As you may know, Whale Hunting is based on two concepts: (1) the best, safest way to grow a B2B company is to consistently land bigger contracts with bigger customers, and (2) the best way to land bigger customers is to make your whole team responsible for sales in one role or another.
Business owners ask me, then, “How big do I have to be to land a big account with a big customer?” or “How much do I have to grow first?” The answer, of course, is “That depends.”
In theory, a company of one can do big business with big companies. I know dozens if not hundreds of such solopreneurs, and so do you. Here are some common businesses in which a solopreneur can sell big contracts all alone or with a small team, such as a virtual admin, some outsourced bookkeeping, and pay-as-you go graphic design and legal:
- sales training
- management consulting, plus a wide variety of specialties
- board development
- strategic planning or financial planning
- executive coaching
- group or team facilitation
- motivational speaking
- web design
- lead generation
- legal specialties
Countless more esoteric possibilities are out there as well.
A common start-up method for a solopreneur is to resign or retire from a large employer and set up their own company to provide the same service, to the same company, that they once provided as an employee. If the solopreneur is clever and motivated, that can lead to additional accounts before long. I’ve had several clients who have started out in just that way.
What does it depend on, then? If you can deliver your service by yourself to a big company, then you are big enough to sell to one. Or, if you have ready access to independent contractors or temporary employees who can help you deliver when you need them, at a level of quality that meets your standards, then you are big enough. You don’t have to have employees sitting around waiting for the next opportunity.
If you sell a product that is manufactured elsewhere and delivered by someone else, you can make a big sale to a big company as long as your manufacturer has the capacity. Of course when products are involved, capital outlay becomes a bigger concern. But the actual practice remains the same.
As far as the team approach, solopreneurs create their own teams. As a solopreneur, you can join a mastermind group or create your own. Recruit a cabinet. Get your banker on board and maybe a talent acquisition partner. There’s no rule about your team being made up of employees!
I’m not really talking about “scaling up,” which often implies a kind of geometric growth that’s more common in companies that start out with a technology product or solution with a plan to raise capital and grow really fast. “Scale” suggests money, speed, risk–companies looking to scale fast can be Whale Hunters, too–but they are not the ones I’m talking about today.
No, I am talking about simple economies of scale that even a very small company can begin to achieve, such as reduction in the cost of sale and improvement of the profit margin. Even the smallest of companies can achieve these outcomes with a Whale Hunting approach.
The Whale Hunters is introducing a new online program for owners of very small companies who want to learn how to do business with bigger companies. We know that if you are in that group, you may be spending more time marketing and selling–actually keeping your pipeline full–than you spend getting paid to deliver your services. That’s an exhausting, demoralizing way to work.
The thing is, big companies are not just bigger. They are different in a whole lot of ways from smaller companies, and there’s a lot you have to learn and understand before you can sell to them successfully. Everything from which companies are right for you, to how would you find the right people to talk to, how do you get in the door, how would you even craft an offer for a bigger deal, and so on.
If you’d like to know more, just click on this link.