Business Opportunity Follow-up

It’s not the girl or guy who’s number you got last night, it’s someone who wants to hear from you now.

No delays, no games, close the deal!

Having created and run multiple businesses in both the services industry as well as hard goods, I’ve come across a fair amount of opportunities and inquires. While there areĀ  many differences between these types of businesses, there are also some similarities, including the opportunity follow-up.

Answer immediately, particularly in the age of the internet, constant connectivity and instant response/gratification expectations. For us and many, our website is our storefront and any form completed to request information or follow-up communication is someone figuratively knocking on the door.

Just imagine if you had a brick and mortar business and your front door is locked at the moment. A customer shows up and knocks on your door to buy some goods or simply to ask a few questions. How many of these opportunities do you suppose you would close if you chose to answer your door a few hours or even a few days after the customer is knocking? Do you really think that they would just sit there waiting for you to answer the door?

When a customer completes a web form requesting information or contact, especially these days, they demand an answer immediately. If you choose to ignore the knocking on your door (or email on your smartphone) and wait any stretch of time to answer, you will lose nearly every time. They will go next door and find another seller, they will go to another website and submit a request and eventually, they will get an answer in a more prompt and professional manner.

No excuses!

Optimism vs Denial

Optimism and Denial are quite often one in the same?

Optimism (noun): A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.

Denial (noun): A psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.

Surely there are many times when the two are very different, here is an example when they are not.

 

In business as in life, especially as an entrepreneur, there are times when this really needs to be given a hard look to determine if what you are claiming to be optimism is really just denial. Maybe you came up with a great idea, developed it, tested it and take it to market but sales don’t come in like you anticipated. You throw more money at the marketing efforts, add features to make the product better, hire people to promote the product, redesign your collateral to make it more appealing and start hitting trade shows to promote the product. Hundreds of thousands of dollars later you are still losing money and the forecast isn’t predicting sunshine. You remain optimistic because you have employees who’s morale must be upheld. You remain optimistic because you have investors who’s confidence needs to be maintained. You remain optimistic because you put your house and nest-egg on the line and your wife and children will be worried if they sense failure or doubt (worried is an understatement). You remain optimistic because you know it is a good idea and it was just too early to market, it will take off soon.

That’s where a good slap upside the head might help.

You are no longer optimistic, you are truly in a serious state of denial. It may have started as optimism but in the end, the dark side has won and you need to cut your losses. Maybe it was a good idea, maybe you were early to market, it happens. Good football teams usually punt on fourth down, they can’t always “go for it”.

Has this ever happened to you?

Of course not!

Ok, maybe it has. Being a college drop out, I chalk it up to my version of student loans. I learned the hard way, many years ago.

If you are or you’re getting ready to become an entrepreneur, inventor, business owner of any sort, prepare yourself for this possible outcome. While it isn’t always and doesn’t have to be, for many with the eternally optimistic entrepreneurial spirit, it’s easy to head down this path.