In business, there is never a winner or loser. However, you can make sure you have this framework in place to evolve and improve with the times.
Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive and a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.
Great to be with you today. I look forward to this discussion. It’s about the 10 business lessons from wins and losses that I’ve learned through the last 12 years. To give you context, we started The Moery Company about 12 years ago, an entrepreneurial endeavor, and I’ve learned a lot through the last decade plus about how to launch a business and how to maintain a business. I’m going to give you 10 tips or observations from that process.
#1:Starting the business is likely to be about you, but keeping the business is about your team.
A lot of the motivations we have of starting our own business are very, you know, self imposed. We think things like “wow, I can’t work for this guy anymore”, I could do this better, I see this opportunity, or I need the flexibility and freedom . All those things are usually self motivated. However, you’ll learn very quickly that to scale the business and grow it, it becomes much more about everybody else. I think that’s the framework that you need. Although I have these self and internal motivations that drive me to get started, it’s actually going to be about everybody else. That is one of the biggest challenges for an entrepreneurial leader
#2: Start with building a good sales operation first.
You might think about the service, the offering, and the pricing if your business. Many businesses fail because they never get out of the gate. Why? Because they don’t have a sales operation, a sales process, and a business development methodology at their core to start. Without any clients, you’re not going to be able to be in the game very long.
#3: Contract provisions.
Don’t be afraid to address the specifics, and don’t be afraid if it costs you a sales deal early on. I’d rather negotiate provisions of the contract, than have a vague contract and a big argument later that might spoil or end the relationship. Be very clear about things. For example, in our business, we do a lot of sales work. We sell memberships, sponsorships, and ads and exhibits for our clients. The definition of what a sale constitutes is very important to us and the contractual. Here’s my view: if are involved in any way, shape, or form in the development of that new membership, we get commission for it. I don’t want to have a negotiation, or referee the deal after it has already come in. No one usually argues about who gets the commission for a $1,000 membership. People do argue about who gets the commission from the $100,000 membership. I have seen this many times before. You want to be very clear about those things
#4: Consider cash flow.
You can have gross margin growth or net profits year after year, but you might still have cash flow problems. I’ll tell you a story: we have great legacy clients that pay us at the end of each month. We start the work on the 1st and end on the 31st. We bill them for the work that month.If they’re on a 30 day pay scale, that means I might be doing work for 60 days without ever getting paid for it. That can cause a cash flow problem. Instead, we should start the work on the 1st and bill them for the work that we’re going to do from the 1st to the 31st beforehand. If they pay in 30 days, I’m paid during the month that I actually did the work.
Prove the work with excellent reporting. This has been a differentiator for us. Weekly reports that we provide to the client proves the activity, the pipeline, and the progress we’ve made on the project. It signifies trajectory. It enables you to get to action items that you need back from the client and reinforces that making a decision to join with you on the project was a good idea. Good reporting makes good clients.
#6: Get paid for the work.
I don’t work on commission-only work. If it takes work, you should get paid. If we would have gone through this pandemic as a sales operation that’s only on commission, it would have been tough.
#7: See a list in advance.
For our company, we want to see who the prospects are and who we might be going after. My point to you here is whatever work you’re involved in, sign a nondisclosure agreement and have a discovery phase to really know what you’re getting into. That’s difficult when you need clients and money quickly. However, you should do this early on in the sales process. Ask your clients for an NDA, to let you learn about the project, and get some data from them.
#8: Develop a strong referral system with your clients.
The power of someone saying something about you is probably the most influential sales tactic ever, but we don’t use it enough. There’s a point in the sales process and the client development process where you need someone just to drop a quick note and say “hey, I understand you’re thinking about working with The Moery company. Here’s been my experience. If you got any questions, give me a call.”
#9: Develop an advisory board and get their feedback early.
Our advisory board is fantastic have they’ve helped me so much. They often see us and The Moery Company as a much more expansive business than even we do. Over time, your internal view may be very limited. You may think you’re only this type of company, when the people in the market and your advisory board see you as a resource for a variety of different things that you don’t even think about.
#10: Business is an infinite game. You don’t win it and the game doesn’t stop.
This is very difficult for people to comprehend that are competitive. That’s the way to really look at this: it enables you to adapt and innovate because there’s not a set time frame. There’s no winner or loser in business. You’re either ahead or behind at the current time.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a copy of Association Hustle, my first ever book about the association business, and what I’ve learned from it. I’d be pleased to send you a complimentary copy. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week on the Association Hustle.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blog at moerycompany.com. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter at @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page.
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