Years ago a successful entrepreneur friend of mine told me “Dude, sales solves all problems. Put your foot on the sales accelerator and no matter what happens, don’t let up!”
I keep trying to find an exception to this absolute statement, but I haven’t yet found anything to truly contradict this. Some examples of the debate go like this:
- Having a hard time fundraising for growth capital? More revenue and faster growth rate of revenue will always attract investors and better valuations.
- Limitations with your product? If you have revenue now, then you have something that people will pay for, so sell what you have. Fund the product enhancements with sales revenue.
- Team resource limited? Need more hires to deliver the goods you say, sell more stuff and get creative with your payment terms and delivery plans so that you can do what it takes to deliver and have money left over to invest back into cash that will eventually be able to grow the team.
I could go all day… and some days, I literally do have this conversation with startups all day long because they are stuck raising money and don’t know what else to do. It’s not a silver bullet, blue pill, or magic potion, but it “sell more” is the answer that startups usually need, whether they like it or not.
There are however, just a few assumptions that go into this [otherwise] absolute statement that sales solves all problems.
Assumption #1: Your business model is fundamentally sound and you make a respectable gross margin.
Assumption #2: You are fully committed to the business for the long term. There are no quick fixes in growing a business.
Assumption #3: You aren’t disappointing your customers. You may not be able to exceed their expectations, but at least delivering to the expected value is mandatory.
Assumption #4: You have an awesome culture and your team is on board with you and enjoying life.
As long as these fundamentals are in place, then I stand by the motto “sales solves all problems” for startups. Roll up those sleeves and make some cold calls.
Action item: need advice on how to sell? Read Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross YESTERDAY!