The Advantages of Starting Your Own Business

The idea of starting your own business is very alluring to many people, especially those who have been living on yearly salaries. In fact, there are very limited rewards for our hard work when we are working for a Company. Starting your own business is not an easy quest. There are a lot of things to consider such as looking for investors, finding good distributors, marketing efforts with minimum cost, and many more.

David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO, once said “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” He believes that as long as you have strong ambition and willingness to make your dream becomes reality, you will be rewarded handsomely from your own business.

Below are some of the comments from business owners and experts about the advantages of starting your own business.

When you start your own business, you are really creating something from scratch, and if you solve a problem, provide a service or make a product that makes people’s lives better to the degree that they are willing to pay for it, you are really creating value in the world. Earning a dollar that you created out of thin air is more rewarding than earning a dollar being a cog in someone else’s wheel. Also, when you start your own business and it’s successful enough to hire people, you are really changing people’s lives. To me, when I hire someone, it feels like I’m taking on a great responsibility to make sure I make the right decisions to be able to keep providing for them and their families. It can definitely keep you up at night, and for me that responsibility is a reason to really give my all to the company. When you employ people, they are putting their trust in you, and I believe that there is a tacit contract that you will give them your best as a leader and steward of their career, stability, and livelihood. There are great risks in starting a business, not only the risk to your money and reputation, but also including opportunity costs of the salary that you are forgoing. But if it does work out, the rewards can be more meaningful than you can earn at a salaried job. Not only in terms of absolute dollars, but also in terms of career satisfaction. – Steve Benson, Badger Maps

[First,] “You’re your own boss”. You set your hours, and you don’t have anyone telling you what to work on next. [Second,] if you work from home like I do, my morning commute is to the coffee pot, and the only traffic jam I deal with is my dog and cat racing down the stairs. [Third,] I can do my job from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. [Last,] I don’t have to worry about using up my vacation days or sick days. – Marry Ellen, Parker’s Voice

No more commuting, you are in control of your own schedule, and have the freedom and flexibility not to have to make tough choices but rather have your cake and eat it too. You are only doing the work you love, and working with only people you love. You don’t have to feel guilty thinking about home when you’re at work and vice versa. You are getting paid what you worth,and having the ability to travel while working, and no more wasted time! – Melissa Smith, The PVA

Starting your own business can be the best thing you do in your life, if you get out of your own way. What I mean is that many start it for the ego, and that is what adds to the 2-5 year failure of most small businesses. Rather, start off strong, with a solid yearly, monthly, weekly plan in the areas of finances, marketing, and operations and you will beat those statistics. Starting your own business is easy. Keeping it open and thriving is the tough part. The advantage is that your success all depends on the decisions that you make. The world can be at your fingertips. You can make your own hours and you can create your own destiny. – Bella Vasta, Jump Consulting

I would say some advantages are being able to set your own schedule. With 2 small children it can be tough working nights and weekends sometimes but if anything is important I will always be there. One example is that my 5-month-old son usually wakes up around 5:30 am and I spend 20 minutes every morning hanging out with him in bed. This is something that might never be possible if I had to set an alarm and be somewhere at a specific time. By setting my own schedule I can make sure to carve out quality family time every week. -Doug Darroch, 21st Renaissance

Some huge advantages of owning your own business:
The Thrill of the Chase – As a business owner, you are largely responsible for business growth. In my role, that’s business development in the form of new partnerships with industry leaders. Every new partnership is hugely rewarding and another chance to gain feedback on your product and learn more about future growth opportunities.
Variety – Being a business owner, every day can be a new challenge. This is the biggest change from being in a day-to-day position where your role is well defined. On any given day, you may have to tackle anything from IT to Marketing to Legal. It’s like a giant real-world MBA wrapped up in a jigsaw puzzle.
New Relationships – The best part of my position is the new business relationships. If you have a good product and can confidently show it to new business partners, the feedback you get that validates your direction and product is hugely rewarding. – Kelly Bedrich, ElectricityPlans.com

These are the advantages of starting your own business. SlickPie is great all-in-one accounting software for small business owners to run their entire business accounting from anywhere with absolutely no effort, try it out now and see it for yourself!

6 Tips to Make a Killing Product Pitch

 

 

Presentations can be quite intimidating, especially for those who are not used to it. This is because you need to stand in front of people and talk about a certain topic. For some people, this can be a very uncomfortable situation in which they have to draw a lot of attention to themselves and one small mistake can lead to embarrassment. Although having confidence is important, a great presentation must also have well-thought and well-organized content. In product pitch presentation, investors are looking for specific details of both your product and your aggregate business performance. They require you to be precise, knowledgeable, and informative in short amount of time.

Below are the 6 tips you need to know to be successful in your next pitch.

What are you going to tell them?

The first step is to tell investors about your idea or product. The key to success is to keep it short and interesting. This step is very crucial to your whole presentation process because it is your chance to capture your investors interest so they will want to hear the rest of your presentation. You may use personal story to engage with the investors but the important point is to rise their interest level.

What is your vision?

The next step is presenting your idea or product in short details so you can start by talking about your vision. For example, what is currently happening in the world? Then, you can talk about your analysis of the situation such as the problems that people are having and how your product can be the solution to those problems.

Is there space in the market for you?

Your investors want to know how well you know your industry and your competitors. Every businesses faces competition. Otto van Bismark once said “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” What he meant by that is it’s important to be able to identify who your competitors are, and what they are doing differently, so it can help you to make your product stands out in the market. There are a lot of things you can learn from your competitors such as their marketing and distribution strategies. Investors want to hear that you are able to identify your competitors and what can you learn from them. Also, research on the competitors can help you to position your product in the market and help you to build strong competitive advantages in the future.

How will your product benefit your customers?

Customers are not just the most important part of your business, they are your business. The first thing you need to tell your investor is your target market. For an example, the kind of customer or geographic area you are targeting. Investors also want to know how much do you know about your customers. What they want from your product, how customers can be benefited from using your product, and why customers want to use your product again. These are the questions that you can ask yourself to get an idea of your customers’ behavior and their value to your product.

How do you make money?

In this part, you need to be able to tell investors how do you deliver your product to customers. For instance, do you use any online platform, social media, outlet, or delivery services? It is important to disclose your expenses and sales revenue to your investors. This is to give them an idea of how effective your distribution channels are.

What are you asking from your investors?

Last but not least, you need to tell your investors what do you want from them. You need to be specific on what you are asking for. You can ask for mentorship, networking, or money, then you need to explain to them why you want it.

5 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Business to the Cloud

The Cloud computing technology has brought so many benefits to businesses. With the growing number of web-enabled devices, such as smartphones and tablets, being used in business environments, it becomes essential for many business owners to utilize cloud computing technology to be more efficient and improve their business performances. In order to understand how cloud computing system works, let’s think of it as a virtual invisible storage. Users can retrieve or access their data from this virtual storage through internet network. In other words, as long as users are connected to the internet, they can do their businesses anywhere, anytime.

In today’s reality, many small businesses require the latest technology to run their business with very limited amount of time, space and even expenses to waste. Cloud computing system provides the solution to these problems. Below are the 5 main reasons why you as a small business owner should take your business to the cloud.

Cost-Efficient

The main goal for any business is to make money. This can be achieved by maximizing profit and reducing expenses. Cloud computing system allows your company to cut back a lot of expenses by spending less money to buy hardware, facilities and equipment to store data. Your company will also save a lot of office space that can be utilized for other important things.

Accessibility

In order to be more efficient in your business, you need a great tool to access data from anywhere and anytime. This is possible with cloud software because your data is stored in the invisible storage system and it can be access anywhere as long as you have connection to the internet.

Collaboration

Every business owner understands that effective collaboration within the company is one of the most important aspects to build good organization or businesses. In the old days, businesses used e-mail to communicate with one another. Imagine how many hours you need to spend to send e-mails with the same content to thousands of people. Cloud computing technology can solve this problem by making it easier to share files. For example, you can simply upload the file to the cloud and give access to people that you want to share the file with. Then, they can simply download the file from the cloud. This process will save a lot of time since you only need to upload the file once.

Automatic Software Updates

The Success of your business relies heavily on the latest version of the software that you use. The are no perfect software and that is why software companies are constantly enhancing their software. In order for the software company to improve your experience in using their software, they need to constantly give you the updated version of their software. Some software updates can happen numerous times in a year. Cloud computing system allows your system to be updated with the latest technology. This can include upgrades to the software as well as updated version of the software.

Security

The Loss of the data is one of the major problems that many businesses have to faced. This is because the cost of retrieving the data is expensive and can take a lot of time. Many unexpected events such as stolen laptop, damaged computers, or even fire are some of the factors that responsible for business owners to lose valuable information. Cloud computing system can prevent your business to lose valuable data in case one of these incidents happens. Since your data is stored online in the cloud, you can still gain access to it no matter what happens to your computer. All you need is to access it with different computer. Furthermore, in case your computer is stolen or lost, you can remotely erase all the data from the stolen or lost computer to prevent your data falls into the wrong hands.

Environmentally Friendly

When your business is in the cloud, you will use less papers in your office. The Cloud technology makes it easier for you to access your business files in digital format. This is not only saves your business from using a lot of papers, but also reduce paper waste to the environment.

After checking these 5 amazing reasons for why you should take your business to the cloud, I bet you are feeling like start doing it right away. So, waste no more time and kick things off with SlickPie today!

 

So You Want to Work for Yourself?

9 out of 10 small business starting this year, will fail. The 10% that succeed, execute on a careful business plan. How do you know that you have that will succeed and what steps you can take to ensure you don’t become part of the 90% that fails?

Failing to plan is a good plan to fail. Many quit their job in the hopes that there are plenty of contracts or freelancing work. Even though it may look like that guy over there is making a ton of money, the truth may be something different. They may be successful but it does take years of connections, effort and work to reach a certain level. Let’s discuss what exactly is the secret ingredients for success that will avoid failures.

Failure to cut costs

You should be ready to ruthlessly cut costs in the initial years of your business. Being a business owner doesn’t mean that you need to buy everything. That is the wrong mindset.  If you can start your business from a small warehouse, you don’t need to lease huge commercial space in downtown. Lease or rent the equipment whenever possible instead of buying it (you could even take advantage of an equipment leasing calculator to assist you with that). If you are someone with the mindset that “I need to buy everything upfront so that I can focus on producing”, buy used hardware or equipment from Craigslist instead of brand new. I met a business owner in Canada who drove more than 150 miles to buy and pickup equipment’s from a USA based business who happened to be upgrading themselves and thus saved more than $12,000. These savings are of immense value when you are just starting out. If your business is successful, you will get plenty of opportunities to buy brand new stuff.

Cash Flow is important

When you are new and have little brand awareness, your prices may not be at the top level. Asking for 50% or more deposit as soon as an agreement is signed, can protect your bottom line. Most clients will agree to it as they know they are getting a good deal.

You may not know all about tracking income and expenses in the beginning. Start using online accounting software’s like SlickPie, right from away when you met a client for a coffee or paid for something from your pocket. Doing this will ensure there is no leakage of your money. Send your invoice right after work is done. Most businesses fail due to poor cash flow. What if your biggest client where you spent your most of your time didn’t pay? Or if they pay late in 60, 90 or even 180 days? There would be always some surprising extra costs that you didn’t plan for foresee. This all can lead to long sleepless nights. A good accounting software should follow up with clients that have not paid you on time and allow you to take an action to save the day.

Be ready for lifestyle change

Mostly qualified and experienced employees do earn more than freelancers. They have a stable income and a nice lifestyle. If you are someone who thinks that have something that will take you to the moon, go ahead and start your own business but be willing to live at basic income for years without any social life and no lifestyle. You will end up working 12-14 hours a day during the prime years of your life, but there is also a possibility that any success will bring more money and a better lifestyle with the option of being your own boss.

Most freelancers start small, providing superior services to a small set of clients for a few months and build upon that base. Ideally, current employers should be your first client. You know the process, they have the tools you need to perform and you just sell your expertise as a contractor without any social security net that you get as an employee. This potentially puts more money in your pocket to save or reinvest into your nascent business. Never steal clients from your employer, but build those valuable relationships and they will start referring you some of their friends from their group. Bounce ideas off your existing connections to see who can be a part of the team at some other stage of your business.

Are you from the UK, Australia, or New Zealand? Then This Is for You!

SlickPie is constantly improving so businesses from all around the world can have access to top-notch features and tools to help them get paid faster. Many improvements have been made in the past months and now we have yet some other exciting news to share with you, so here it goes: from now on, users from the UK, Australia, or New Zealand will enjoy unlimited access to live bank feeds from their own local banks! That’s right! SlickPie has just expanded to support all the major banks in these countries to deliver the best experience possible to our users!

This great product enhancement will allow users to obtain up to one year of historical data and to handle bank authentication with more security and ease of use than ever. Finally, after some extensive share of hard work from our devs team, this benefit is now live to help small businesses thrive even more. So access your SlickPie account right away and start taking advantage of it, the improved live bank feeds today!

A 2016 Retrospective: 3 Awesome SlickPie News You Can’t Miss

At SlickPie, we have one mission – to help small business owners run a better business. Since the first line of the code was written, we’ve significantly fine-tuned SlickPie and adding more functionality to help better suit your needs.

Helping freelancers, consultants, and other small business owners work more efficiently is incredibly important. Why? As per Labor Department productivity, the hourly output per worker, over the last four quarters increased just 1.6%. Higher productivity results in higher income without boosting the cost of products & services. The productivity needs to be increased.

From simpler online accounting to a more intuitive bank reconciliation, you’ll find plenty of new ways to streamline your business management with SlickPie—so you can spend more time on billable productive work. There were hundreds of small improvements under the hood that made SlickPie even slicker and ready for 2017.

Better and Broader Bank Feeds: We found that many of our users were from Australia, New Zealand & UK but we were not able to provide live bank feeds for them. We made many improvements in our bank feeds and now we support all the major financial institutions worldwide. Improved banking data along with seamless bank reconciliations makes your day to day accounting a breeze. We have also made changes that seamlessly import statements downloaded from your bank if live bank feeds are not available for your bank.

Improved Onboarding Process: Many of us are just starting out to use an online accounting software for the first time. For those of us, we have eliminated many steps and now automatically create local sales tax and chart of accounts or categories that you can edit to fit your needs. This means you get to sending your first invoice in the minimal time possible.

Introducing MagicBot: Not only MagicBot attach a copy of the receipt or bill to the transaction but read all key financial data from those documents to automatically create those transactions for you. You can scan all of your files and dump them into a Dropbox folder and let MagicBot do the rest of your accounting. There can’t be more flexible and powerful way to save tons of time and bring efficiency in your business.

SlickPie already allows you to add a document to any transaction so you’ve backup if you’re being audited. Most of SlickPie users also use this option to attach contracts, agreements, check images and other important business documents. No more “shoebox,” because everything is on the cloud, secure and backed up. When needed,  you can easily download individual documents to your computer.

We also improved support for worldwide date formats, added support for recoverable sales tax like GST in Canada. Now you can run sales tax reports on the basis of components of a tax. Last year we also Integrated with PayPal and Stripe so that you can receive online payments. We have further simplified getting paid using PayPal or by credit card directly from your online invoices. Getting Paid by credit card is just simple one click process.

Work is currently in progress on important features like multi-currency, quotes & estimates, and improving functionality on mobile devices. The new year is leading us to make some pretty slick and very significant improvements to our accounting app.

If you love SlickPie, we’ll be eternally thankful if you tell a friend about us today!

Safeguard Your Business From Client Poaching

You are a contractor in the Entertainment and Event Production Industry, and things were going well up till now. You hired your first employee, a family friend because you wanted to make giant leaps in the market.

The new blood has the knowledge, experience, and quality to get things done. He is building strong relationships with your customers, vendors, and partners and you are investing money into him, so he is always productive. You trust him and are focused on making things better for your employee, clients and yourself. And suddenly, he quits.

The next thing you come to know is that your clients are being poached by him for a reduced price, and perhaps a better service because he knows your weaknesses. The bad news is that you find that some of your clients are willing to jump ship. So, in that case, what do you do when your ex-employee or sub-contractor start poaching your clients?

You can complain to your mom or break his hands for cheating and try to take unfair advantage of your well-established business. After all, it takes years of investment and marketing strategies to build a solid client base, but the other guy stole it and didn’t even have to invest a dime in it.

Here’s how you can protect your business from client poaching.

The first thing you should do is to look at the papers you asked your employee to sign at the time of joining. In fact, job and confidentiality agreements for the most creative workers usually have a clause related to the non-solicitation.

For example: “… agree that during the term of your employment with the Company and for 24 months after the termination thereof, regardless of the reason for the employment termination, you will not, directly or indirectly, solicit or attempt to solicit, or accept any business from any of the Company’s Clients, Prospects, and Vendors with whom you had Material Contact during the time of your employment with the Company. ”

If you have something like an above duly signed agreement by your ex-employee or sub-contractor, it can be fully enforced by the courts. It’s the right time to get a lawyer involved and usually “a cease and desist letter” may be enough.

Your ex-employee can opt to ignore this letter as it has no legal standing, but this gives you an opportunity to start a legal action. Courts have been diligent, and there are chances you may recoup part of your losses and might even claim the income lost.

Hiring lawyers is the financial decision that will cost you both time and money. It may not get you all your clients back, but a crippling legal judgment against the bad guy can put tape on the leakage and will stop the dripping.

By taking these necessary actions, you’ll be able to stop your ex-employees from taking advantage of your business. In fact, any business owner can sustain a long-term relationship with its clients by being honest, transparent, and loyal to them. Once you do so, they’ll stay hooked to your company’s products and services.

New! Meet MagicBot – Data Entry No More

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One beautiful evening during a visit to a family friend who owns and operates a small printing shop, the owner patiently opened up a box full of receipts. He lined up all the bills and receipts from the box and started typing them in an Excel sheet while we were chatting. It took him more than two hours or so, and once done, he powered his other computer on, logged in and started entering that Excel data in his accounting software. We were chatting, drinking, and having fun, but it was becoming slowly boring, and finally just before midnight, he was done.

An evening that was supposed to be fun, ended up quite dull and boring. Unfortunately, that was the only time the poor soul could have done this time-consuming and repetitive task. He is no different than millions of other small business owners working almost 70-80 hours a week and still barely catching up because the world is not made for them.

On the way back home while driving, I thought over this. This needs to change. He does not have to do this thing again, ever. This led us to MagicBot, the modern foundation of an accounting cycle in the 21st century. The changing landscape of small business bookkeeping and accounting demands that humans spend minimum time on boring, repetitive, and dirty tasks. Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and accountants are some of the hardest-working people on the planet, and now SlickPie just makes their lives a little bit easier.

MagicBot is a core part of SlickPie online accounting software, a revolutionary innovation that is going to change how all accounting software works today. It goes out and fetches all those hundreds and thousands of receipts, bills, and other documents that you have stored with a storage service provider like Dropbox. Not only that, MagicBot will create automatic accurate financial transactions that you can review, edit, and approve, thus saving hundreds of hours for small business owners. MagicBot does it all seamlessly by leveraging the power of machine learning and feedback from humans.

I was hooked to SlickPie as soon as I took the picture of a receipt and saved it in my Dropbox and it showed up almost instantly in SlickPie. I almost had a heart attack! Now I just have to take a picture of a receipt and send it to Dropbox and I am done. My bills are being delivered automatically to my Dropbox now.

 –       Souror Wong, Coastal Learning & Training

 The automatic expense account assignment option will help you to categorize your data to the appropriate expense account. MagicBot automatically updates your general ledger as receipts and bills are fetched from Dropbox. All you have to do is review and approve. In fact, there’s literally a little requirement for human input. There is really nothing more to do than reviewing and approving the data!

We believe our lead in innovative technology will define the bookkeeping industry in upcoming years and will be followed by other big 400-pound gorillas in the industry. Current major players in the small business accounting software industry only offer partial solutions and have been unable to fix difficult “time-traps”. MagicBot solves this ancient age problem and solves it quickly.

Now business owners can have reliable financial data that shows a true and current picture of what is going on in their business’s reality.

SlickPie has helped us save more than five hours a week in bookkeeping.

 –       Ben Mutz, CEO – New Age Media

A collective community of 120 businesses came together to test and develop MagicBot during the private beta. Enthusiasts and experts came together to impart valuable feedback, information, and best practices to optimize the automation process for usability and simplicity and today I invite you to join this journey by participating in public beta to make it even better. More feedback we receive better will be your automated data entry tasks.

Delightful experience with SlickPie is going to eclipse all providers, and we are on the path to becoming one of the most popular and fast-growing cloud accounting software on the market. New SlickPie innovations in accounting software make managing books easier than ever. By helping and delighting businesses, MagicBot secures its spot at the heart of SlickPie online accounting software.

Core innovations in MagicBot make SlickPie a winning product to be used by every business. Forward-thinking software makes accounting ridiculously easy and simple, which a big deal and always was for entrepreneurs.

The SlickPie team thinks, plans, and codes how we can just make SlickPie easier to use for you. Every time we do an update the software gets easier to use and becomes more accessible to even more people.

SlickPie is packed with useful, time-saving features including automated reminders, recurring invoicing, and live bank feeds. Technology benefits are full of abundance, and MagicBot makes it even better by instantly populating data in the general ledger. We create an ultimate amazing experience of working with cloud accounting software. That leads to your success because now with more time in hand, you can extend the same delightful experience to your clients:

I got my three hours back just in one week because of you. You have given me five hours back that I can spend with my family as my work is being done not only quickly but also efficiently.

 –       Sandra Gallo, Freelancer

 Business owners are spending countless hours on boring and repetitive tasks, and that worries me. It scares me when I see hour after hour being wasted when there is a much better option to do the same thing. Accounting automation means more time for you, a less stressful life, and a happy personal and professional life. Go ahead and empower yourself.

As always, I am always interested in your input during this public beta on how we can make it even more useful and powerful for, just you. Join the cloud revolution today. Make fewer mistakes… Process faster… Any receipt or bill… Any format… It’s all automatic!

Stripe Is Here! Get Paid Now at Lightspeed!

 

 

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SlickPie has some quite exciting news to announce – our Stripe integration beta testing is done and it’s now available for everyone to enjoy!

For those who aren’t quite familiar with this tool yet, Stripe is a company that allows businesses and individuals to accept online payments. The software is similar to PayPal, which is another global big player in the online payments scenario and we already have an integration with. Our goal is to provide faster and user-friendly possibilities for business owners to focus on running their businesses instead of worrying about money transfer obstacles, which are eliminated by the easy payment options offered by such tools.

Why Stripe is so awesome for your business

Digital tablet, laptop and financial document with pen at workplace on background of three business partners interacting

There are many ways you can use the combo SlickPie + Stripe to improve your business finances. For instance, you can receive instant payments online right after each sale is made. That is such a priceless convenience for business owners to have peace of mind about getting paid every time their customers are ready to pay. No more waiting and worrying about being available 24/7 to collect payments, no more uncomfortable situations facing lousy excuses, no more time is being wasted. Now on you can get paid anywhere, anytime.

Stripe accepts payments through all major credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express) to increase the channels for your business to get paid faster, meaning your customers will able to pay you with a single click of a button with no unnecessary efforts or headaches whatsoever. By reducing the barriers for people to pay you, you increase the chances that the payment will be done in time and extra channels are one of the key factors when it comes to making the paying experience easier.

Also, businesses can track all sales made through Stripe, which grants an outstanding enhancement in accessing specific sales information whenever is needed. Plus, it’s also possible to track the amounts that Stripe owes your business, as well as any fees that the program may be charging you. These tracking resources make possible for business owners to keep a keen eye on their business financial health while providing real-time feedback for them to make faster decisions.

Security is another huge plus with Stripe. The platform uses encrypted data in all its transactions, which means it’s impossible for outsiders to access the information. The credit card data entered into the payment forms is sent directly Stripe. This means that no credit card data would ever be in possession of any third parties.

Security

Stripe is one of the best integrations any small business could use along with online accounting software. The tool is secure, simple, straight-forward, and truly help your company to get paid faster. It follows all the security standards and benefits that are in SlickPie’s blood, which makes this a perfect match and the greatest beneficiaries of it are the users.

Implementing Stripe is another way for SlickPie to say that users will always get the best for their business from software. Innovation is what SlickPie is built upon, and making your business to get paid faster is our model. Don’t waste another second and try Stripe in SlickPie right now! Just follow these quicks steps to get you up and going in no time https://help.slickpie.com/hc/en-us/articles/211345289-Adding-Stripe!

 

Images: GraphicStock

How to Effectively Lead and Motivate Salespeople

Group of friendly businesspeople with male leader in front

 

With the advancement of technology and globalization today’s business world is a fast developing environment in which companies need to be in a constant state of change in order to achieve positive results. This rule is the same when it comes to sales management, thus there must be continuous evolution to keep up with the innovations and competition that are always arising in the market.

Although it may sound like a simple thing to be done, changes are not that well accepted by everyone. In the sales management scenario, according to the 20-50-30 rule, “20 percent of people will embrace change, 50 percent will be neutral, and 30 percent will resist change”[1]. It is clear that change is not an easy process, so a strong driving factor must act to help the changing process, and this factor is a good leader. A leader will inspire his followers to embrace change by highlighting the importance of the new process and the relevance that the team will have on that matter. The leader will motivate his team to accept it by showing that the leader himself also accepts it, and the followers will end up doing the same since they trust their leader. Plus, since one of the sales manager’s main attributions is to “develop a clear line of sight between sales actions, sales goals, and business outcomes”[2], a well-developed plan outlining all of the above will show that they know what they are doing.

Prepared leaders will focus their effort on those who want to embrace change, and present little or no resistance, to start working on the project. After doing that, the leader will try to gain the support of the neutral ones, which will come easier after they realize that 20 percent of people are already engaged in the new process. Last, the good leader won’t waste time trying to convince those who already have a resistance to change since they likely won’t accept it, so, unless they are necessary to the team, the leader shouldn’t count on their support. To accomplish this, the sales manager needs to lead his/her sales people both individually and collectively.

Individuals

The most crucial factor that is directly related to a sales team success is the manager’s skills to lead and inspire the team to get the best results from every team member. Regarding individual salespeople, the manager has to deal with every member in a different way because different approaches motivate different people. If the manager, simply tries to push the same leading style to all team members he will not get the best possible performance out of them. This happens because people have different personalities, experiences, and abilities, so the aspects that drive them will also be different.

To achieve optimum effectiveness in leading individuals, sales managers can utilize a technique called Situational Leadership. This technique allows the leader to suit his leadership style to better fit his team members, which can be defined by tracing when he will have a relationship-oriented approach or a task-oriented approach. In the first case, the leader would be more supportive to his team members in order to develop and sustain a positive work relationship. In the second case, the leader would be more directive since his main goal would be to accomplish the task.

When using this technique, the leader can define which leading style he is going to use in each situation to each team member. There are four main styles that can be adopted: Telling, Persuading, Partnering, and Delegating. In the first one, the sales manager is high task-oriented and low relationship oriented, which will make him very direct and unsupportive. In the second one, the leader is high-task oriented and high-relationship oriented, which will make him very direct and supportive. In the third one, the sales manager will be low task-oriented and high relationship-oriented, which will make him very supportive, but he will provide limited direction. In the fourth one, the leader will be low task-oriented and low relationship-oriented, and he will be unsupportive and will provide little to none directions.

When sales managers apply this technique they get a much higher performance from their team members. Tailoring leadership styles to each specific salesperson and situation can better inspire and motivate people to achieve their goals, which is the major part about being a sales manager.

Sales force

On the other hand, when it comes to leading entire sales forces the strategy must be different. The sales manager needs to focus on building a strong and cohesive sales force, which demands the development and maintenance of a results-oriented Sales Force Culture. In this topic, Sales Force Culture can be defined as the “total of values, attitudes, and behaviours that are shared by members of the sales force and that are expected of and reinforced to new members”[3].  It is mandatory for sales managers to make sure that all their sales force is always working in accordance to these principles to get to a common high-productivity standard.

In order to achieve this high-productivity standard, the sales leader can reinforce the Sales Force Culture through four internal marketing “E” behaviours: “energizing, enabling, and empowering your team members, and ensuring that they achieve objectives and are recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments”[4]. Following these “E” behaviours, sales managers will be able to develop “E” employees, which can be characterized by being trustworthy risk takers, supportive, suggestive, and total customer satisfaction driven.

Another important aspect regarding leading sales forces is leading sales meetings since they are a major factor to determine how successful a sales force is going to be. When leading a sales meeting properly, the sales manager is able to considerably improve the team’s numbers by motivating the staff to give it all to achieve their goals. Sales meetings can be used for man purposes, such as strategy planning (in which many members attend in order to define the team’s overall strategy), recognition (in which public recognition is awarded to members by demonstrating their value to the company), training (to inform and train the team about the company’s products or practices), Motivational (which is all about increasing the team’s morale and bonding between the salespeople), and feedback (which changes the scope from the manager’s perspective to the team’s perspective of how things are going).

Leading a sales force is a highly important task to any sales business. If done correctly, it can shift the company’s paradigm and cause a major impact in every single staff member, as long as the right techniques are applied and the sales force culture is being duly taught by the sales leaders.

 

[1] MACKENZIE, H.F. (Herb). Sales Management in Canada – 1st ed. (Toronto/ON: Pearson, 2008), p. 313.

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottedinger/2013/06/25/how-great-sales-leaders-coach/(access: 10/10/15)

[3] MACKENZIE, H.F. (Herb). Sales Management in Canada – 1st ed. (Toronto/ON: Pearson, 2008), pp. 320.

[4] DRAKE, Susan M., Gulman, Michele J., and ROBERTS, Sara M. Light Their Fire. (Chicago/IL: Dearbon Trade, 2005), p. 3.

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