The sales expert who’s grown up in a family of entrepreneurs shares her top tips
Knowing your audience, listening to them and ensuring your company is solving their pains is key for any entrepreneur. But doing it right isn’t always easy and we see it as an important part of what we do at SE Forum, to help entrepreneurs get it right. To provide the best help, we use coaches like Sanna Koritz who’s been supporting our Care of Business Impact entrepreneurs with their sales strategies, and we caught up with her to find out more and get some top tips for entrepreneurs starting out or looking to scale.
Hi Sanna, tell us a bit about yourself and why you’re doing what you’re doing!
Entrepreneurship and development are my two passions, and to me, they go hand in hand. Entrepreneurship is immensely important both for society as a whole and for one’s personal development. Through my work, I’m able to work towards positive development and viable businesses. I help entrepreneurs expand their success through business strategy coaching, online courses and workshops.
I’ve worked with professional and personal development for more than 25 years. I started my first company 12 years ago and have since started and grown several other businesses.
Entrepreneurship is almost part of my DNA – it goes back several generations in my family. Growing up with parents who ran multiple businesses has given me a great understanding of the daily life of the entrepreneur, of the importance of learning from setbacks, and to always challenge yourself to develop and improve!
What kind of support do you provide for entrepreneurs you help? What do they normally need help with?
Very often, it’s about finding clarity on what you want to achieve – and how to do it in a way that’s efficient and helps you stay motivated.
It can also be about finding what is causing a certain problem or challenge, like why your sales aren’t as good as you’d like, or why you’re lacking motivation. By locating the source of your problems, you can find long-term solutions that really work, rather than using short-term fixes.
As a coach, I work directly with founders and owners and give tailored advice. I also develop online courses where entrepreneurs can work with their challenges and dreams on their own. And I give lectures and workshops where I talk about things like the importance of building value-based companies and how you go about doing that.
During your years in the industry, how has entrepreneurship changed? And can you see differences between different parts of the world you’ve worked in?
The digital development has of course had an enormous impact. Today, we can do business on a global scale with a relatively small investment. This has changed everything – from market strategies, to business models and pricing.
I also believe that there is a change in attitude amongst the younger generations. Entrepreneurship is increasingly common and with that, the barriers – psychological and practical – to starting your own business are lowered. Running your own business means a lot of hard work – but also freedom and an enormous opportunity to grow as a person. I think that’s something that speaks to the young generation especially.
Sweden still has a relatively low level of entrepreneurship and despite there being a lot of support available – information, programmes, different networks and grants – running your own business can seem riskier than being comfortably employed.
In the Balkans, where I’ve worked for many years, the situation is the opposite. The social safety systems basically don’t exist – instead your have to rely on your family and your network. Maybe that is why entrepreneurship is viewed as something more normal and why the road from idea to action is shorter. You try things out, test to see if things work, you start over or change if needed.
When it comes to sales and selling, what are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs do?
One mistake is thinking too broadly, both when it comes to your offer as well as your target audience. That causes you to be unclear and inefficient – instead of focusing on the things that will generate results, you spread yourself too thin. Instead of targeting your messages, your communication is vague and too general.
Being too insistent or not listening is another thing. Entering the sales situation with a singular focus on the transaction, when it’s really about getting to know each other. In order to find out what needs your customer has, and whether you can help, you need to ask questions and listen.
Do you see any specific trends within entrepreneurship in general, or sales in particular?
I think we’ll increasingly be seeing businesses with heart and meaning. Trust and good relationships are increasingly important for customers; the social good is an increasing advantage. The companies of the future will combine customer satisfaction with sustainable development.
Finally, what are your top tips for entrepreneurs starting out?
- Be super clear about the business concept – and consider scaling from the very beginning!
- Put time and effort on the development of the company – and be prepared to change when needed!
- Get help with the things you’re not an expert in – do what you do best and enjoy the most!
Photo credit: sannakoritz.com