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4 sales strategies that can help your business weather any storm

June 1, 2022

Someone out there really thought the Mona Lisa should have her cake and eat it, too.

In this week’s edition:

  • Creating an SMB culture that supports queer folks. 
  • Cultivating a team that thrives on performance. 
  • 5 common mistakes that can sink your SMB.
  • Developing a sales strategy that can weather any storm.


How your SMB can support LGBTQ+ employees

Graphic of a man and woman standing in front of a rainbow doorway.

Hello, June…
…and Pride Month, a time when we can come together to celebrate the contributions and progress of the LGBTQ+ community.

But even as we display our rainbow-themed brand logos and release Pride Month social media posts, we all still have a long way to go so that our LGBTQ+ employees feel like they have equal rights and security in the workplace.

Let’s look at some stats:
According to Gallup, 7.1% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ+ — however, 46% are still closeted at work. And even though the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited employee discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status in 2020, almost 10% of LGBTQ+ workers experienced workplace discrimination last year.

So what can we do?
There are some small, but powerful steps we can take to ensure that our workplaces are inclusive and open to LGBTQ+ employees.

  1. Have a clear and transparent nondiscrimination policy. You may already have a zero-tolerance policy in place, but be as specific as possible with your language — include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” on the list of protected statuses.
  2. Provide equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ employees and their families. You want benefits like insurance plans, bereavement leave, and parental leave policies to be equal and equitable for all, so offer plans that support same-sex couples and are transgender-inclusive.
  3. Build an inclusive culture where employees can be themselves. Employees’ psychological safety (AKA, the ability to be their authentic selves without fear of negative repercussions) in the workplace can affect things like company turnover and productivity. Meaning, you want to have a company culture where employees feel supported and celebrated for who they are. So call attention to your company’s diversity and inclusion values or create affinity groups to provide a safe space for your employees.

👉 Explore more tips.


9 ways to foster performance culture in your company

A group of people in an office listening to a speaker.

But first, what exactly are we talking about when we say “performance culture”?
According to Forbes, when there’s a healthy performance culture in a workplace, it “promotes an environment where employees are focused on incremental improvement — to be the best they can be in the situation they are in, with the resources at their disposal.” In other words, your team always has the goal post in focus, and they’re collectively working toward it with the tools at hand.

But keeping everyone engaged and working at their peak can be challenging (especially when you're remote).

What’s an SMB leader to do?
First, sustaining a performance culture doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on data and the increased bottom line that comes from a high-performing team (although that’s definitely important!).

However you define performance, you can use the following nine tips to build and sustain a performance culture that works for your team and goals:

  1. Make expectations clear from the beginning. When your employees know what you expect of them and what their role requires them to do, they’ll perform better. The sooner you make these expectations clearer, the better — and that starts with their training and onboarding.
  2. Develop a game plan with a company playbook. Creating an easily-accessible game plan can make your employees a lot more efficient. Think about it this way: when your team has everything they need in one place, that eliminates unnecessary time searching for what they need elsewhere.
  3. Adopt an open-door communication policy. Create opportunities for regular and safe communication. Honest communication can be inspiring and motivating, leading to improved engagement and performance.

👉 See all nine ways.


Organize Chaos

Have you subscribed to Organize Chaos yet? All the cool SMB leaders are doing it. Every weekday, Trainual’s Founder and CEO Chris Ronzio shares entrepreneurial and small business leadership advice in lip-smacking, bite-sized episodes. And on Fridays, you can look forward to in-depth interviews with SMB thought leaders and inspirational drivers of change — like The Hustle’s founder Sam Parr, who had some indispensable advice on how to get your first million subscribers. Wait, are you still sitting this out? Subscribe now!


How to avoid common mistakes that can sink an SMB

The sad stats.
We’ve all heard ‘em. Maybe from concerned family members and friends or by Googling, “how many small businesses fail?” Unfortunately, the cold hard truth is 20% of all small businesses fail within the first two years, and about half fail within five years.

Starting up a small business is difficult. But we can learn from the mistakes of other SMB leaders to build better plans — ones that guide us towards success.

A man smiling and saying, "We got this."

Here are some common small business mistakes and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Not doing enough research.
Acting on impulse instead of research: big no-no. Let’s say you move your business to a location with cheaper rent. You’ll likely regret this decision when the not-so-lovely location results in (predictably) lower revenues.

Instead, work to understand your industry, the market, and what you’re up against. This will help you prepare a well-researched, realistically achievable business plan and roadmap.

Mistake #2: Lack of capital.
We’ve witnessed firsthand how quickly (and unexpectedly) costs rose for things like gas, utilities, materials, and labor. So be sure you’ve financially planned for inevitable twists and turns that could throw you off your carefully planned course towards revenue.

One sure way to do this: estimate the amount of money you need to get your business up and running — then double it! Using that number, look at the pros and cons of different lenders to find the route that’s right for you.

Mistake #3: Trying to do everything yourself.
We get it. By taking matters into your own hands, you don’t have to spend money on more employees and you can be sure things will be done the right way — after all, you’re doing it!

As tempting as it is to delay hiring in your early stages, this can oh-so quickly lead to burnout. Instead, focus on what you excel in and hire the right people to handle everything else. Also, be sure to find the perfect training software to get teammates up to speed.

👉 Learn how to avoid all five common mistakes.


Building a sales strategy for a more resilient business

The past two years have been a challenge.
A global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, employee shortages, inflation — it’s been a tough few years for SMBs. And with a potential recession on the horizon, you don’t want to be reactively putting out fires.

Instead, you need to fortify your business for the future. Which means building a resilient sales strategy. Here are the four steps you need to take:

1. Get more people to come to your store or visit your website.
You want to drive awareness of your brand and get people interested in your products or services. So, PR and SEO (search engine optimization) are your new best friends. SEO is particularly important — 68% of online shoppers start their research on Google, so you want your brand to pop up high on those search results.

A woman saying, "Oh, ze things I have Googled."

2. Get more people to make a purchase or enlist your service.
This probably goes without saying, but your product or service is the most important part of your business. A great marketing strategy is all well and good, but if your business doesn’t live up to the hype, your potential customers aren’t likely to buy in.

Stay on top of industry trends and develop your products and services to match what your customers want at the current moment.

3. Get more people to spend more money.
Everyone loves a good recommendation. Try bundling your in-demand offerings with your less popular products or services.

4. Get people to return more frequently.
Create repeat customers. The quality of your products and services will bring customers back, but you can also consider strategies like subscription models to generate recurring revenue.

The strongest sales strategy will not only focus on all four steps, but will also have multiple ways to achieve each step. That way, if one method doesn’t produce results, you have other avenues to fall back on.


This week’s highlight reel

  • It’s a bird, it’s a plane… nope, it’s probably a drone. Walmart’s expanding their drone-delivery service to six states in an effort to fuel e-commerce growth and beat Amazon’s delivery times. “Customers will be able to order from tens of thousands of eligible items… for delivery by air in as little as 30 minutes.” Or… it’s free — right?
  • CliffsNotes, but make it email. Stumped on writing a pitch-perfect sales email that turns prospects into customers? Happens to the best of us. HubSpot has 25 proven email templates to get your creative juices flowing.   
  • Bionic vision. There’s a new typeface in town, and it’s helping neurodivergent readers glide through text easier. It’s called “bionic reading,” and honestly, everyone should be using it
  • Tastemaker. If you threw some Beyond Meat burgers on the ‘que for your Memorial Day grill out, rest easy — Kim Kardashian’s on quality control. Well, sort of. The reality celeb joined Beyond Meat as their new “chief taste consultant.” So many quips, so little time.


Here’s what else is on The Manual’s mind

Been a busy bee? Don’t sweat it. Catch up on the hottest SMB news today:

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