D-Day: 1 month to make a sale or ditch my dream…

So my only (career) goal in life has been to run my own business. 

I think that sentence sums up a lot of ‘entrepreneurs’ and their mindset. But everything I have done over the last 5 years has specifically led me to this moment, so this is a big deal to me. Since leaving school I have started a couple of small businesses that crashed and burned in a very small way (fortunately).

So i thought of ways to increase and speed up my chances of success. After all, I am going to end up running my own business anyway, i just need to get to the stage where I have the skills to run a business. So I enrolled at a University on a course that seemed to tick every box for what I wanted, learn about entrepreneurs and small business, meet entrepreneurs, have the chance to pitch for funding to start a business and get business support from lecturers.

I drank the koolaid. The after-taste was bitter… After those 3 years I realized that, had I started the business I wanted to start (the current one) that I would have learned more than I did at school, even if it had failed several times. I would also be 3 years ahead of where I am now. Hindsight sucks. But whilst there I did get to start a business (which had very marginal success).

That brings me to now.. I am starting a business selling renewable energy technology to homeowners. It’s a competitive market, but it’s one I am passionate about and one I feel I can make a real difference to. I have signed up almost every supplier I need. I had leaps of joy today as I learned my business bank account and most importantly my business overdraft had been granted. This will give me cashflow to fulfil any sales I can make. I even won a very small amount of grant money £1500 and a mentor. My mentor has been incredibly helpful and helped me zoom ahead with strategy and planning.

So I have pretty much ticked every cliche of a startup…

But now I am in a sticky situation. You see I have just finished University, I now have a large overdraft to pay (£2,000) plus a business loan for a failed business (£2,000) and living expenses which total upto about £1,000 per month.

I have 3 options:

  1. I get a job and pay those bills
  2. I start a business, sell product and pay those bills
  3. I go bankrupt

Now 3 just isn’t an option, 2 is my ideal but 1 is a backup. I have got myself a junior sales job earning £25,000 per year in London at a Tech business. This is my Plan B and I have had to hedge my bets, so in reality if I fall on my arse I have a rather soft pillow to break my fall.

Back to the title of the post. It’s D-Day.

I have 5 prospect leads lined up fully qualified and ready to get their brains sold-out, infact one is booked for tomorrow.

But now I am anxious, full of nerves and self-doubt.

If I can’t pull this off and make a sale within the next one-month I can’t afford to do anything but shut the business down and take the job. I am not the best salesperson anyway and I am operating in a very competitive market.

So here is hoping that I can make that sale (or two) and turn the secure job down, make myself a living and finally build the business I have dreamed of.

I wish the best of luck to anyone else starting a business, the best advice I can give is:

  1. Get the sales in as quickly as possible
  2. Just do it


  • Don’t be nervous about the sales presentation tomorrow. You need to accept that you are going to make a shed load of mistakes and that it is just a dry run for the other clients you will present to. Remember, you’re the expert, you have all the answers and you have the passion – so let it shine through in your presentation. And over the next few weeks you will generate further sales opportunities. Being London-based you’ll walk into a job so as you said you have a soft cushion to land on. It sounds very exciting – best of luck.

  • dude, i so get this. except this is about the 10th business i’ve started, and this time, i’m 35, and have 3 kids to provide for. fickity fick.

    i wanna know too, how’d you go????

  • Thanks for the support guys it means a lot!

    On the whole it went quite well! although I didn’t walk away with a close it does seem I am in a good position to get one, he was showing all the buying signals.

    I did a reflection of my performance (like I do after all sales/ presentations/ important moments) and this is what I discovered:

    Good Points:

    + Built good Rapport

    + Had the best Price

    + He spoke 70% of the time

    + I demonstrated good knowledge

    + I related benefits to his needs

    + I answered all Questions

    + I handled minor objections well

    + Created a timeframe to follow up

    Bad Points:

    – The meeting became disorganised

    – I didn’t keep the meeting on track and direct conversation enough

    – Didn’t differentiate my business enough

    – Bent the truth about how long we had been trading

    – Bashed the competition (although they had lied so I felt compelled to correct them)

    – Didn’t Close the sale

    Actions to be ready for next time:

    + Have more interchangeable options

    + Have clearer sales structure and follow it

    + Differentiate my business more

    + Close the sale

    The reason I say I believe I am in a good position to close, is because I feel we built good trust and rapport which came through when he was talking about what other installers/ sales people had told him and was asking my opinion. I also had the best price and value proposition of his previous quoters; some were quoting him twice as much as I was, but my industry is renowned for sharks!!!

    The only objection I have problems handling is the cost, I can’t go much lower and I know competitors offer finance. I can’t currently do this as the finance companies need a trading history of 1-2years+ which I obviously can’t provide. This particular person also has a daughters’ wedding coming up, so he is quite unsure about his financial situation at the moment. I am hoping I can close this sale though as he is a lovely guy and I know I can help him a lot, I just hope I have done enough to make him realise this.

    I am 23 and this is my first proper business; one that could give me a good income initially and become very scalable very quickly. Which is why I am quite anxious about getting this to work, I don’t want to lose momentum. I have another sales visit next week so I feel quite positive after this meeting but will just have to see. My window of opportunity is fast approaching!

    Really my main obstacle is making sales and generating income as everything else is in place. Thanks for the support guys I guess this post (the main one) has all stemmed from limited self belief, something I haven’t experienced for quite a while, I think its just a symptom of working my fingers to the bone over the last few months to get everything in place as well as work a job and Uni. I definitely would struggle to do this with kids!

    • Dayumm I wished I’d started selling at 23 instead of 32. I’m 40 and I still suck at it.

      Good for you for starting early, I wish more people are exposed to sales at a young age as its a valuable life-long skill.

  • Good work!

    At 23 you are the perfect age to do this. In 10 years you could be on your 2nd or 3rd business, or failed a couple of times and nail the third. Or this is the one that takes you right through.

    At the moment that sick feeling you have at the bottom of your belly is what most people go through as a business owner. Between now and closing a deal you may experience the “darkest hour before dawn” a few times. In a few years you will cherish these moments as no school can come close to giving you this kind of education.

    You seem smart and analytical, you self review and are honest.

    The key is knowing when to fold and when to play your hand again without giving up to early. This is a very hard one to call, even for seasoned vets.

    Ultimately, what is the worst that can happen? You fail, soft land back into employment and return again at 25. Yes 25, still a baby in the game 🙂

    You have everything to play for. Get all your mistakes out the way early, have as many little failures as you can in quick succession.

    Have no fear and suck up as much experience as possible.

    I want to get a full report in 4 weeks 🙂

    • From OP:

      Haha thanks for that last comment!

      I am hoping to fit in about 20 sales meetings in over the next 2-3 weeks. As all these sales leads are qualified and relatively warm, I am confident I will convert one to a paid sale.

      I won’t quit until I have made every sales visit (20-30) otherwise I feel I would be wasting the opportunity. Anyway If I can’t convert approx. 1 in 15 it will cost too much to build a sustainable business with.

      The plan is to build a reasonable revenue stream that will sustain my living costs and then start employing and training sales people to take give me more time to work on the business and grow it strategically. First things first, I need to get the first few sales under my belt.

      Anyway I am immensely appreciative of this forum as I have found it very cathartic and a great release valve to let me continue as normal without the pressure and baggage. Its also easier to be objective about my actions and performance when I can read back on it.

      I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t enjoy this. I absolutely do and I love what I’m doing, this is the only thing I want to do and I find the rest of the business is so effortless. But to me, sales is the most important area to focus on at the moment, which is where my reservations and stress are coming from.

      Anyway I hope all your businesses are doing great I’d love to read more about the happenings with you guys.

      You will definitely get your full report in 4 weeks!

      Many Thanks


  • You are welcome op. If you want more feedback on other stuff keep posting on this thread. I check in regular here and I am sure others will support you to.

    I look forward to your report in 4 weeks 😉

    Good luck. The clock is ticking. Go get em 😉

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