From my observations it seems much of the literature and discussion regarding growing small business seems to orbit around having the Owner get out of the field, out of the office, and into/focused on SALES.
I also have noticed many on this forum and other small business owners I have spoken with in my area LOVE sales.
Is this love of sales a prerequisite for being a successful small business owner? What about owners who dislike sales, hate sales, and don’t want to get into sales. As I see it every business has 3 “departments.” Sales, Administrative, Production.
Is it possible/efficient/good idea for a small business owner to delegate out the Sales aspect of their business?
Excellent reply Jeff. I guess I should clarify my question a bit.
Can a small business grow and scale (let’s say between $0 - $750,000) in annual sales without the Owner being full-blown involved in sales. Can the owner be a production field tech and delegate the admin and sales roles? Or can the owner be an admin and delegate sales and production?
Obviously anything is possible. But I am wondering if there is a specific reason most of the conventional knowledge (and it may be completely correct and reasonable) points at the Owner being the sales branch of the company.
I worked around a fellow some years back that had a rather large, professional outfit. Very competent and very organized. He at one time paid a guy that had lost his sales job in the recession to strictly do sales for him on a commission basis. I heard it worked quite well for them both. Eventually the sales guy learned window cleaning himself and started his own profitable business.
So having a dedicated salesman is a simple formula for growth, I would think. Many industries do just that.
I hate sales too but I love marketing. I definitely think the owner can delegate sales, you just have to have it all spelled out (literally) as to how you want it done, scripts and all that and you do need to oversee it regularly.
That’s not conventional wisdom. The issue is that you’re still working IN your business instead of ON your business. The E-Myth lays it out pretty good. You eventually work yourself out of the job (from doing sales, admin, etc) to where you’re the owner.
Without sales, nothing gets done. Even if you market heavily, you need to be closing when you answer your phone. It’s an easier sale since they don’t call unless they are interested but still a sale for you to lose if mishandled…
I understand that. I’ve read E-Myth. I guess my question is still a little unclear. @TexasRich answered it pretty well I think.
My question is why does everyone always say delegate everything in the beginning… except Sales. That one thing the Owner MUST do or he/she will fail horribly. I suppose I know the answer is something like “no one will sell better than the owner.” To some extent that is true. But is it the only way? The only successful way? The hardest way? The easiest way?
I’d think it would be hard to come up with a performance based pay structure. Even at 100 percent commission on first cleans if you can get three $30 storefront accounts a day, You’ll never get a person who’s capable of that level of sales for 90 bucks a day. The owner has the long run in mind and can work like that and know the reward comes from someone else washing them and sales just growing your company.
I don’t believe there is only ONE way to do anything. I feel that you have to honestly asses your personal strengths and weaknesses. If sales is a strength, build the business around that and hire someone to run the crews and do bookwork.
If your strength is bookkeeping and organization, then farm out the other stuff including sales.
I’m also not a big disciple of “let the business work for you”. There is nothing wrong with being willing to work hard and seeing the fruitage of your work. Get the help that you need, grow to the size that is comfortable for you and make sure you are pleased with the results.
But it all starts with honest self assessment and then finding ways to fill/offset the deficiencies.
I think that is too broad a statement.
0-100k, the owner is doing the selling, and at least some of the work. Likely doing books and everything else too.
I think when you get to 250K+, there is where you have enough money to delegate out duties, and form jobs full time.
Could you successfully have a saleman from the start?? Sure, as long as you have money in the bank to pay someone to sell, and provided they are good at selling. A good sales person, isn’t gonna take a 20K job.
Otherwise, the owner MUST be decent at sales to grow.
I think most people don’t hire a sales staff early on because it just doesn’t make sense financially. If you hire someone who is good at sales, I don’t see them accepting anything less than $50,000 a year.
I didn’t read through all the replys… so my apologies if this is redundant…
Sales is king in business.
Most small business owners take on the sales role namely because they can’t afford to outsource it, or dont know how to pay a good enough salesman, so I think they absent mindedly say that “all owners must do sales in order to grow/survive” not realizing what they really mean is that "all businesses must do sales in order to grow/survive.
Smart owners know thier strengths and play to it. They also know thier weakness and get help in that department.
Absolutely, a business owner weak in sales should hire a salesman to help his company grow.