At this point after having negotiated a lease agreement for my retail location, furnished it, got all of the hardware and software in place, and got licensed through the state with the governing agency…I now not only owned a business but was operating one. Now this was really scary. As I said in Part II, I had a certain amount of money that I had dedicated to the business endeavor and if I ran out of it…it was over. However, I was steadfast in my dedication and commitment to winning. But frankly I did not know how to win, so I embarked on the journey of figuring it out.
My very first month in business I literally made $0. I sat at my desk and asked myself; (aside from…”what the f*ck did I get myself in to), “what am I not doing that I need to do”? I looked inward at what I believed I was good at. I was passionate, I was an expert salesman, and I had a quality product. So I told myself, “go f*ing sell it”. I started doing what I did best and that was passionately sell. Slowly but surely I started honing my salesmanship with this new product that was different from pharmaceutical products. The sales process itself was different. Though the selling process was different, my passion for selling never went away.
I asked myself; “how did I win at pharma sales and how is it transferable to the sales process I was involved in now”? The answer that kept coming to my head was “build relationships”. So I set out to meet everyone that I possibly could from other business owner, to Doctors, to Bankers, to Attorneys, to Accountants, to people I met in the community. When I say “I met with everybody” I am not exaggerating. Every single person I came across no matter what position they held in their work or in society, I passionately sold my business and what it is that we do.
Before long it began to work….people responded to my passion and I became a product expert….revenue started pouring in. I rested for nothing. My family suffered terribly as I grew the business and God Bless them as they allowed me to follow my dreams and I am eternally grateful for it. In the first month of my 2nd year in business I was pulling in over mid five-figures a month in revenue. I was not even close to satisfied!!! I started to recognize one very important fact about myself. The person I am, the athlete I was, the salesperson in pharma that I was, had all been practice for this real thing…..a real business. I am the guy who will rest at nothing, stop at nothing till I am absolutely killing it in business. There is something inside of me that will never stop. In fact at night time, even after having gotten to the point of some semblance of success, it became hard to turn my mind off. All I could think about was winning in business.
When I was in pharmaceuticals I knew that I could have a nice life. I knew that I could support my family in a way that allowed us to enjoy life. But at the end of the day, there was a limit to what I could make. In opening my own business, I was able to take it as far and as high as my skills would allow me to. As we approach the end of November and the end of my second year in business, the business is now generating over six figures in revenue monthly. Though it seems like an amazing milestone, (and I am proud), I am now approaching unfamiliar territory and the problem of………..how do we grow from here???
With each step of growth, new challenges are posed. Such things as:
- Do I have enough employees to support growth?
- If I hire another employee, it will cost the business money, but what type of return can I get on that investment?
- What should my organizational structure look like and what is most advantageous to perpetuate growth? (In other words what position should I hire for?)
- How can I increase my margins?
So many questions need to be answered at every step of the way. But one thing I am certain of at this point is that I am a the guy that took everything I learned from the world of pharmaceuticals, all the skill sets, all the experiences managing employees, all the sales that were closed and I brought it to my new world of business ownership.
I am grateful for my time as a pharma sales rep. I am grateful for my time as a pharma sales manager. These positions trained me to be the business owner that I am today and the business owner I can be in the future.