Opening and growing a new start-up business is a significant challenge for anyone. The odds are stacked against you as new entrepreneur from the very beginning. The obstacles to success are formidable – intense competition, employees, taxes, government regulation, a fickle marketplace, and a to-do list the length of your arm. It’s no wonder that most small business owners give up on realizing their dream after a few years.
However, the common obstacle that leads to failure is a lack of understanding and implementation of marketing.
The typical small business owner has big dreams and aspirations to turn their company into a profit producing machine so they can enjoy a prosperous lifestyle. They see others launch a successful business in their industry and presume it must be easy to do. The entrepreneurial allure soon becomes irresistible and before they know it, they own business with all the trials, tribulations, and challenges that come with it.
It doesn’t take long before the headaches kick in and they are overworked, broke and questioning the intelligence of their decision.
The irony of the situation is that they possess the technical skills and knowledge to make money in the business but lack essential management skills to really become successful. Typically, a critical area that is most often lacking in their business skill set is the fundamentals of how to market their business.
When an entrepreneur lacks the foundation principles in marketing knowledge and skills the business is not long for this world. Marketing is a vital part of every business, no matter what the size, but is treated like a swarm of mosquitoes at a picnic.
Consider this: What other part of your business has a greater impact on the success of a business than an effective marketing program? Accounting… production… shipping…human resources?
Without marketing none of these internal departments would even need to exist. Marketing is the engine that drives a business by creating the environment and conditions to sell your product or service and make money. It’s that important.
Why then do most small business owners disregard marketing and lead their venture down the road to certain failure. The answer is rather simple and is rooted in three key reasons:
3. Lack of Commitment
Let’s examine all three.
You may think that ignorance is a cruel word to apply to a topic on business failure. Yet, time and time again, it boils down to one undeniable fact – most entrepreneurs don’t have a clue how to effectively market their business.
Many do have a basic awareness that they need to market in some fashion to gain attention to attract business. However, they don’t know what they need to do to market effectively and achieve satisfactory results. A common misconception is that they can simply print some business cards, pass out a few sales flyers, and place an ad in the local yellow pages and customers or clients will be breaking down the doors to spend money. Not very likely to happen.
These entrepreneurs are not stupid or inept; they are merely without the necessary knowledge base and skill set required to market effectively. Being ignorant of the fundamentals of marketing is an expensive position to be in and eventually leads to a great deal of wasted time, money, and opportunity.
Investing in a marketing program, attending a seminar or a reading a book written by a marketing expert is a good place to start your marketing education. Just by understanding the most basic marketing fundamentals will pay huge dividends in the end.
Fear is a huge part of why small businesses fail to market. Along with not knowing how, being afraid of the consequences of marketing scares many people into doing nothing. This “marketing paralysis” has killed many well intended businesses that have a potentially great product or service.
It’s safe to say that every new entrepreneur has heard the horror stories from other businesses about how they spent $2,000 on placing newspaper ads and did not receive a single response. This frightens the new entrepreneur and fortifies the unhealthy attitude that spending money on marketing is too big of a risk to take. Big mistake.
The fact is, most marketing does not work as expected. But often the expectations are set too high by the entrepreneur and they missed target with the wrong message. This is not a reason to quit or avoid marketing all together. Rather, it presents a unique opportunity to learn from your mistakes and adjust your strategies and tactics that eventually will produce sales.
Other skittish entrepreneurs view marketing as an expense that they just can’t afford. They are afraid that their marketing efforts will ultimately be a wasted of valuable cash flow that they will never see again. This attitude is rooted in a scarcity mentality that hinders their thinking. They never seem to have enough money to invest in marketing and justify it with other priorities that they believe are more important. Again, what can be more important that doing the things that attract buyers to your business?
Another big intimidating fear is the fear of rejection. Everyone has to deal with this fear many times throughout their business life. What if nobody wants your product you are marketing? What if they say no to your offer? What if they believe the competitors are better or cheaper?
Big deal…adjust your message, or your offer, or find better target market! Getting paralyze just because you fail a couple of times is not a reason to abandon your dreams!
Every entrepreneur must develop some thick skin and not take rejection too personally. Just remember there is someone else out there that needs what you have to offer. It’s up to you to do a better job of finding them and communicating the compelling reasons they should buy from you.
Lack of Commitment
Lack of commitment is the biggest of all the deadly reasons small businesses fail with their marketing. Period.
Businesses that wallow in mediocrity are the ones that fall short on market themselves on a regular basis. The ‘I’m too busy to market” syndrome invades the thinking of many small business owners. This form of marketing paralysis quickly leads to low or non-existent sales very quickly. Before they know it, their revenues have dropped like a stone and they “need” to marketing immediately to generate cash flow to pay the bills.
This is not the time to market. Unfortunately, it usually too late to save the business!
Growing a successful small business requires you to market consistently, constantly and relentlessly. When you do, positive results and cash flow are sure to follow. Doing something every day to market your business is the just about the only guaranteed of success you can have as an entrepreneur.
All that it takes is a decision that you are going to become excellent at marketing and committing to the process. What have you done today to market your business? All the tools, techniques, strategies and approaches have all already been developed by someone, somewhere in the marketplace. You only need to decide which one will work for your target market and to your company’s situation. Adapt it, tweak it, implement it and stick with it!
If you are starting a new business venture do all you can to avoid or destroy these three reasons. Take the time to learn how to market and understand what works. Then, have the courage to market boldly and decisively no matter what the obstacles. And, finally, commit to becoming a consistent marketer everyday that the doors to your business are open.