While talking with my consulting clients about sales and most importantly, increasing them, I often find myself advising them to do one thing before all else:
Pick just two major income streams and stick to learning and growing those avenues first.
You see, there are thousands of ways to make money. And in most businesses, there are at least three to five ways to make sales. For product based businesses you can sell:
- to stores via wholesale (door to door, sales reps, trade shows)
- to customers in person (customer referrals, art shows, trunk shows, home parties)
- to customers online (online shop, Etsy, Ebay, etc.)
And of course, that is just a few of the options.
I find a lot of new business owners at the outset want to pursue and grow every single avenue for sales possible.
Why not make as many sales, in as many ways, as you can?
However, I don’t think that is the best way to approach a new business in most cases.
I advise my clients to consider their intention for their business (What do you want your business to look like? What do you want to spend most of your time doing?), and then pick the two sales avenues that fit their business intention the best.
By learning the ins and outs of just two business avenues, for example online sales and wholesale, I think it helps them narrow their focus, execute at a higher level, and learn more in a shorter time. It takes a lot of work to grow any arm of sales, and to approach every sales avenue with the same effort dillutes the overall effectiveness and prowess of the business owner.
And I also find that by getting really good at two sales avenues, the third sales method eventually comes quite naturally when the first two are being executed at a professional level. By creating a bustling online shop while doing art shows locally, a company could easily be approached by a wholesale customer interested in purchasing for their store.
Or, someone could be so stressed by trying to do everything all at once that they end up accomplishing very little or have less than solid results.
It also goes without saying that a business owner can change their course and intention for their business and decide after pursuing one avenue of sales that they’d like to shift and work toward another. I’ve done this myself with Jess LC. For the first eight years I sold via wholesale and directly to customers. Then in 2009, I shifted away from wholesale towards online selling and have been continuing to narrow, focus, and evolve my sales plan ever since.
At least that’s my two cents.