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

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

Why is the Barefoot Startup So Important Today?

Why is the Barefoot Startup So Important Today? 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

We talk about the Barefoot Startup very often. But, what is it exactly? It’s sales! That’s it! Selling before your doors open; sales-supported growth; sales maps for new hires; overhead warranted by sales; bonuses based on sales; and development built on the cost of sales. The Barefoot Startup philosophy is sales-driven.

Why this fixation on sales? It’s how each employee gets paid. Each and every one! If not for the sales department, everyone else—production, marketing, HR, admin, and CEOs—wouldn’t serve a purpose.

Why is the Barefoot Startup so vital today? Focus on sales has vanished. Instead, we favor programming, engineering, HR, production, and legal.  We’ve grown to think that breakthrough technology, an amazing app, or a new financial system takes priority over sales. They don’t, and they never will.

In the Barefoot Startup, product design is determined by sales. You aren’t finished until you thoroughly understand how the market will be accessed and what the market wants.

Today, people believe success is based on financing. It’s not! You can secure financing before making a single sale. You can quickly burn out your investor dollars, too, without sales.

Startups trick themselves into believing that landing a spot in a major retail store is a recipe for success in itself. It’s not! This is not the end—it’s only the beginning. Real success is increasing and maintaining sales while staying in the market.

We’ve seen companies that have pushed marketing while neglecting the importance of sales. They’ll take a bow when sales are up, and they’ll blame the salespeople when numbers are down.

With no sales plan, no sales experience, and a really cool idea, you can still get financing. This way of thinking isn’t limited to just startups. Their investors can take sales for granted as well, and they shouldn’t. The failure rate of startups is on the rise. Over half of small startups collapse within their first four years, according to Small Business Trends.

No matter how bright, no idea is going to sell itself. Every idea must sell and, more importantly, resell on a continuous basis.

Focus should be on the cost of sales. Instead, it is usually on the cost of goods. But, if you aren’t able to service what you sell, you’ll soon be off the market. If your sales can’t generate positive cash flow, you’re stuck pleading with investors just to keep the lights on.

Today, business owners think if they have a cool idea and catchy marketing, all it takes is some people to sell it. If they don’t make sales, just get rid of them and hire more. Right? Absolutely wrong. With this revolving door, you never learn why your idea didn’t work—until it’s too late.

How did this happen? The world of sales has gotten a bad name. Nobody wants to come across as “salesy.” People don’t want to face rejection. And the “typical” salesperson is viewed as a shady character who is only after your money with almost nothing to offer in return. A good salesperson offers first-rate customer service, and they should be a startup’s top priority, not the bottom.

From small startups to large corporations, the time is right to implement the Barefoot Startup. Get started now! Focus on the most important key to success—sales!

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