Low on cash? Someone ran out of tasks? Quick, go sell something!
Well, maybe that’s not the answer.
There are a few other potential answers, and for some, it might actually be harmful to your business if you sell more. This post covers a few situations where selling more isn’t the answer, and what to do instead.
If you are selling a product or service, and it costs you more to deliver than you charge the customer, then selling more of that can get you broke pretty quickly. You might do this once or twice if you have some expenses you have to cover, like payroll, but make sure it’s only temporary!
You can still go broke if there’s not enough gap (or ‘margin’) between your price, your costs to deliver, and your costs to cover the marketing/sales cost of getting that sale, plus all your other overheads.
You’ll know you probably have this problem if you feel too busy with delivery to make more sales.
To fix this, you’ll need to either raise your prices or cut your costs. One of the biggest costs in many businesses is hiring, so make sure you are hiring for the right roles – especially when you’re overwhelmingly busy – and that you’re not paying more than you need to.
FreeUp has this handy pricing page to help you gauge out more or less what you should be shelling out for different tasks if you’re hiring freelancers. This is also a handy guide to help you figure out how much you can save by hiring freelancers for only the work you need done versus employing people who might clock in but have nothing to do.
Speaking about costs…
Maybe your business is low on cash, or not as profitable as you like because there are expenses that you are avoiding cutting. Cutting these will hurt emotionally, that’s why you haven’t done it yet. But it might be what your business needs to survive, and it might only be temporary.
It could be that you have more hires than you need, or that they aren’t the right fit. In either case, you need to have the hard conversation with them to let them go. Everyone hates those conversations, but you have to fix this leak.
Maybe there is a marketing initiative that you are sure will work, but it isn’t. Time to stop wasting money and move on to the next marketing experiment with the knowledge you have gained.
One of the trickiest situations is where the business can’t afford to pay you as the owner at the same level as it has been. This might be because you’ve been pulling out too much, or putting too many personal expenses through the business.
Or maybe there are some ‘status’ expenses that need to go, like a fancy office or an expensive car.
If you have hard cuts to make, but you’re avoiding it, set aside some time and get it done. Or maybe you don’t need to make hard cuts, and just need to set aside an easy 10 minutes.
If you and/or your team are too busy to deliver on any new sales, then any new customers will become annoyed and might share their bad experiences with other potential customers.
Your existing customers are also likely to become annoyed when your service level takes a nosedive. You’ll have to replace them, but that isn’t going to be easy when new customers aren’t happy, either. You’ll end up with less and less money coming in and more and more expenses trying to solve customer issues.
For more on busy-ness and how to solve it: Business Growth Stalls When You Get This Wrong.
We all have comfort zones, and some business owners with a sales background might prefer to spend their time selling instead of doing one of the other tasks a business owner needs to do (like hard expense cuts, mentioned above).
Focusing on what you are good can be really beneficial for your business, so long as someone is doing the tasks that need to be done. You can delegate most tasks, and it can be easier than you think.
Maybe you are low on cash because your customers haven’t paid, so rather than get more customers (especially ones that don’t pay!) you need to talk to the non-payers. No one likes these conversations, either.
Lots of business owners hate this because it demotivates them about their business. The good news is you don’t have to do this yourself. You can hire someone to take over – and they will have techniques that they have developed from experience to do it smoothly so everyone is happy in the end.
If you get the price and costs of your services and/or products right, you won’t need as many sales to achieve the same amount of profit.
Which would you rather have: 10 customers at $100 each or 5 customers at $200 each?
Assuming the same amount of cost, that’s the same amount of revenue ($1,000). But your costs are actually a lot less with fewer customers to find and manage.
Sometimes your business needs you to charge more, not sell more.
So before you turn to selling more to solve your business problems…
If you have a problem in your business, whether that’s with low cash or otherwise, try to get to the root cause and then work on that.
It might be that your business does need you to sell more, but it’s important to not jump straight to that conclusion.
What does your business need most?
Sit down and figure it out. Then you’ll know what the real answer to your problem is.
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