Real Problems Real Businesses Face

9 replies
We all know that most businesses want to grow, increase profits, increase/speed up cash flow, etc.

Yet I've found that many times the real problems that hurting businesses face have nothing to do with lack of marketing, sales, etc. Of course they may need to improve in those areas but they aren't the keys to the decline.

Building a new website, setting up a social media campaign, giving them a mobile site, starting them with email, etc. may actually do more harm than good or at least not solve the core issues and without solving the core issues they are still going to be doomed.

They may be having trouble because of things such as:
  • Too much debt (increasing income through marketing so debt can be paid off may require more debt which may not solve anything)
  • Customer service issues
  • Production issues (their basic processes for product/service fulfillment are flawed)
  • Flawed leadership/management
  • Location
  • Quality issues (product or service isn't up to par)
  • Inept employees that could care less
  • Lack of cash flow (couldn't afford to do marketing or anything else even if it could save them)
  • Ignorant/Incompetent business owners
  • Supplier issues
  • Too much business
  • Profit margins non-existent
What do you do when you come across issues like this? Do you still try to sell them a website/ SEO package/social media/advertising or do you move on to someone else or do you try to address the real issues?

Mark
#businesses #face #problems #real
  • In regards to clients who have little to no cash flow, I always ask them for how much they yearning.

    Are they going to struggle to pay me?

    Will it require having to spend thousands on their part?

    The last thing I want is to have a business struggle just to have me help them.

    There are business owners who earn thousands and yet are cheapskates and don't want to pay your price. These people are annoying.

    Instead, ask the businesses how much they are struggling once they tell you they can't afford your services.

    I don't like letting them go if I know I am capable of helping them and they know what I'm capable of.

    I am obviously always very flexible with my services, but I don't lowball myself either.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    We all know that most businesses want to grow, increase profits, increase/speed up cash flow, etc.

    Yet I've found that many times the real problems that hurting businesses face have nothing to do with lack of marketing, sales, etc. Of course they may need to improve in those areas but they aren't the keys to the decline.

    They may be having trouble because of things such as:
    • Too much debt (increasing income through marketing so debt can be paid off may require more debt which may not solve anything)
    • Customer service issues
    • Production issues (their basic processes for product/service fulfillment are flawed)
    • Flawed leadership/management
    • Location
    • Quality issues (product or service isn't up to par)
    • Inept employees that could care less
    • Lack of cash flow (couldn't afford to do marketing or anything else even if it could save them)
    • Ignorant/Incompetent business owners
    • Supplier issues
    • Too much business
    • Profit margins non-existent
    What do you do when you come across issues like this? Do you still try to sell them a website/ SEO package/social media/advertising or do you move on to someone else or do you try to address the real issues?

    Mark
    Sadly Mark, what you've described represents every single business featured on the popular show
    "The Profit". Most of those businesses actually did quite well selling whatever their particular products were but were extremely poor in many of the areas you've highlighted on your list.

    After watching two seasons of this show it's clear main street businesses suffers from many of these problems in some form and strangely it was almost as if they'd never heard of any of the business 101 concepts Marcus Lemonis presented in very basic terms.

    So yes, your original question about whether you address the greater issues or simply push a product/service/whatevers to them instead becomes a major issue if you have a conscious.

    What comes to mind is kind of like prescribing an aspirin when a full on surgery is really the best option rather than selling a website/sms/social media/etc. to a business.

    I guess responsible selling gets down to figuring out, at the very least, how to ask some very pointed questions that will clearly show they are able to even handle whatever firehose power your solution will potentially activate.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by mojo1 View Post

      Sadly Mark, what you've described represents every single business featured on the popular show
      "The Profit". Most of those businesses actually did quite well selling whatever their particular products were but were extremely poor in many of the areas you've highlighted on your list.

      After watching two seasons of this show it's clear main street businesses suffers from many of these problems in some form and strangely it was almost as if they'd never heard of any of the business 101 concepts Marcus Lemonis presented in very basic terms.

      So yes, your original question about whether you address the greater issues or simply push a product/service/whatevers to them instead becomes a major issue if you have a conscious.

      What comes to mind is kind of like prescribing an aspirin when a full on surgery is really the best option rather than selling a website/sms/social media/etc. to a business.

      I guess responsible selling gets down to figuring out, at the very least, how to ask some very pointed questions that will clearly show they are able to even handle whatever firehose power your solution will potentially activate.
      Most businesses are hammers going in search of a nail.

      The question should be: Does this prospect need a hammer applied at all?

      In this post I describe a process for identifying the solution your prospect really requires--if anything:

      http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ients-how.html

      No change, or another vendor's solution, may be the best fit...and that's OK. Walk in to the first discussion with this in mind, and qualify.
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      • Profile picture of the author mojo1
        Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

        Most businesses are hammers going in search of a nail.

        The question should be: Does this prospect need a hammer applied at all?

        In this post I describe a process for identifying the solution your prospect really requires--if anything:

        http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ients-how.html

        No change, or another vendor's solution, may be the best fit...and that's OK. Walk in to the first discussion with this in mind, and qualify.

        I just read your other post and your entire reply #6 really sums things up squarely.

        Thank God for those fearless entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, statistically so many close their doors soon after opening because outside of mastering their creation or doohickey, they are missing a major piece of knowledge.

        Out of curiosity, in your experience what essential business courses or concepts would you recommend potential business owners take or master prior to opening any business?
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        • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
          Originally Posted by mojo1 View Post

          I just read your other post and your entire reply #6 really sums things up squarely.

          So many close their doors soon after opening because outside of mastering their creation or doohickey, they are missing a major piece of knowledge.

          Out of curiosity, in your experience what essential business courses or concepts would you recommend potential business owners take or master prior to opening any business?
          Just go in with an open mind and not pushing what you offer just because you offer it.

          That alone will allow you to see things, ask the right questions, and uncover what's really going on in your prospect's world.

          THEN you can decide whether you and they are a fit for one another or not.

          Everyone starts off wherever they happen to be, and waiting around to be knighted or blessed before starting is frankly entirely too self-limiting. Work with what you've got. You can always add to it as you go.

          A basic understanding of accounting and cash flow never hurt. (Note for future reference: a high cash flow can cover up many mistakes like bad marketing, especially in big companies which have annual budgets that must be spent lest they be reduced or not renewed.)

          Learning about different business models is helpful. (These were NOT taught to me in college.)

          Knowing that you will get the best results by asking, "Why?" is extremely powerful. "Why have you been doing that?" "Why are you considering this project?" "Why do you think I might be the person to carry it out?" Ask "Why?" to many levels of detail.

          Is your solution, whatever combination of products or services you have available it may be, truly the best path for your prospect or client-to-be? Or would they really be better served by something else?

          You will get bigger projects by doing this. You will also qualify Out more projects that, yes, may have given you a little money in the short term, but, no, would not have resulted in a measurable positive increase, the 'stretch' you need to up your game, or a happy customer in the long term.

          An example:

          A guy called me up having decided he wanted 2 hours of coaching. That's it. He sold alarm systems by phone, and I bet his commission was $80-$100.

          What could I have charged? What did he expect? $75? $150? He told me he was pretty much broke.

          What would he really have learned in those 2 hours? Would it have stuck? (No. You need repetition--ongoing reinforcement--for it to stick.)

          What's the minimum requirement for my personal time and the support I know he really needs to improve his performance? Ten or more times higher than his budget...and much higher than his project can support at $80-$100 commission per sale. He has to live and pay rent after all; so, what profit could there be? He'd have to sell at least one every day to hit $2500-$3000 and barely get on the board for a payback period of 3 or 4 months for my personal involvement.

          Conclusion: What I offer is not a fit for him in this situation. He wouldn't retain what I taught him, and the financial constraints of his project couldn't justify the investment I require. In plain language, what he was selling wasn't at a high enough price to give him a profit to pay for my help. Two months from now, if I had taken the job on, he would likely be telling other people he spent his last $150 on me and didn't get anything valuable in return.


          Another example:

          A guy who had bought my training some months before came back wanting to hire a phone salesperson, and have me train them.

          His product is a SaaS-type app and sells for $100/month.

          Once again, we look at the numbers. How many of these things need to be sold to justify both a) the telemarketer's wage and b) my fee?

          Can I get the job done within those constraints?

          At a point, I suggested that given the low four-figure budget allowed by the project, perhaps a direct mail piece would be a better investment.

          We did come to an agreement satisfying both sides and the project. But I was not married to sales training as the answer to his problem. And if I didn't believe the project supported the budget, or that I could get the results he needs (by whatever means), I would have said so. In fact, I frequently said it was right on the cusp.


          Does it take multi-year training to be able to do what I just did? Of course not. What it does take is the willingness to walk in with a blank slate, move off the solution, and say, "We might not be a fit. But let's have the conversation, be honest with one another, and find out."

          Doing this, you will also frequently uncover needs and solutions you can provide that neither of you had in mind at the start of your talk. This is what leads to bigger projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    I only recently discovered "The Profit" and am enjoying it so far.

    I guess in some ways my question is unfair. A life insurance salesman, for example, doesn't fix cars no matter how bad a customer may need their car fixed. Likewise, someone selling a social media package probably isn't up to speed on improving workflow processes or handling employee problems.

    I was just wondering if anyone else addressed these core issues or not.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      I only recently discovered "The Profit" and am enjoying it so far.

      I guess in some ways my question is unfair. A life insurance salesman, for example, doesn't fix cars no matter how bad a customer may need their car fixed. Likewise, someone selling a social media package probably isn't up to speed on improving workflow processes or handling employee problems.

      I was just wondering if anyone else addressed these core issues or not.

      Mark
      Specialization is fine. It's easy to get credibility when you specialize. Also easier to raise your prices.

      But you must know your limits.

      Yes, that life insurance salesperson is NOT going to fix a car by selling a customer a new policy.

      Yes, that social media mastermind is NOT going to fix a broken company with bad management and horrible cash flow by selling them a new viral marketing program.

      In both these cases, they are actually probably making the problem worse.

      At some point, you have to be willing and happy to say, "Sorry, that's not what we do," or, "I'm afraid we can't get you the results you want at that investment level," or, "What I do isn't what's best for you. Here's what I recommend..."

      Those who are just desperate to sell are terrified by the idea of doing this, however.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexTee
    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    We all know that most businesses want to grow, increase profits, increase/speed up cash flow, etc.

    Yet I've found that many times the real problems that hurting businesses face have nothing to do with lack of marketing, sales, etc. Of course they may need to improve in those areas but they aren't the keys to the decline.

    Building a new website, setting up a social media campaign, giving them a mobile site, starting them with email, etc. may actually do more harm than good or at least not solve the core issues and without solving the core issues they are still going to be doomed.

    They may be having trouble because of things such as:
    • Too much debt (increasing income through marketing so debt can be paid off may require more debt which may not solve anything)
    • Customer service issues
    • Production issues (their basic processes for product/service fulfillment are flawed)
    • Flawed leadership/management
    • Location
    • Quality issues (product or service isn't up to par)
    • Inept employees that could care less
    • Lack of cash flow (couldn't afford to do marketing or anything else even if it could save them)
    • Ignorant/Incompetent business owners
    • Supplier issues
    • Too much business
    • Profit margins non-existent
    What do you do when you come across issues like this? Do you still try to sell them a website/ SEO package/social media/advertising or do you move on to someone else or do you try to address the real issues?

    Mark
    Jeez.....

    Except for:

    • Too much business

    I would keep it moving!
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  • Profile picture of the author KloudStrife
    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    We all know that most businesses want to grow, increase profits, increase/speed up cash flow, etc.

    Yet I've found that many times the real problems that hurting businesses face have nothing to do with lack of marketing, sales, etc. Of course they may need to improve in those areas but they aren't the keys to the decline.

    Building a new website, setting up a social media campaign, giving them a mobile site, starting them with email, etc. may actually do more harm than good or at least not solve the core issues and without solving the core issues they are still going to be doomed.

    They may be having trouble because of things such as:
    • Too much debt (increasing income through marketing so debt can be paid off may require more debt which may not solve anything)
    • Customer service issues
    • Production issues (their basic processes for product/service fulfillment are flawed)
    • Flawed leadership/management
    • Location
    • Quality issues (product or service isn't up to par)
    • Inept employees that could care less
    • Lack of cash flow (couldn't afford to do marketing or anything else even if it could save them)
    • Ignorant/Incompetent business owners
    • Supplier issues
    • Too much business
    • Profit margins non-existent
    What do you do when you come across issues like this? Do you still try to sell them a website/ SEO package/social media/advertising or do you move on to someone else or do you try to address the real issues?

    Mark
    The real issues in the website and business module should be your absolute main focus when it comes to building what your trying to make profit off of. solving one issue at a time will not only save you time and money, it will help teach you of the errors you need to avoid when building your business and also what you need to do to grow a successful one
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