The 5 Most Dangerous Marketing Mistakes Made by Small Business – How to Avoid Them

Many of the businesses I’ve worked with, usually have a singular issue that dominates their marketing woes. After a few years of doing this, I’ve figured out the most significant marketing areas that plague the majority of my clients.

An overview of the situation.

U.S. small businesses employ more than half of the private sector work force, produce more than half of private sector output, fill niche markets, innovate, and contribute to the competition in free markets. Small business drives the economy in most if not all of the developed countries in the world.

Small businesses are overrepresented in business turnover; that is, they have relatively high rates of company startups and closures. The life span of the average small business is still three to five years.

Small businesses give individuals the chance to achieve their own versions of the American Dream, and allow entry into employment by individuals and demographic groups who might otherwise be shut out of the labor market.

Small businesses pay a disproportionate amount of the taxes while receiving less than equitable state and federal support than larger businesses in the U.S.. Call me biased, but I think we need to fix that problem in my country.

Because the small business system is based on individual initiative, owners may not start with the right business education and experience. They most often start on a shoestring and do not market themselves adequately in the beginning.

When I tell startups that a good rule of thumb for them to follow is to invest up to 20% of their expected annual revenues in order to jump-start their business, many begin to realize the full implication of what they’re getting themselves into.

The danger signs.

Let’s take a look at the 5 most dangerous business trends to avoid. If you find that you’re currently making some of these errors, admit it, make a note of it and get ready to fix it.

Here are the top 5 reasons for business failure:

1. Incompetence (46%)

2. Unbalanced Experience (30%)

3. Complacency (12%)

4. Lack of Experience (11%)

5. Neglect, fraud, or Disaster. (1%)

It makes sense to avoid the usual pitfalls before working on improving your income. Because the biggest challenge to small businesses today is Incompetence. That does not mean the business owner is stupid, just that they don’t have the proper business education to keep themout of trouble.

Hard on the heels of Incompetence (46%), is Unbalanced Experience (30%), Complacency (12%), followed by Lack of Experience (11%), in the specified field of business, and finally, Neglect, Fraud, or Disaster (1%). These are the leading causes of failure in business today.

These five opponents to your profit margin must be carefully monitored if you want to do more than just make a living in your business.

Incompetence

Let’s start with incompetence. We aren’t saying that people who start businesses are dumb. We mean that they usually start with very little competence in business affairs. They might be experts in their field but not in the complexity of running a business.

The proof of that statement is that 46% of all business failures are caused by a basic misunderstanding about what it takes to run a business.

Take a look at this list and burn it in your memory. These are the leading causes of failure in businesses today. Notice that being stupid is not on that list.

The good news is that incompetence can be beaten out of you with knowledge and experience.

Unbalanced Experience

The second major cause of failure is unbalanced experience. If you just got out of dental school and are extremely talented in your craft, that’s great but if you don’t have a head for business, then you may not be ready to take on that challenge at this time.

Let’s look at a few of the causes of unbalanced experience.

These are usually caused by ad hoc business practices or inconsistent application of policies and procedures.

Complacency

Complacency usually occurs during the mid phase of the business cycle when owners and mangers are doing well but not keeping up with current trends and competitive measures. They are simply coasting. Usually these businesses are doing a marginal job at marketing but relying on their credibility and history for sales.

The entrepreneurial spirit is replaced with lethargy and mediocrity. Competition soon overtakes them and the marketplace makes them obsolete.

Lack of Experience

11% of the people who go into business do not know their market well enough to survive as a viable operation.

Neglect, Fraud, or Disaster

There is that small minority of businesses that suffer from fraud and disaster. A mere 1%.

Bonus Threats – Taxes and Inflation.

Another enemy of business is one that we rarely see coming. If you analyze your income and you’re growing by less than 10% a year, you’re going backward. Real inflation is usually higher than the government estimates. For obvious reasons. They have a vested interest in keeping the numbers slow. Your business has to live in the real world.

Along with inflation you’ll also deal with the various taxes and fees that have to be paid. These don’t seem to go down each year; just the opposite. They all take away from your bottom line.

Let’s look at the odds for a moment. The NFIB estimations are grim at first glance. Remember that the majority of small business owners do not get an education in business before they open their doors.

That is why they wake up one day to realize that they are making little or no money regardless of how much they bring in.

The bigger you are, the easier it is to succeed.

The fewer the employees, the greater your chances of failure! The facts lead to some interesting conclusions. Those businesses that can maintain a large staff tend to have systems in place to give direction and purpose to its employees. That in turn leads to greater income that does not rely on the business owner’s direct input. The business owner is now free to grow the business instead of working in the business.

So you see that the main cause of business failure is redeemable. We can, through proper education and planning, take care of this problem. If you are in trouble financially, you should seek immediate financial counseling. You may be able to get help from your local SCORE program or the SBA in your town.

If you take the time to study the mistakes of others you’ll have a greater chance of success.

First Things for Small Business Event Marketing

In the beginning, we have an idea. The idea is an event where people can come together and trade, grow their network, and live outside of normal routines for just a few hours. The event is birthed and excitement builds quickly. Visions of a crowd smiling are everywhere.

The beginning is a critical time. We are motivated and moved to make something happen. Without question, this is the time to put together a few major pieces that will make the event process move smoothly. If done quickly, it can make the event better or more realistic for the hosts. These items are 1) defining the objective of the event, 2) who is going to make it happen, the decision maker/lead of the event, 3) what is it going to take to be a great event?

The objective of the event is often a large contributor to a few key ingredients. Objective defines what the event is supposed to do. It sets the foundation for the type of event it is to be, and lastly is the main guide towards the theme. Without an objective, the event may not get off the ground, rolling aimlessly towards a date without any real enthusiastic motivation behind it. Objective defines purpose. Purpose creates drive. The theme of the event puts a face to it, an image that will be memorable to prospects.

Who is going to make the event happen? In a small business, it is either a hired event planner/marketer, an internal manager, or the owner. Each one has positives and negatives to lead the event to success. A person who can lead, is organized, creative, people oriented, resilient, and patient is the best person to lead the show. These qualities might not be all in one person, but can be had in a small team. Possibly everyone mentioned before is involved.

The leader of the event will often use a committee or team to get all the work done. A small event can be done with one to three people. A large event could take a platoon of people who like to throw parties.

The person who makes it all happen is a very important part of the event. Without someone to herd cats, be Keeper of the Event Plan, and be Event Therapist, the event might be lackluster. The event may fizzle or explode before the day of the show.

An event planner/manager/marketer is a keystone for a great event. I have seen many small events do well with someone with basic skills. Being able to put details together by using a guide found online is very helpful. It keeps things on track. Time frames and tasks are often laid out together, making things much easier.

The larger the event, the larger the skill set of the decision maker of the event. Experienced event planners and marketers can provide valuable consulting, if not be the main coordinator of the event.

Defining what it is going to take to be a great event is an important answer to get. Three common factors of any event are time, money, and energy. Being able to balance the three and be able to achieve the objective is what makes a great event. (Obviously ‘great’ can be defined in many ways. If the objective is met, no money problems at hand, and no one was hurt, it was a good event.)

There is only so much of any of time, money, and energy. The objective of the event, and the anticipated results of the event, will decide how much of each will occur. In relation to time, asking how long will it take to get everything done and promotions at their maximum appeal is what time is all about. Is this a big event that happens every year? Is this a test run for other events down the road? And other questions help plan when things occur, which is also a function of energy.

The energy required to have a great event is defined by the objective, quantity of staffing for execution, and anticipated size of the event. How much one person can put into any event is limited. Larger events take more people. Simply put, the amount of energy that can be expended is directly related to the budget, or how much money is reasonable to make the event a success.

Small businesses do not have bottomless accounts to throw large parties. An event being funded by small businesses has to see a payoff and be done within a reasonable budget. Spending too much money on staff, not enough on marketing, and more are weighted decisions that guide finding balance in the area of money.

Looking at the objective, the amount of payoff can be calculated. Whether the event is a concert in the park or customer appreciation day at the store, cash flow can be discussed. If the event has a history, budgeting is easier. For a first time event, budgeting is difficult because cash flow can be estimated within ten percent at best. More often the margin error is larger. Expenses are the most determinable line items.

Revenues from the event can be the day of the show only, like a concert. A one time event that generates money from merchandise, concessions, ticket sales and more. One day, and it is time for recovering.

Revenues can be a long term objective related to brand awareness, like customer appreciation days every first Friday of the month. An ongoing event that is proven to attract a percentage of customers over a regular day is a good thing. If I know I can go to Smith Farm Supply and get a burger, I’ll likely stop by, eat, and get the things I need.

When you hatch your idea, take the time to make immediate notes on how the event will occur. These notes will guide you. They will help you understand what you were thinking at the time. Too often have I lost those thoughts because they were not written down.

Taking the time to pay attention to the initial parts of an event being planned will alleviate problems later.

Gravitational Marketing for Small Businesses – First Law: Why Your Marketing Doesn’t Work

Traditional Sales and Marketing Tactics are DEAD!

In your heart and in your mind you already know this is true. That’s why we’ve come together…you’re seeking a solution.

What you’re doing is not working the way it should be – or the way it once did.

There was a time when just doing a good job was enough to stimulate word-of-mouth or running an ad or sending a mailer could get you some leads and deals. That’s not the case anymore.

You want – and have a right to expect – more.

More leads.

More business.

More commissions

And more money.

We don’t blame you. You didn’t get into this business to clown around or work like a dog.

But that’s what too many small businesses and professionals are doing.

Wasting their time, money and opportunity with traditional marketing practices that are dead.

The ideas we will teach you have been in use for over one hundred years. We only use time tested direct response marketing tactics that are responsible for the most effective marketing efforts in history.

One time we were explaining these concepts to a small business owner here in Orlando, Florida.
He’d had been a sales professional and now a small business owner for over 25 years and was always researching marketing techniques.

At the beginning of our meeting, we could tell he was a little skeptical – because of our young age.

But when we were done with our rapid fire explanation of our “Gravitational Marketing Secrets” – and how they could revolutionize his business – he stared at us and finally said, softly, “I’ve been in this business for more than 25 years, and I’ve never heard any of this before.”

We’re not surprised.

It’s a conspiracy.

It’s perpetrated by media professionals, sales imposters, creative morons and ad agencies. You see, these people are all deathly afraid that you – the advertiser – will be able to track and measure the results of your marketing expense.

This is a huge opportunity for you.

Most people, most business owners, most sales professionals don’t know this information (and many of the ones who do know it are too stubborn, too lazy or too egotistical to take action).

The wise business owner and sales pro who takes this information and runs with it will be in striking distance of dominating their market, making their competition impotent – even small businesses and sales professionals that have been doing this for ages – are ending up with a lead and business producing machine so powerful that you’re actually able to take a few days off each week because the system runs itself.

This is exactly why we created the Gravitational Marketing.

In the second Law of Gravitational Marketing for Small Businesses, we’ll tell you how to DOUBLE the probability that a customer will do business with you. Can you imagine?

3 Reasons Why Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Small Business

I have been intimately involved in building, growing and consulting many small businesses both online and offline for many years and what I have found is that entrepreneurs at all stages of growth and development are anxious to discover both strategic and cost-effective marketing tools that will help them attract new profitable customers in an ever-changing dynamic market place environment.

Increasingly, small businesses are smartly adding blogs as a key tactical online marketing technique for three important reasons.

3 Reasons Why Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Small Business

1. Blogging Is a Great Strategy To Help You Increase Visibility To Your Ideal Targeted Market.

The bottom line is that incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy can help you improve your chances to increase sales and grow your business.

Do understand that this is not a quick or short-term sales success technique. Be committed to a long view of blogging and this technique will help you build value as a lead generation tool over time.

But if you have the determination to post consistently adding content that is fresh and helpful to your ideal target niche market, it will help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

The most important tip for you to follow when starting a business blog is to “Define The Purpose of Your Blog.” Just as any company must have a business plan, your blog must have a specific direction and purpose.

For instance, if your blog’s purpose is to help your customers and prospects with information that delivers tips, solutions free advice and/or adds value to your primary product or service, then make it clear.

If fact, make it very easy for any first time visitor to your blog to recognize what it’s all about. The key here is to write your blog posts with your end-users in mind.

2. Maintaining An Active Blog Will Help You Improve Your Websites Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Results.

If you do decide to develop a blog as a marketing tool to help you grow your small business, focus on building it around two basic criteria:

  1. Your most valuable keywords
  2. Continually adding new and informative content

If you do this, you can gain leverage allowing you to effectively compete against the big boy brands.

As search engines continue to shake up the way they rank sites for relevancy, adding fresh and regularly updated content will continue to be an essential marketing strategy for your small business.

A couple key tips here are to:

  1. Differentiate your blog and make it stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Make it “cool” for a lack of a better way to say it.
  2. Write your blog posts with your prospective searchers in mind. Put yourself in their shoes and use words and terms that they would be thinking in their heads when they are searching for what you offer.

Lastly, remember that as cliché as it sounds content is still king which means you should focus on delivering unique and helpful information. The reason is that fresh and relevant content is still the foundation of a smart SEO strategy.

3. Credible Content Will Help You Drive Traffic To Your Company Website.

If your objective is to build a blog that helps you generate sales leads and/or strengthen relationships with your existing customers, then you must realize that great content is what will help you build your reader and visitor base.

In fact, think of it this way, the content you deliver in your posts is like the food (or nourishment) you feed your readers and those who are searching the Internet for the information, tips and solutions you are writing about.

Plus, it’s the information that keeps them interested and hooked on your blog and will motivate them to share it with their friends and family. This helps to make it viral and valuable.

I stated it above and will emphasize here again that you should ask yourself “why am I publishing this blog?”

The answer to this question will lead you to creating great content. But continue to be diligent in keeping your focus on THEM (your reader).

In fact, paste this famous marketing saying on your computer screen as you write every post, “It’s all about them, it’s not about you.”

If you actually do this, you will create content your readers will be interested in and the by-product will be that you increase your competitive marketplace leadership, your SEO rankings, your sales leads and interested customer or client prospects.

One more tip when writing a business blog is to position yourself as the expert in your niche.

No one will actually come to you and crown you the expert but if you really do have expertise, experience and education in your area, then proclaim yourself the expert and share some of your successes and testimonials. This will increase your social proof helping to solidify the credibility of your blog enormously.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy will help you improve your chances to increase sales and grow your business.