“It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.” Henry Ford
Unless you are willing to work for commission, you cannot be an entrepreneur! Entrepreneurship is a performance based reward system. If everyone who wants to start a business understood this, there would be no need for me to complete this column. Many people say I want to start my own business because I don’t want to work anymore. That is the most dangerous statement that a would-be entrepreneur can utter. Entrepreneurship is about nothing but work! You would work more than you ever did while you were employed!
I have seen many young people refuse a commissioned sales job because they are looking for security of a salaried job, and yet they claim they want to be entrepreneurs. The best place to practice being an entrepreneur is in the selling profession. If you can’t sell anything, you can’t start your own business. Period!
Entrepreneurship is about sales. Your best financiers will always be your customers, not your investors. The art is not in convincing financiers to give you money, the art is in convincing customers to vote for your products and services with their money. Even financiers are betting on your ability to sell. Entrepreneurship is not about management, it’s about sales; it’s about revenues.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, but you have never sold anything for commission, you should think again, and perhaps start now to look for a commissioned sales position in the field where you want to be an entrepreneur. You have to learn to ask for the cash from your customers. As an entrepreneur you will learn a lot about margins and profits. Yes you will learn about capital costs and operating costs, but most importantly, you will learn how to ask for the cash. A business will continue to grow only because its customers are willing to keep financing it through sales. A salesman’s job is to keep this process going.
So, you want to be an entrepreneur! The first classic mistake of a first time self-employed person or first time entrepreneur is to start arriving at the office at 9 am. Their first meeting is at about 10 am. They have effectively lost three hours before they even start! Their next mistake is to work late. Setting a meeting at 6pm does not allow you to action anything after that meeting, and by the next morning when you get into gear at 10 am, you can’t remember what you were to action from last night’s meeting when sobriety levels were affected by the after dinner beverage.
Meetings without action plans that should be effected within a reasonable immediacy frame are essentially a waste of time. The measure of your effectiveness as an entrepreneur is your turnover. The rest is details. The best place to learn the trade is on the sales field as a commissioned agent. No basic pay, no perks, just commission! If your heart squirms against this statement, keep your day job and forget about being an entrepreneur!
The job of a sales person is to ask for the customer’s cash in exchange for his or her product or service. It does not matter how good your product or service is. If you can’t ask for the cash, you are not an entrepreneur!
If you are already in business, and you have a sales force that does not know how to ask for the cash, you should train them to, or let them go; otherwise they are an expense to you! Where is the money to pay them going to come from, if they don’t ask for it from their customers in exchange for your products?
When will my products start selling themselves? I hear you ask? When you have given them enough momentum, by selling them!