Does Your Business Make Any Money?

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Customer making a contactless payment with his phone in a bakery

It sounds like a stupid question, but I meet so many start-ups who work hard at not making any money. They forget that they have to sell something. I mean doing it, not just talking about it.

Truthfully the one thing a business can’t do without is selling. Selling is nothing else than the act of exchanging values. If you only concentrate on creating or refining products and services, you’re not going to survive for long, and you don’t have a business.

There seems to be a kind of fear that whatever it is they have to offer cannot be sold. So they try not to sell anything in the first place. They are in some development cycle and believe they can’t sell anything as long as it is not perfect.

I let you into a secret:

It will never be perfect!

Perfect does not exist. Perfection is something we thrive towards, but never achieve.

The problem with perfection is that it takes lots of time and money. What happens if after two years of development you put your product out in the market and realise that nobody wants it? What do you do then?

If that happened to you, you’ve probably mistaken your idea of perfection with your client’s idea of perfection. If you had started selling your imperfect product much earlier, you would have realised that you’re on the wrong path.

If you are running a business and you’re not making any or very little money, step back for a moment and look at everything you have right now. Is there any product or service that can be sold right now without too much effort? Anything?

Start selling it straight away. See it as a tester to collect the feedback you need to keep developing and improving. If nothing sells, you might be working in the wrong direction.

Learn about the art of selling, and that means you need to learn to understand people

Let’s make this more clear:

The base of any business is to sell products and/or services!

Sales must be your main priority. It has nothing to do with how many likes you have on Facebook or how many people respond to your tweets. All this is nice and might help you get some attention, but that is not sales. When you think about your business, sales must be on top of your list.

It is quite funny. When I talk to businesses that make money and sell their products, I get a clear “Yes” to the above statement. When I speak to businesses that don’t make any money, I get a clear “No”. They talk about the higher meaning of the work they do. They talk about how many people they help every day. But for how long can they do this?

Look at it from the other side. If your customers take out their wallets and give you money for your products or services, they compliment you and believe that what you offer is worth the money. If they don’t, they don’t.

Sales aren’t a bad thing.

Sales are the base for your product and service development. There is no better indicator. If they buy, you’re on the right track. If they don’t, you need to adjust. Your customers tell you in which direction your development will go. And all this happens while you make money. That is a business.

If you don’t have a clear sales strategy in place, start to create one NOW. Don’t wait for better times or different circumstances.

Start to run a business.

Does your business make money?

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium, this site is run by John di Stefano, teaching and supporting entrepreneurs to learn the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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