small business sales

Hate selling? Try this mindset shift

No matter your business, selling is at the heart of it. After all, it’s hard to succeed if you’re not selling your product or service to new and existing customers.

That’s all well and good, but the mindset needed for selling doesn’t come naturally to all entrepreneurs. Some small business owners wonder how to you actually close a sale, or what the best way to ask for business is. Sometimes, this uncertainty can lead to poor sales and marketing strategies like sending blanket, generic marketing messages, or being too pushy with our self-promoting because we think we have to be.

Have no fear! Selling doesn’t have to be scary, and you can get more comfortable with it. Then, you can make more strategic sales and marketing decisions that make sense for your business – and you might even have fun doing it.

Check out GoForth Expert Marty Park’s advice on how to change your mindset about selling. We think it’ll help you to think about sales a little differently!

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What are the warning signs of a franchise scam?

In the Ask a GoForth Expert section of our website, an entrepreneur wisely wanted to know about the warning signs of franchise fraud. There are all kinds of franchise opportunities available, and some seem to promise instant wealth with almost zero effort. Franchises do have a high rate of success compared to other types of small businesses, but that doesn’t mean they’re a direct path to riches.

How do you spot a franchise scam?

Our GoForth Expert Samir Dandekar had these tips to avoid franchise scams:

Firstly, you can choose to work only with a franchisor who is a member of the Canadian Franchise Association.

Secondly, you can be wary of the following franchise scam warning signs:

  • Slick salesperson trying to pitch a fast sale
  • Pressure for franchisees to sign gag orders
  • Insistence on cash transactions only
  • Exaggerated earnings
  • Promising a proven business model or proprietary technology that doesn’t exist
  • Promising training that never materializes
  • Forcing franchisees to spend money on so-called improvements
  • Failure to provide disclosure

As always, do your research. Be thorough, double-check everything, and seek the advice of trusted colleagues or professional advisors. And listen to your instincts!

For more Ask a GoForth Expert questions and answers about franchising, visit us here.

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How to tell if you're really ready for entrepreneurship

How to tell if you’re ready for entrepreneurship

It’s the start of a new year, and if you’re like many Canadians, you may have resolved to finally start your entrepreneurship journey this year.

But wait – not so fast. We know it’s exciting to finally start your small business, but there are many things to know beforehand. Here are some things that, in our years of educating entrepreneurs, we’ve identified as some of the most important questions prospective entrepreneurs should ask themselves before starting a small business.

Are you ready to start a small business?

  1. What is most important to me in running a small business – making money or doing what I love?
  2. Do I have management or technical experience in a business similar to the business I want to start?
  3. Do I have any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge?
  4. How well do I handle risk?
  5. How do I cope with stress?
  6. Are my finances strong enough to support me if my small business doesn’t see income immediately?
  7. Do I have the support of my family and friends?
  8. Am I willing to work longer than usual to start my small business?
  9. How well do I lead or manage others?
  10. How adaptable am I?
  11. How do I make difficult decisions?
  12. Do I have a long-term plan for my small business?
  13. Do I have a business model?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, no problem! It’s actually a good thing. Knowing what you don’t know is important, and can help you find – and fix – critical gaps in your knowledge. Small business training will increase your odds of success. Nearly half of all small Canadian businesses fail within two years, so getting essential small business skills is really important.

How can you find out if you’re ready to be an entrepreneur?

Download our free Self-Assessment for Entrepreneurs to take an honest look at your situation right now. Take your time and do as much research and training as you can before you start your small business – it may make all the difference to your success.

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Tips for building a strong team in your business

Tips for building a strong team in your business

Starting a new small business can involve building a team of capable people who complement your strengths and skillset.

At GoForth, our original team shared several core philosophies, the most important of which was a commitment to launch and build the leading small business training company in Canada. We’ve had our core team members in place since day one, evolving from a team of strangers into a family of committed, talented educators, writers, designers and entrepreneurs.

Here’s our advice for building a great small business team.

Don’t start with a layer of executives

If you hold the vision for your company, you most likely need functional roles more than you need a roster of VPs. We started with a single founder and a team of writers and creative people. We complemented each other in every way, and we work well together!

Bring experience to functional roles

You may be a founder or CEO for the first time in your new business and there’s a lot of on-the-job learning you’ll go through. Don’t surround yourself with people who are making it up as they go along. Experience matters.

Generalists are undervalued

In the early stages, you’ll need people who can do many things, who can brainstorm outside of their function and see how their roles affect others. To ensure this framework is rooted in your young company, hire the core technical skills you need but surround them with “deep generalists,” or people who have a specific role but the proven ability to cross into others.

Look for failures

People who have failed and recovered are a better choice than people who have never failed. Failure is a great source of insight, but more than that, people who can figure out how to rise again have the right personality for a new small business, and the pivots and adaptability that it entails.

Don’t hire people like you

You need diverse experiences, philosophies and talents to cross-pollinate. That said, hire people you like – you’ll spend a lot of time with them! Always focus on the next step. Everyone you hire is a magnet for future hires. Never hire a jerk, no matter how talented the person is, and never hire an ego, no matter how accomplished the person is. They will do more damage to your culture than their talent can possibly make up for.

Defer to other people’s greater experience

You don’t know what they know, or you wouldn’t have hired them. That said, always seek to understand how they are applying their experience to your business. You’ll learn, and you’ll be able to guide how the pieces fit together

There is no substitute for passion

If you’re like many new small businesses, you can’t pay top dollar for talent, and you don’t want to be a stepping stone to a bigger salary at a corporation. So you need your team to share your passion for what you’re doing. They should see getting to change the world through your business as a valuable, if non-monetary, part of their compensation. If you’re starting from scratch, you need to see the business move forward every day. Team members who share your passion are key.

Every successful company has an equally successful team behind it. The first step is to build and foster a team that can drive your business. We hope these tips help!

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