Small Business Opportunities: Key Terms & Tips


Getting new customers is a critical task for any business owner.

Building a company from zero means managing dozens of emails and calls in a given day, and what sometimes looks like a small task can easily turn into several hours worth of work.

But it’s not just time and money at stake – it’s your energy and creativity as a business owner. Having a smart, efficient workflow for connecting to and following up with your potential customers will help you get new business, without burning you out.

Here are a few key terms and tips to help you stay connected to your potential customers, and how you can use ONE UP to help you do it.

LEAD – A person or company who’s shown interest or could potentially use one of your products or services. They might have filled out a form online, come into your store, subscribed to a blog, or shared their contact information in exchange for a coupon.

In ONE UP you can easily add a new contact or import a list.

Terry's Boards - An example of a lead from ONE UP's CRM / Opportunities module

OPPORTUNITY – once you’ve talked w/someone about using your product or service and they’re interested, it’s time to create an opportunity. Usually you’ll include notes about them, what they’re interested in purchasing, and how much the deal  relationship might be worth.

In ONE UP, open a lead, and then click on “New Opportunity.”
Terry's Boards - An example of an opportunity in ONE UP's Small Business CRM

TASK – connected to an opportunity, a task is an action that’s used to move along an opportunity from a “maybe” to a “yes.” It could be be sending a proposal or quote, following up with more information by email, or simply a reminder to call your potential customer in a few weeks.

In ONE UP, click on “New Task for Opportunity – in this case, doing a price comparison to online T-shirt shops for Terry.

Terry's Boards - An example of a task in ONE UP's Small Business CRM

QUOTE (or proposal) A quote is an offer to your potential customer. It should include information on the product or service they’re interested in, and pricing. In ONE UP, once a quote is accepted you can easily convert it into an invoice or sales order.

In ONE UP, click on “New Quote” – once you’ve added the product or service, you’ll be able to download it as a .PDF, email it directly to Terry, or print it. If Terry accepts it, simply convert it to an invoice with one click and send to him for payment.

Terry's Boards - An example of a quote / proposal in ONE UP's CRM

EXPECTED CLOSING DATE the date that you believe a potential customer will make a decision by. In ONE UP, you can view opportunities by date, which it makes it easier to follow up on potential sales at the right time.

PROBABILITY on a scale of 0 – 100%, how likely you think someone is to agree to buy your product / service. You can also use this to prioritize your efforts….e.g. start by viewing / following up on opportunities that are 50% or higher.

STAGE similar to closing date + probability, stage is another way to view your potential customers. You’ll find that they are often in different stages, some need you to check back in next month, others need more information or to see a demo, and others want to quickly get to the stage where they can look at a quote or proposal.

  • 1ST CONTACT – at this stage, you haven’t yet discussed products & services
  • 1ST APPOINTMENT – you’ve met, and discussed your product/service
  • QUOTE – your potential customer is ready to see pricing & get started
  • PAYMENT – your contact has agreed to become a customer, and needs to submit payment to get started

STATUSindicates where your customer is at in the buying cycle

  • OPEN – still discussing, more actions / tasks needed
  • PENDING – you’re expecting the potential customer to make a decision soon
  • WON – you’ve made a sale!
  • LOST – the customer or potential customer decided against the purchase

* Each of these can be used for follow-up, for example, you might set a task for yourself to look at lost opportunities in 2 months, and follow up to see how those (potential) customers are doing.

VALUE PROPOSITIONat its most basic, a value proposition is simply what you provide to customers that makes their life easier. It can be worded in different ways for different people, but your product and/or service should have a key value proposition….“why” your potential customer might choose you.

A good value proposition tells people what will happen if they choose you, and often includes a customer testimonial and/or “social proof,” like the $261,895,405 number mentioned below. 

Value Proposition - an example from Bidsketch

PAIN POINTrelated to a value proposition, a pain point is a big problem that your potential client has. If you can identify a pain point, and clearly state how your product/service will solve it, you’ll be able to close more sales.

PIPELINE – consists of active leads and opportunities. You will want to define a healthy pipeline, and find a way to visually represent it. For example, if you find that only about 5% of leads that you talk to become customers, you’ll want to make sure you have a high enough number of leads that lead to enough opportunities that become customers, etc.

MARGIN The difference between a product or service’s selling price and the cost of production.

MARK-UPThe amount added to the cost price of goods to cover overhead and profit.

COLD CALL / EMAILthis is an outreach to someone that hasn’t heard from you before and that you haven’t had any contact with. In general, the response & conversion rate for this approach is low, but if you combine it with other efforts, it can be effective.

REFERRAL – the easiest way to get a new customer is actually to have your current ones recommend someone. This is called a referral, and while there are a lot of ways to structure this, anything that makes this easy is good for your business. It can be a special discount code, a landing page on your website that makes it simple, or a quick form that your customer can fill out to email their friends.



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