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Risk to grow in 2011

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The last two articles talked about appreciation for your 2010 clients, and focusing your 2011 sales and marketing. Today let’s talk briefly about how to grow in 2011 based on some of my Indianapolis clients who are applying a common approach to growth in 2011—taking risk.

In the first 11 months of 2010, my clients added 3 net new employees—one in sales, one in installation, and one in sales support. There were a several other replacements for people who left or were let go, but new employment was a whopping 3 people. Then, in the middle of November, my phone started to ring for referrals for specific jobs and for help with interviewing salespeople. In December and January, the same client base added 1 in accounting, 1 in general management, 1 in installation, and 3 in sales. In addition, that same group is actively trying to add 3 more in sales as soon as the right candidate is found. That means in 2010 my client base which added 3 new team members will add 8 new team members within the first 45 days of 2011.

What is driving this change? The desire to grow and the acknowledgement that growth requires risk. Across several industries, owners have decided to grow this year. It was not a passive decision to sit back and see if it happens, it was a conscious choice to add payroll where it could make it happen. More interesting is a sample of what industries decided to grow in 2011:

Fixed Bid Consulting—mid range IT consulting added a salesperson.

USAutomatic Sprinkler—installation and service of fire suppression systems and fire alarms added general management and installation and yes this is the construction industry.

Neighborhood Source—local advertising to bring new customers to retailer stores added accounting and multiple salespeople.

Business Accounting and Larch Tax Services—small to medium sized company bookkeeping and tax preparation added sales and consulting resources

This is a nice wide mix of companies and every day I hear of more Indianapolis companies hiring, and this is what it will take for any business to make 2011 the year they want.

Do you want to grow in 2011? Sure there is risk in hiring in front of the revenue curve but did you notice a high incidence of sales people? Salespeople are not an expense; salespeople are an investment. Properly hired and managed, a salesperson adds to your bottom line. If the salesperson is not adding to your bottom line, there are a lot of good salespeople in the market through no fault of their own.

Business is full of risk but the biggest risk is doing the same thing and expecting radically improved results. Does your business plan for 2011 include the risk of change? If you need 2011 to be different, you need to add risk to your plan because your competition is making changes you haven’t seen yet. It’s part of our entrepreneurial spirit and I encourage you to let it drive you forward in 2011.

Jeff Bowe is Principal and Chief Sales Strategist for ACTUM Group, a sales consultancy providing outsourced sales management to business owners and sales teams that need training, tactics, strategies, and processes for success...and who need to like each other again.

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