Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

The 3 Fundamental Abilities Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed

The 3 Fundamental Abilities Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

We see it all the time—entrepreneurs become fantasized with their products, and they believe that their ideas alone will make them a riveting success. Tons of great products waste away in warehouses, never seeing store shelves. Founders of start-ups resort to working for their investors, or even worse, closing their doors for good. Their dreams have crumbled, and they’re back living with mom and dad. They’ll ask themselves: Why? Because they didn’t master the three fundamental abilities of a successful business.

  1. Distribution Management: Before your product gets to your customer, you have to get it to market! This is commonly overlooked, but it is perhaps the most important skill a new product creator can have. They are blinded by their product—they think that if it is good and priced right, it will sell. But people want to know why they should carry your product—not why you are selling it. Sales managers want to know how your product will boost their sales numbers, and salespeople want to know what the incentive is. Why should it be stocked on the shelves? And how fast will it turn? Your customer cares about price and quality. Sales managers, salespeople, store retailers, and clerks do not. But, if you don’t meet their needs, your product won’t make it to market. Your product is not nearly as important as its distribution—it can’t sell if it’s not there!
  2. Cash Flow Management: You have to pay your bills! And if you can’t, there are two options: Raise money, or close your doors. But, how do you expect to pay your staff without sales? Many companies attempt to get financing to take care of that, but they may be financed and even refinanced before they can make up the overhead. In this case, they rely on continuous new investment to keep above water. There are a couple of solutions. First, you could make sales your top priority, and sell as best you can in a small territory. Then, use those proceeds to finance growth. Or, you could form tactical relationships with your buyers and vendors. If a vendor trusts you, they’ll help you make ends meet by extending your credit. A buyer who trusts you will pay in cash in order to get discounts, which helps you pay the bills.
  3. Personnel Management: Getting help isn’t easy, but you need it! One of the most valued skills of a successful entrepreneur is hiring the right people. But even when you find the perfect employee, you still have to incentivize, inspire, and properly train them to want to do their best. It’s a lot to ask for, but it is essential to your success. Even creating a compensation system that works can take years of failed attempts. Start with the basics—we suggest you create a bonus structure to ensure sales, development, and profitability. Make sure everyone agrees on the specifics, and make sure they understand how their jobs will contribute. Give a quarterly bonus to each employee, no matter their duties, so everyone feels like they’re on the same team. This builds a foundation for positive company culture.

These 3 fundamental abilities could differ from company to company, but they typically follow the same pattern. Master these proficiencies, and your great ideas will have a better chance at success!

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