You have no business without customers and you have no customers without sales. As important as sales are to the ultimate success of any entrepreneurial endeavor, there is no area of business that is more misunderstood and more rife with myths than sales.
The culture an entrepreneur creates can be the single biggest factor in not only driving success, but attracting the employees and customers it needs to sustain that success. It reflects the environment and the management style the founder creates.
Customer service is more than a good voice answering the phone; more than a couple accolades from some satisfied customers. It has to be part of the culture of the company. But for many entrepreneurs, it's mostly "all talk, no walk."
Quality transcends company size and documented procedures. And, it starts the day you open your doors. It means everything is done with pride, at the highest level of your capabilities with the highest level of service possible. It is a state of mind.
Most entrepreneurs watch every penny, especially early on. But there's difference between being fiscally conservative and just plain old "cheap!" Knowing what you're "really" paying and "really" getting in return with employees and suppliers is critical.
Most companies develop products that they either "think" their customers need or they let their ego believe that they "know" what their customers want Few entrepreneurs involve their customers in the product development process and it hurts them later.
Starting out most of you will only have a great idea, a plan to execute that idea and your integrity. Your idea might or might not be great. Your plan may or may not be executable. But your integrity is who are you and your business' reputation.
Building a business is not just about numbers. It's about how you make those numbers happen. Forecasts and budgets are simply objectives, your end results. But success is not about focusing on the results, but on the process to get those results.
The more you know about your prospects and customers, the more successful ANY sales efforts will be. The more you listen, the more you learn about customer problems and needs; the easier it is to match your products/services with those problems and needs