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CEO Lyndon Brathwaite working on the laptop
4 min read

18 Months and TTD$349K In Opportunities Later

When I first started this journey eighteen months ago I knew it would have been a shot in the wind. I mean, who leaves a good-paying job to start a full time consulting business with no back end history, no base of clients to start with, little capital, etc. etc. etc. The one thing I had was a drive to try something different and a fear that if I didn't at least attempt it, I would miss that opportunity and be stuck in the "I wonder if" zone.
What I did before leaving though was some good research/data collected by myself that the consulting industry in Trinidad & Tobago was worth millions of dollars at least in opportunities. That for me at the time was enough to make a push to actually figuring out how to attract, engage and close some of those opportunities.
Fast forward, eighteen months and a crazy roller coaster of emotion, trial and error later. When looking back at the numbers I'm surprised to see that I was able to identify TTD$349K in business opportunities.
Here are a few things I've learned broken into a few categories;
  • Knowing who my customers were - (Winning TTD$110K)
  • Develop a daily routine/strategy
  • Be prepared to lose - (Losing TTD$156K)
  • There Is Still Opportunity - (TTD$83K still in the pipe)
  • Being Steadfast

Knowing who my customers were - (Winning TTD$110K)

This for me was a big plus when I started because it kept me from wasting time trying to attract everyone.
In most instances when I ask entrepreneurs about their target market, the responses are a bit broad. i.e. they use a category, but that category is still not clearly defined. For me, I knew I needed to focus my attention on specific companies and specific people within those companies.
If I'm looking at offering sales training, I'll need to know of companies that have sales teams. However, if it's consultative sales training then I'll be looking at companies that sell specific service/solutions that require a more consultative approach.
As simple as this sounds, it was important for me to really keep in mind as I didn't want to get into the "throwing mud on the wall approach" as this would mean working harder and not smarter which usually brings low results.
If it's not written it can't be managed - Lyndon Brathwaite


Develop a daily routine/strategy

Entrepreneurship can get really hard and really dirty sometimes, but it's all part of the journey. Whether full time or side hustle, you have to be committed to getting up every day and looking for new business, follow up on quotes, create new connections, etc. and be consistent with that approach as you develop your business.
A big contributor to my focus was the plan that I initially mapped out before I left my 8-to-4 and the data analysis I did on the potential size of the market. Developing a daily routine to invest time in different parts of your business is important because the business would not grow itself. I wrote every idea, plan or strategy down. if I spoke to someone casually and an idea came out of it, I wrote it down with a timeline, action item and a potential outcome.
For persons that are part-time, try dedicating at least two hours daily on your business and for those of us full-time, go all in.

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Be prepared to lose - (Losing - TTD$156K)

Earlier I mentioned that a large percentage of my success was knowing who my customers were which was is correct. However, even knowing who those customers were, didn't mean that I won each opportunity. In fact, I lost more than I won if you looked at the numbers.
Be prepared to take a loss but always have or more business to go after - Lyndon Brathwaite
So far I've lost TTD$156K in business which makes up approximately 44% of my total opportunities this far. Some of these losses were tragic as I really counted on them to close but they didn't which taught me a really good lesson, "Be prepared to take a loss but always have more business to go after".
I'll also admit that there were times I fell victim to the same thing I teach sales reps/entrepreneurs not to do which is "believing a deal is closed before it actually is". There were instances I really felt confident that those opportunities were going to close only to get disappointed and heartbroken when they didn't. I'll even say that I was desperate for them to close because I needed the money. Quite frankly, deals don't close because of those reasons. They close because you show/add value in solving a problem or adding to a specific direction.
This was a humbling experience for me and one that I'll carry and share with any fellow entrepreneurs and sales professionals moving forward. One last thing I'll say here is, always ask the customer why you lost as it's one of the best ways to learn and grow.
It's your duty to get better - Lyndon Brathwaite


There is still Opportunity - (TTD$83K in the pipe)

What keeps me driven is the ability to get better and because of my sports background, years in the corporate space and personal life lessons. I know that wins and losses are just part of every successful journey.
Because of that, I've not become despondent, I'm constantly learning and changing my approach to business, I've become a sponge to my own industry as there is so much to learn. Plus, I've been studying other industries as well and figuring out how they can add to my growth and my service offerings so that I can be of a greater impact to my customers.
I believe this is why I'm sitting on approximately TTD$83K in potential opportunities that I have to work on closing. This is why I'm booking discovery meetings no less than three times per week, this why I'm strengthening my outbound sales skills but adopting and growing my inbound sales skills as well. To become a success you cannot give up, you have to keep pressing and putting that work in. But, you have to consistently focus on getting better.


Be Steadfast

We all have specific values we live by and those most likely filter into the values of our businesses. Your values must become your daily mantra and if you find yourself struggling with them then they are possibly not strong enough.
My main mantra is CHANGE, CREATE, DIFFERENCE, ACHIEVE which means; Change your routine, Create opportunities for yourself, make a Difference for yourself/others and Achieve your goals.
From the first aspect which is change, I know that change is not always quick but you have to be committed to change. Entrepreneurship can mean different things to many different people but for me, it's my end game. It's my strategy for creating new avenues for myself to be of greater impact to more people. It's also one of my strategies for financial freedom.
But I have to be committed, I have to be focused, I have to stay driven regardless of the challenges and setbacks and I have to GROW as a person.

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Founder | Lead Consultant | Father