Five Steps to Go From Zero to 100 Million
How do you take a small company with no revenue to a company that is billing millions in new revenue? I think every entrepreneur would love to know but if it were an easy answer then everyone would be doing it. I grew up selling. It’s where I excel because it comes naturally to me. Every entrepreneur must ask themselves what they are good at and what they must learn in order to succeed because getting a company from zero to a 100 million takes a combination of natural skill and learned “street smarts.” While no one can hold your hand and lead you to your desired end goal, there are a few pivotal points in the deal making process that can make or break your play.
Just about five years ago I was in South America. I was there to meet with a client and sell them on an idea I had about bringing a new set of cloud services to their portfolio. It goes without saying that I arrived prepared and ready to hit the deal out of the park. Upon our meeting, the client told me that his mind was already made up. He was ready to work with a combination of a Fortune 10 giant and another competitor. Our meeting that day was just a formality.
I asked questions and listened to him explain that his company had to cover a large geographical area and would have over 30 different addendums to the master agreement with a Fortune 10 giant. Essentially they had a need and a Fortune 10 giant had pushed back. That’s where I saw my opportunity and seized on it.
I started presenting my offerings for solutions alongside professional capabilities of my company. As it turned out, our solution was much more flexible than a Fortune 10 giant, which goes to show that sometimes a smaller player has more leverage. I was able to secure the win.
Years later I returned with a new product for the same customer. I’d brought a few new clients with me. I wanted to show them the progress we’d made over the past 4 years. As we sat down with my new partners, my old customer showed us an excel sheet and said, “A few years ago Benjamin came to us and advise as to start a new division and implement new cloud services. Today we are billing over 100 million in new revenue, which is not much but is a start since we are an 80 billion dollar company.”
Stories of success happen every day. You can get there but not every entrepreneur will know how to get there.
Here are a few pointers:
- You have to be flexible. As soon as the customer told me that he’d made up his mind, why didn’t I just leave? The simple answer is that I knew the playing field before I arrived. I knew that there were only so many big fish out there and this knowledge gave me the power to be flexible with my terms and deliverables.
- Seize the moment. You only get a few chances. If you don’t then you are not going to get a second chance. He was with a Fortune 10 giant, and his issue turned out that a Fortune 10 giant wasn’t able to provide contracts to some of the places he wanted to go. By listening and learning his pain points I was able to diagnose his situation and offer my company as a clear and solid solution. a Fortune 10 giant was too big and I was just big enough. In meetings, it is important to seize on the pains of the customer and be effective. I’m not saying over promise, I’m saying know your strengths and use them wisely. You have to get the solution right for both of you. That is a winning combination.
- Know your subject. If not you will lose out on a golden opportunity. I closed and was able to build the business within four years.
- Be confident in meetings. Despite the fact that he told me he was about to sign the contract with someone else. BVS – “True confidence is built with an awareness of personal limits and a willingness to seek help when necessary.”
- Be committed from the start. I’m hired by my customers to win and I will use everything at my disposal to do so. Once they give me the business I do everything I can day in and day out, flying around the world, working together with their sales and marketing teams–to make their products successful. After that initial meeting, we started the negotiation process and we won the deal. It took 4 years to get to 100 million, but when I returned 4 years later to bring them other companies they wanted me to help take them to 100 billion.
Unless otherwise noted, opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.