with information on what they think were the most common mistakes that startups do. Plus, I also got tips on how to avoid these mistakes.
You can check out the original article here: 70 Mistakes Startups Make And Tips On How You Can Avoid Them
Now, it’s your turn to do some work. Let me know what you thought of these mistakes and tips that entrepreneurs commit. Do you know of any other mistakes that entrepreneurs do? Comment below!
8 Key Factors That Discourage Investors From Putting Money Into Your Startup
Today’s ideas are tomorrow’s winning businesses. Ideas executed brilliantly and with proper investment bring your business success. That is how the world of business got the likes of Apple, Google, McDonald’s, Amazon and so on.
But why in spite of the brilliant and promising ideas at the core of their business, many startups fail to attract investors? Why do investors hesitate to put their money into some startups? Well, investors have reasons and only by deciphering these reasons we could get hold of some deterrent factors that hold them back.
Let us explain some of the vital factors that prevent investors from putting their money in the startups below:
1. Inefficiency or Absence of Leadership Qualities
Inefficiency is the most significant deterrent factor for pulling the success of most startups. This can also be referred to as the lack of leadership qualities. Investors always want to make sure that they don’t lose their money through a company that has an extraordinary business model but no efficient and skilled business leader to make it successful. When fetching investment from investors, you need to offer a clear prospect and detailed plan of how you are going to achieve the goals.
2. Lack of Trustworthiness
An investor puts his money on a venture purely on the basis of the credibility and trustworthiness of the business. This is why besides having a sound business plan with clear objectives, you need to establish the integrity in terms of the security of the investor’s money and how the fund is going to be invested to give results as per business plan.
If an investor has a feeling that the startup may not have enough customers to fulfil its financial liabilities or if it finds that the business is hiding some information, it may further push the trust of the investors down. Total transparency and establishing the faith of the business brand are crucial for finding investors in favor.
3. Lacking Experience in Business Management
You have a great business idea backed up by a sound business plan and solid trustworthiness based on your background, but you have zero experience in managing a business. This is a serious reason for an investor to deny making any investment in your business. An investor cannot put his money just to allow you trying and learning your management skills the harder and riskier way. Uncertainty is the single biggest turn-off factor for any investor and lack of managerial experience is synonymous to that.
4. Business Model is Not Sound Enough
You have a business idea, some efficient, competent and experienced professionals as leaders, the great stamp of trust and pretty much everything that make a company look promising. But what about your business strategy and business model? Are they sound enough to take on the market competition and challenges for business growth? Well, this is what investors are most interested in.
In most cases, a business model is what makes an investor think twice and even take a backward step from investing in a startup. After all, your business model and strategy will decide how your business and products will be able to withstand competition and become victorious.
5. Taking Investors for Granted
This is a big mistake on the part of many startups. Just by becoming confident in the potential and the soundness of the business model and prospect, a business can consider getting investors on board requires just a little effort and time. But in reality, getting investors on board is the toughest thing a business can think of.
This is why without proper and meticulous preparation, it would be foolish to approach investors for your business. Most investors receive hundreds of such emails and a similar number of approaches through other means and they coldly just let them pass. This is why you need to send them very detailed proposals backed by strong recommendations and referrals.
6. Targeting the Wrong Investor
Every business has a target customer base, right? Not all customers are interested in every product in the market. Similarly, not all investors are interested in your business. Investors based on their prior experience and industry exposure, put their money in businesses that they know like their own palm of their hand.
So, targeting an investor who has no interest in your business will only drain your energy and bring you unnecessary frustration. When you are seeking investors for your software startup, don’t approach someone investing in real estate business.
7. Non-Realistic Proposal for Funds
Investors normally come with huge experience of your industry and so they have a clear idea about the fund requirements for your business startup. Moreover, they already have invested in other ventures or have gone through many proposals. Naturally, they have every bit of estimate already in their mind. So, any proposal claiming a lofty and unrealistic amount will only face rejection.
This is why it would be wise to become meticulous about your estimation of the required fund and calculation of various cost factors. Have meticulous details about every facet of investment backed up by breakup of the costs. Only when you can convince them with correct estimation, investors can take interest in discussing the matter further.
8. Make Sure Your Product Solves a Customer Problem
Will any investor put money in building a simple calendar app now? No, simply because such an app idea has no value for the end users now. Will an investor put money in a product that has already been outdated and has no use? No, no investor has to even go through such a proposal for dismissing them.
Well, to fetch investment, your product must be thoroughly customer-centric. It not only has to solve a problem but has to deliver some competitive value in comparison to similar products in the market.
Obviously, finding an investor for a new business is not an easy task, considering the huge competition that businesses need to deal with. But, if your business idea is unique and you fill all those requirements correctly as mentioned above, finding investors may not be as tough as it sounds.
5 Must Have Branding Tools for Your Startup
Your brand is more than just the colors on your website. And for startups, it’s important to create a strong and memorable brand from the beginning if you want to stand out from the competition, scale your company, and find your ideal customers faster.
Here are 5 simple tools that will help your company avoid branding mistakes, take charge of your visual identity, and set a solid foundation for future growth:
1. Graphic Design Software
The word “design” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before deciding on your startup’s logo, colors, designs, and overall tone, consider working with a brand strategist who can translate the core ingredients of your startup into a visual identity that speaks to your target market.
Brand strategists have expertise in the psychology of colors, shapes, textures, and words, and they will work with you to make sure that your branding appeals to your target audience. Once you have those basics of your brand established, there are several tools that can help your company refresh and maintain your visual identity.
The absolute best graphic design tool for non-designers is Canva. While the free version has a lot of functionality, the paid plans offer more customization such as the ability to import your exact brand fonts and colors.
But if your company handles all of your design in-house, you will need something more advanced than Canva. In that situation, I would recommend Adobe Creative Cloud to startups who work on their designs in-house, as it includes top-notch design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, and more.
“Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room – Jeff Bezos
2. Visuals & Creative Imagery
Have you ever wondered where your competitors get those beautiful branded photographs that end up on their website? While it’s possible that they worked with a photographer, it’s also likely that much of their imagery comes from stock photos.
Here are my recommendations on the exact places to purchase stock imagery to improve your company’s branding:
- Creative Market – A treasure trove of quality visual imagery where you can buy anything from stock photos, to branding mockups, to social media templates (Facebook cover photo, anyone?), to custom fonts… the options are nearly endless.
- Adobe Stock – Beloved by designers, and the platform offers tiered pricing plans based on your image needs and download quantity.
- Pixels – If you’re on a tight budget and just need to grab an image or two for a blog post, you may be able to find what you need on Pixels – which is great because all of the photos and videos on Pixels are free!
3. Social Media Scheduler
You’re a leader. You’re an entrepreneur. Your staff, board, funders, and admirers depend on you to make big decisions, lead the ship, and plot the vision towards your company’s future. You don’t have time to stare at a blank screen every day wondering what to post on Facebook.
By using a social media scheduling tool, you can sit down for a few hours, schedule batches of content, and schedule the dates and times when it will post to your accounts over the next couple of months. Then, once the content is posted, you only need to worry about responding to comments and engaging with your customers. 21st century efficiency at its finest.
Popular social media schedulers include Buffer and Hootsuite, both of which include free and paid plans. Not sure what exactly to post? Check out these social media ideas from influential businesses. And if the idea of writing and planning months of content still overwhelms you, our next tool will help you stay organized and on-brand.
4. Editorial Calendar
When it comes to your content, it’s time to step it up a notch and start thinking like a media outlet. Every piece of content that you put out as a company, whether it’s an e-mail blast, blog post, social media post, podcast, or video, needs to be aligned with your brand.
Each major magazine maintains an editorial calendar which outlines the overarching theme for each of the upcoming 12+ months. By establishing a monthly content theme in advance, they create a framework to generate and organize their ideas.
Consider creating an internal editorial calendar that will guide your startup’s content over the next 6-12 months. The software tool you use to maintain your editorial calendar isn’t that important — I like to use Trello, but you can also create a simple numbered list in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. You may be surprised at how quickly the creative juices flow once you have an editorial calendar in place.
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand
5. In-Person Networking
Offline efforts count towards your branding too! And if you run your entire startup from behind your laptop screen, you miss out on ample opportunities to build your business offline and gain local referral partners.
If you’re new to in-person networking, start by visiting Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com where you can browse for events in your area. Think outside the box when it comes to selecting events to attend. For example: If you’re a chiropractor, it makes sense to attend local holistic health meetups. But you could also attend a travel event and meet digital nomads who don’t yet realize that a chiropractor can help them recover after long plane rides.
Remember that you’re not at the networking event to make instant sales, you’re looking for referral partners and connections. Don’t be the person who tries to shove your sales pitch down everyone’s throat upon meeting them.
As you can see, there are many simple online and offline resources that can help you spruce up your branding, reach new customers, and pique the interest of your target market. If you take branding one step at a time and start with the tools above, you will be well on your way to creating a brand that your customers will cherish and remember.
Have you used any of these branding tools before? Are there any additional tools that have helped your startup’s branding shine? Share your thoughts below!
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