Those of us who follow tech companies like others follow sports heard the news that Google darling and employee number 20, Marissa Mayer, exercised her free-agent option and is now playing the CEO position for Team Yahoo. Once an industry leader, Yahoo has lost its way the past decade, and many are saying that Mayer must do a Steve Jobs-like turnaround if she’s to pull Yahoo out of its death spiral.
In the documentary, Welcome to Macintosh, former Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki describes the environment at the company during the dark days before the return of Steve Jobs in 1997, when Apple was in the position Yahoo finds itself:
When you have great sales, everybody gets along, life is good everybody’s a visionary. When sales sucks, everything sucks.
He goes on to describe a Guy Kawasaki law: Sales Fixes Everything.
You may not be the CEO of a multi-million dollar company concerned about your stock tanking. You might be a business owner worried about how you’re going to make payroll. Or a freelancer who doesn’t know if you’ll have enough to pay this month’s mortgage. There are a host of problems that can derail a company, but when you’re struggling with poor cash flow—or no cash flow—sales fixes everything.
What will you do to get more sales? Yahoo’s problems run deep and require complex solutions. Yours may be as simple as cold-calling or knocking on some doors. Will you do what’s needed to “fix” things? Step outside your comfort zone? Invest in training to acquire the skills you lack?
According to Peter Drucker, the purpose of business is to create a customer. You may have started your business because you were a good designer, mechanic, or accountant. But now one of your two primary functions is marketing.
What will you do today to “create a customer”?