To succeed, entrepreneurs MUST directly or indirectly make business happen. In this 99WOWs Blog post, we’ll explore how and why entrepreneurs directly make it “rain” and “pour” when it comes to bringing in new business. This WOW is an expansion of 99 Creative WOWs—Words of Wisdom for Business, a newly published book for thriving and striving entrepreneurs, biz whiz professionals and creative wizards as well as recent grads ready to make their mark on the world.
Rainmakers dance between raindrops—without umbrellas.
Entrepreneurs are often called rainmakers—the people who consistently and tenaciously must make results happen in order that their businesses grow and succeed. These results might be acquiring sales, discovering new opportunities, creating new products, winning new projects or forging new client relationships. To be a rainmaker, an entrepreneur has to have the drive and focus to push forward—no matter how difficult or myriad the obstacles.
As an entrepreneur, I know a lot about being a rainmaker. It’s my job—every single day. I am the person who not only closes sales—I open them as well. Over the years I’ve tried an array of different business development strategies in attempts to share the sales burden. All attempts aside, as is the case with many entrepreneurs, this process still rests squarely on my shoulders.
It’s not for lack of trying. Over the years, I’ve hired a range of people. Many had strong track records and bulging contact lists and others supposedly knew “everybody.” For many reasons, those approaches didn’t work. While these individuals did understand our business and they did have existing relationships with the decision-makers in our client companies—these strengths often eclipsed other weaknesses, like a reticence to take risks or a lack of follow-up skills and disorganization.
I realized that by hiring such executives I was only deferring the new business hunt; in reality, it was not happening—without me. In fact, this extra layer slowed our sales process with only the illusion of true progress. I was so busy trying to give others time to “get up to speed” that I spent my time worrying and sitting on my hands instead of seeking out and closing deals myself. These individuals may have truly wanted to develop business, but they lacked some key ingredients.
I didn’t give up there though. I forced my own pendulum to swing the other way. While I’d resigned myself to needing to close every sale, I became hopeful others could assist in the front-end lead generation. I explored data-driven lead generators, sales clouds, follow up reminders and more. That, too, was a distraction. It created many weak leads that only moved so far without my direct involvement and ultimately languished into nothing while I served as a low-level bottleneck. This was also another expensive approach that didn’t work.
Both strategies taught me a great deal, however. Regardless of the specific tactical concerns one or another of these options may have displayed, they all lacked one core ingredient for success: they didn’t have the entrepreneurial gene.
This entrepreneurial DNA begins with a deep-seated drive to make results happen. An entrepreneur must see opportunities and understand clients’ needs to connect both to the value their business will add. An entrepreneur HAS TO possess this “connective tissue” because when all is said and done, it is the entrepreneur who must take the right actions to keep open the company’s doors. If the company’s lead entrepreneur does not make it rain, the ensuing drought can destroy the company. The entrepreneur knows this in a way that business development executives can rarely fathom and sales data platforms are not designed to support. When you must sign the bank loans and guarantee the lines of credit, your entrepreneurial urgency tends to skyrocket. This entrepreneurial hunger and urgency is what ultimately helps fuel rainmaking.
An entrepreneur who took the risk to launch a business is also typically passionate about the product or service offerings they champion. This passion, when coupled with the DNA and drive, leads many entrepreneurs to CHOOSE to be their company’s chief rainmaker.
I’ve learned that most entrepreneurs prefer it this way. We’re in the best position to pinpoint the smartest leads for our companies and conversely decline those opportunities that are poor fits. We also typically serve as the best closers because we have a powerful and innate knack for balancing out the options, strategies and outcomes. Wise, confident and informed entrepreneurs can also negotiate quickly without having to go back and re-crunch numbers. Because we hold all the pieces to our business puzzles, we can make more informed decisions more quickly.
Many entrepreneurs are also quite astute negotiators who clearly grasp the need for all parties to benefit from every negotiation. We tend to do this well and this type of risk-taking comes easily to us. This is why many entrepreneurs simply dance through the raindrops while making it rain! We don’t need umbrellas because we know that armed with our DNA, we will move deftly, quickly and wisely to navigate these business waters with confidence and success. In fact, we often eagerly put on our bright red rain boots and jump feet first into the puddles, splashing our way happily back to the office!