Business Failure’s Common Denominator

It seems like every month I’m driving through Louisville and I see a small business (and sometimes large) with its doors closed, lights out and interior looking like a barren warehouse. Some of these businesses once thrived, living on references, write-ups, social shares and word of mouth. Now, nothing. People out of work, banks and creditors likely getting the short end of the stick. And over the years I’ve noticed one common denominator of nearly all of these business failures….they failed to communicate with me.

Now when I say me, I’m not inferring that I could single-highhandedly keep any business afloat (unless it was an Italian Eatery), but I’m referring to the public in general.  It is almost ALWAYS the one thing that these businesses did not do, or did incorrectly. And this does not surprise me. I see it in the industry I serve all the time. People understand their business, but they do not understand the tenets and commandments of marketing. Marketing  is not something big companies do, it’s something that SUCCESSFUL companies do.

Back to my days of college where I studied marketing and I always go back to the basics…the four “P’s” of marketing:

  • Product – What products or services are you going to offer
  • Price – What prices will you charge
  • Place – How are your customers going to acquire your products or services
  • Promotion – How are you going to COMMUNICATE with them

I like to add a fifth “P” PROFIT. How much profit are you going to take home to pay your own bills?  Most business owners answer the first three, and number five. But the forth, they’re not so sure of the best way to communicate, so they try a few things and then get busy, or just do not see the results immediately and drop the promotional part of their plans. I wrote a few years ago about my marketing successes in this this blog post. I have not made a personal sales call in two years. I am simply too busy servicing my current clients. But I do still market using this blog, email and social media. Does it work? How about this. I surpassed my 2011 revenues in April of 2012. And 95% of my revenues on the books are a direct result of either my own marketing or referrals. Done, slam dunk!

Marketing is not mystical or require some type of wizard to make it work. But you have to…well…DO IT! Most could contact a local marketing company, like say…Symbion, who could provide you with advice. Then it’s up to you to make it work, or hire a company to manage it for you…like…say…Symbion. Either way, marketing/promoting is something you must do…now, and forever. It is as much of your business plan as accounting. So don’t cut corners, don’t cheat yourself. Get out there and engage, communicate, don’t sell…everyone is doing that. Share, be the company that’s helping prospects do something better. Then when the time comes, I promise, you will be on their short list of companies that are going to get a shot at their business.

As for the local businesses in your area that you’ve seen closed up. Ask yourself, “how much did I really hear from them?” Because folks, you might think “everyone knows who and where we are.” But I’ll assure you this much, the phrase “outta sight, outta mind” didn’t invent itself.

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