Why do businesses succeed or fail? HINT: It’s not just sales.
Someone from Success Magazine called and asked me for a quote about being a successful entrepreneur and salesman. Here’s the quote I gave:
“Everyone has heard the phrase ‘The American Dream.’ I look at it as’The American Reality.’ When you’re in business for yourself you writeyour own history, you write your own success story, you write your ownlegacy, and most important you write your own paycheck. When you writeyour own paycheck, you control your own destiny. Being in business foryourself gives you the opportunity to work your heart out for somethingyou love.”
Nice thirty thousand-foot view of entrepreneurial success.
FAST-FORWARD FIVE MINUTES: Today’s American reality is that there’s aday-to-day ongoing drama in the saga of business, and on thisparticular day, I was dealing with major drama. I was in an informalstaff meeting trying to resolve the ancient issue, “Why can’t everyonejust get along?”
The meeting was civilized. Apologies started even before I entered theroom. By the time I walked in, resolve had begun. Everyone was talkingabout how to make things better — at least for the moment.
During the discussion with my employees I remarked (among other things)that I was looking for long-term harmony, not just a momentary truce,or a week of peace. I wanted to get to the root of the issue, not justput a band-aid on the surface skirmish.
I decided to talk more about what it takes to have a successfulbusiness instead of a petty disagreement. I thought if I got into moredetail about how the whole business ran, maybe they would have a betterunderstanding of what they did, and how important it was for each ofthem to be harmonious with the other.
Below is the essence of what I said. Compare these elements with thosein your business. I believe this list to be essential for businesssuccess and sales success in any company — including mine — includingyours.
These are the elements that have driven my business to success:
1. Great people. People who are excellent at what they do.Self-starters, smart, responsible — with a passion for excellence, anda successful track record. Not just salespeople — everyone MUST beexcellent. Reception, accounting, shipping, and especially anyone whotalks to customers.
2. Harmony within. Each person must decide to “get along” witheveryone else. This means their attitude must be positive, and theyhave to understand and be able to get along for the common good, eventhrough personality conflicts, minor disagreements, and majordisagreements will occur. They can get over it, and get on with it.
3. A continuous flow of ideas. From everyone — especially me as the leader.
4. Unless you have sales, you have no business. Products andservices that are understandable, have perceived value, have gainedmarket acceptance, and are easy to purchase. There are lots of sales onthe books because the product is in demand.
5. Money. Don’t confuse sales with money. Money comes from making profitablesales. My father once told me “You can have lots of business — but nomoney.” Learn your profitability, and transfer it to your sales andyour salespeople.
6. Creativity and willingness to risk. Trying new things and new ways. Your customers demand it but your competitors hope you’ll do “business as usual.”
7. Earn loyalty from everyone. Loyalty is stability, growth, andprofit all rolled into one. Loyalty has 3.5 parts. You must earn from(1) your customers, (2) your vendors, and (3) your employees. The bestway to get loyalty is (3.5) to give loyalty.
8. Wide open communication. Speak your mind and say your peace — truthfully. This may mean drop the PC and get real world, real life. Maybe that way you’ll have a real business.
9. Freedom to succeed and fail. No one fails on purpose. I giveeveryone freedom to learn, freedom of expression (without fear ofreprisal), and freedom to take risks.
10. A respected liked (loved) leader. I am the leader. The passionate, lead by example, cheerleader leader. I love what I do, and it’s contagious to all.
10.5 A fun atmosphere and a fun environment. We won an award a few years ago “Most fun place to work in Charlotte.” Could your company win that award?
NOTE WELL: This list is by no means complete. I am certain that as youread this you had some additional thoughts — please post your ideas forthe benefit of all at: www.gitomer.com/salesHelp/SalesForum.html.
One final success element: I have never thought of my employees as ateam, because in many ways people work independently of each other.Rather, I think of them as a family. I treat them that way, respectthem that way, take care of them that way, teach them that way, andlove them that way.