Racquel was finally convinced that now was the right time for her to package her banana bread and try to market it commercially. If she had received J$100 every time she had heard, “Why don’t you sell this in the supermarkets? It tastes great!” she would be a wealthy woman today.
Apart from the fact that she was curious to know if her grand-aunt’s tasty recipe could make her some money, she knew that she needed to have a Plan B for creating income. Her employer’s business was struggling and she knew that it was only a matter of time before he started laying off staff.
Racquel had already registered a business name with the Companies Office and had hired a graphic artist to design a logo. She had made a list of potential outlets and had some ideas on how to market her product on social media. There was just one thing stopping her from proceeding – she was scared.
An accountant by profession, Racquel was talented at managing numbers, but terrified at meeting new people. The idea of having to make cold calls to distribute her treat left her with a feeling of dread. There was no way she could succeed in business, Racquel thought, as she was just too shy to sell.
What do you have to lose?
Despite knowing that she had a superior product that was in demand, Racquel couldn’t get over her apprehension that she would be rejected in her attempts to market her offering. Many prospective entrepreneurs face a similar fear, which prevents them from carrying out their income-earning ideas.
If you are a ‘want-trepreneur’, where you have an idea to generate extra cash, but trepidation about the possible results of your efforts are hindering you from getting started, try to identify all your concerns. Write them down so that you can see what your mind is telling you will go wrong.
One major worry that you might encounter is that people will say ‘no’ to your product or service. Will prospective customers think less of you for trying to make a sale? Will they call the police to eject you from their premises? Will you get sick or even die if people refuse your offering? Obviously not!
If you really think about it, all that you risk by trying to market your product or service is that someone may not be interested. When you shop at the supermarket, you pass by hundreds of goods that you never put in your trolley; yet they are on the shelves, indicating that many other people want them.
What do you stand to gain?
As you analyse your concerns, you may also recognise that your sales skills are weak and think that your inability to speak confidently about your offerings will jeopardise your marketing attempts. In addition, you may be worried that you won’t have enough time to concentrate on your sales project.
While these may be legitimate challenges, they can be overcome if you think about what you want to accomplish by embarking on your entrepreneurial journey. Make a list of the positive effects that you could reap if your sales efforts were actually successful. How would your life be improved?
You could earn extra income, satisfy a long-held desire to own a business, break free of a bad work situation, or supply a much-needed product or service to grateful customers. Are the benefits of taking the entrepreneurial plunge bigger than your fears? Are they worth the time and effort that’s required?
You have to identify reasons that are strong enough to encourage you to go ahead with your sales efforts, despite your initial fears and limitations. If you are convinced that success in your endeavour will give you what’s missing in your life, you will be motivated to overcome all your excuses.
How can you be bold?
Whether you are painfully shy, afraid of rejection or unsure of your marketing ability, you can still find ways to accomplish your entrepreneurial aspirations. The key is to find practical and innovative ways to deal with the problems that can potentially limit your success.
For example, if you dislike talking to people you don’t know, try to engage your customer in a simple conversation before you start promoting your offering. Compliment persons on things you genuinely like about their enterprises, or find an area of commonality to discuss, such as your children.
If you are intimidated by the thought of being rejected, picture the person in front of you in a hilarious get-up such as a clown’s wig. Let this image convince you that your prospect will be friendly and kind. Even if the answer is no, how can you be hurt when you got turned down by a funny character?
To boost your confidence in your offering, test it out with a sample of your target customers who can give you honest feedback before you proceed. Highlight how your product or service can benefit the end users and make profit for retailers, and be bold in letting the world know what you have to offer.