As one of the new bloggers on Peer-to-Peer, I'm excited about teaming up with PC World to share my experiences as an entrepreneur. I've started several technology companies with an idea jotted on a napkin. From there, I moved to writing out a business plan and developing the products and services. That in turn led to mass-marketing my companies and building them into multimillion-dollar businesses, after which I sold them. I will probably share more of what not to do and the mistakes I've made over the years rather focus on the glorious parts.
With Avidian, which is the third company I've built from scratch, I figure if I make half the mistakes I made with my other companies, I will be millions of dollars ahead.
Therefore, first things first--to be successful, you have to be determined and believe in what you believe. Don't be swayed by the wind and be pushed around by whatever direction the wind blows you. You must be able to filter through all of the noise in the news and marketplace and clearly see a situation for what it is and how you stand in that situation.
If you keep up with the news, you probably think the world is falling apart. Here are some of the most recent headlines: "Jobless Claims Jump Unexpectedly to 7 Year High," or "OECD States Developed World in Recession." When I dug into some of these articles, I found out some interesting details. For instance:
Jobless Claims Jump to 7 Year High: We've had one of the best economic booms in the last six years. It's true that unemployment is up to 6.5 percent, but in the 1980s it was 9.7 percent. In other parts of the world, regular unemployment is 15 percent to 20 percent. In America, what a 6.5 percent unemployment rate pretty much means is that if you are a skilled worker and you want a job, you can find one.
OECD States Develop World in Recession: The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), one of the most reliable sources of economic data for the world economy, states that the world economy will contract by 0.3 percent in 2009. That tells me there is still 99.7 percent of the economy for us salespeople to get. Officially, the economy has contracted, but unofficially, the economy is pretty much flat, which in my perspective still presents plenty of opportunities.
Therefore if you are a hardworking, fairly smart and creative person, you will be able to thrive in this economy. My encouragement to you is to know what reality is. Don't just listen to the naysayers, and know the real situation you are in.
An example of the type of question you should ask yourself is "What kind of sales are you going to close within the next 30, 60, or 90 days?" or "Who did you or your sales team talk to or meet with last week or last month?"
Many people are still using a yellow notepad, Word or Excel to help them figure this out. This system takes lots of time and is prone to lots of errors. Today, many contact and sales management tools can easily help you figure this out with a few clicks of a button. You can then easily determine how many prospects you've spoken to in the last 30 days by just running a quick report. As the creator of a sales software company, I will examine how you can increase your sales and customer success in future blog entries.
I look forward to sharing more ideas, experiences and painful lessons I have learned about how to build a successful company. Until my next post, I wish you profitable sales.
James Wong is the co-founder and CEO of Avidian Technologies, the makers of Prophet, the easy CRM software for Outlook. James is a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of three successful companies, and an active investor and supporter of entrepreneurship.