Bullets Before Cannonballs!

Taking smaller calculated risks before going “all-in”

March 7, 2022

Taking smaller calculated risks before going “all-in”

I’ve always been a fan of the “crawl….walk….run” approach to new ideas and innovations. Anyone who has worked with me at some point has probably added it to their list of “Steve-ism’s” which are quite plentiful. It’s all good though! Testing new ideas or initiatives is almost always a better approach than going “all-in” and learning that the idea isn’t truly viable or the timing wasn’t right.  Jim Collins addresses this in “Great By Choice” where he introduces the concept of firing “bullets before cannonballs”. The idea here is to figure out what works by taking low cost, low risk shots and calibrating before concentrating your resources and risk on a big bet. 


This concept seems like a no-brainer to me but I’ve watched many an entrepreneur or CEO go all-in when it comes to hiring someone to lead the sales efforts of their growing business….only to watch that cannonball painfully wasted. Hiring your first sales leader comes with a lot of risk. If you hire someone with skill and experience, they won’t come cheap. If you hire someone a little greener, they may be more affordable but they are going to make mistakes as they learn. You can count on it! Both approaches create a significant amount of risk to your finances and your brand. However, most business leaders don’t realize they have another option.


It is absolutely possible to fire bullets with your sales strategy before you unleash the cannonball and you can do that by hiring an experienced, highly skilled sales professional on a part-time basis. There are a lot of those people out there, especially now…in the midst of the Great Resignation. The trick is to find the best fit for your business and culture. That’s where my team at Altezza can help. We have a growing, curated team of these people who are gifted and ready to serve growing businesses as they seek to become more sophisticated and successful with their sales strategy. They will help you hit the accelerator on revenue growth but with much less risk and expense than hiring a new FTE. And, because of their many years of experience, you won’t deal with the mistakes that naturally come with learning on the job. As they help you grow, you can test new concepts, evaluate and refine your marketing and lead generation strategies and calibrate brand messaging so that, when the time comes to unleash that cannonball, you know EXACTLY where to aim it. At that point, we can step aside as you hire that perfect full-time sales professional or we can increase the engagement of our team….your choice….the right move at the right time!


Are you losing money because you don’t effectively steward all the sales leads that are coming your way? Does managing your sales efforts distract you from other activities that will truly scale your business? If your answer to either question is YES, you are at the point where it’s time to get serious about trusting someone else. My advice, however, is to save the cannonball. Whether you work with my team or not, I highly encourage you to fire a few bullets first. Conserve your gunpowder while you calibrate your aim and zero in on your targets. You will learn so much in the process and, you will have a lot more ammunition available for the growth battles ahead. 


Do you want to learn more about how Altezza can help you save your cannonballs? Let’s have a conversation today!

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