Are you scratching your head and wondering what's the next step to help your business take off? Kenneth Krogue, president of InsideSales.com offers 12 tips to help companies succeed. Based in Provo, InsideSales.com develops tools to help companies gain revenue. Related article: Entrepreneurs can salvage money by living frugally, according to Under 30 CEO
As president of InsideSales, Krogue improves sales for the company by finding leads.
"If you have leads, the rest seems to take care of yourself. My job is to build leads, so the sales guys can close them. In fact it's all about the leads. If there's leads the sales people can figure out how to close them. If there's no leads they'll start trying to find someone to sell to."
When there's a problem in the company, Krogue reccomends four tasks to analyze:
1. Ask why this is happening
2. Find data and study it
3. Test the solution and keep testing until you find something that works.
4. "Then when it works we throw all of our weight behind it, but we don't throw our weight behind it until we know it's going to work," he said. "And that little model - it just works every time for us."
"We really believe in over communication," he said.
For the past seven or eight years, the company has held weekly management team and all-employee meetings. This helps unify the company.
Krogue said the meetings align everyone to see the same vision.
"It's been really fun because we know we can count on them [employees]" Krogue said. "Dave [Elkington], the CEO, gets up after each month is over and we actually share all the numbers with all the employees."
When starting a business, Krogue visualizes a tree.
As a tree starts to grow it has many roots trying to find water. But as soon as it finds water it focuses on building a tree trunk.
"Diversify until you find something that brings in the cash flow. That's your water," he said.
"Then focus like crazy and say no to things until you've hit critical mass and can sustain yourself well and grow well. Then you can branch out into other things. But don't violate the law of focus. Learn how to say no. That's almost as important as saying yes."
Krogue recommends using LinkedIn, which is his favorite networking tool.
Thinking outside of the box with networking is also important.
"For some reason, whenever there's something that I need to learn I find someone who's good at it or I find a good book to read, one of the two."
Years ago, Krogue listened to author and keynote speaker, Dennis Waitley. After, Krogue decided to write him a letter, and to this day they still keep in touch.
"Times when people fail, that are entrepreneurs, is when they try to start something up that has no trend, that has no market need yet," Krogue said.
"They have to go build the need by themselves and that is very expensive and takes a lot of time."
Testing before investing is a key to success for Krogue.
"That's the other big formula for failure is to throw a lot of money at something you're not sure if it's going to work."
Google is a huge help, for those that are starting a business or wanting to try new ideas, Krogue said.
"The first place that I go is Google trends - that's a little product that most people don't know about. I type in keywords that have to deal with the kind of business that I want to go into, and I see if there's a trend that's developed. What Google trends does is it shows you what that keyword has been doing over the last 5 or 10 years. It's a way to do free research to see if your market is even viable or not."
A great way to seek out top competitors is through Google. Typing keywords into Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tool Box will help people find competitors that are doing well.
"I learn from them, watch what they do and live by their mouth a little bit," he said. It can "get my business started in an area where I know I can support myself."
Krogue didn't become president of InsideSales overnight. He previously worked at FranklinCovey as director of inside sales. Later he co-founded UCN, which became inContact, a $210 million online company.
"Every new opportunity, if you do it well, will help you move up to a new level," he said. "The thing I've learned is it's really hard to skip a few levels. It's really important to take it as it comes and as fast as you can."
"If we grow the people, we will grow the business. So we invest a lot in training and adding experience to help the people grow faster than they would normally."
When communicating with employees, make sure they know what they are to do, Krogue said. Another tip is to measure performance and make the measurement visible.
"If the employees realize that we're investing in them, then they're pretty excited about that, and it goes a long way," he said.
Let people know you appreciate them and are interested in learning from them.
"We don't have time to go to the school of hard knocks," he said.
Krogue suggests finding mentors through companies, books and networking.
"The key is to find someone who will not only teach you but cares about helping and is willing to be there with you."
Innovation is important, but also learning from others can save time and money.
"We model ourselves after really successful institutes rather than trying to reinvent the wheel ourselves every time," Krogue said.
InsideSales observes companies like Disney, Salesforce.com, Omniture and FranklinCovey.
"We always believe in finding mentors - finding people that are better at it then we are, who can teach us what to do," Krogue said.