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5 Deadly Small Business Marketing Mistakes...And How To Fix Them

By Irene Brooks
Posted Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Studies have shown that 93% of small businesses will fail within their first year in business. From the 7% that make it past their first year, only 50% will make it past five years.

Here are various marketing mistakes that kills the majority of small businesses within their first year. Most of the mistakes surround the mystery and myths of marketing.

My intention in writing this article is to help the small business owner avoid these deadly mistakes and increase their chances of survival.

1. Not Having A Marketing Plan

Studies have shown that small businesses with a marketing plan experience a 24 to 30% improvement in sales over those without.

If the thought of writing a marketing plan leaves you in a cold sweat, never fear. Writing a successful marketing plan is something that you can do in one day. The key to writing a good marketing plan is answering some key questions and setting a foundation for how you are going to create awareness of your business to your target market.

There are many places that the entrepreneur can get a template for writing a marketing plan for free. The small business administration is a great resource for a template.

One more word of advice on creating your marketing plan, make sure your plan FEELS good to you.

2- Executing Hit or Miss Marketing Techniques

Most business owners buy advertising without exploring which venue might be right for them. On top of that, they don't test any of their advertising. Buying advertising without measuring results is like buying an appliance and never plugging it in to see if it works! None of us would ever do that, would we?

Then why would you buy advertising without testing results? You don't know if you've received your money's worth.

Marketing dollars, spent correctly will make you money, not cost you.

Take a look at who your target audience is. What do they read? Who do they listen to? Where do they congregate? Explore ways to reach them were they are. Your target market will not come to you unless you go to them first.

3- Negative Networking

So, you have a business, you join the chamber of commerce or you join a networking group on the internet. You figure that the reason you're there is to hand out your business card, solicit business go home and wait for the phone to ring or your shopping cart to become overflowing with orders, yes?


The purpose of networking groups is to establish relationships with others. Networking situations are not meant to close sales, they are designed to establish relationships and create referral opportunities.

In order to be really effective in a networking situation, try being interested in the other person.

Really listen.

When was the last time you felt really listened to?

How did it feel to be heard completely? Pretty good, I'd bet.

Imagine how wonderful your prospective client or customer will feel if you really listen to them. Do you think you'll make an impression?

You bet!

Making a solid impression is the purpose of these groups. Utilize them correctly and you'll be surprised at the opportunities that come out of them.

4- Not seeking appropriate support

Most entrepreneurs are great at what they specialize in, but are not educated in many aspects of running a business. Because they may be lacking skills in bookkeeping, marketing, or distribution, these weak areas are the areas that will cause their business to fail. How many extremely talented business owners are out of business today? Do you think that business ownder of defuncnt companies took the time to avail themselves of the proper support and resources that they needed, they'd be out of business today? Probably not.

Instead of seeing a bookkeeper, accountant, marketing consultant or coach as just another expense, view these as investments in the survival of your business. There are many things that you need to help you run your business. Having the proper individuals on your team is one of them.

Explore your options and get the proper support that you need to help your business grow and prosper.

5- Inability to distinguish between being talented and being business savvy

There is a saying that goes, "Any fool can make soap, but it takes a clever man to sell it".

Many of my clients are initially resistant to marketing because they are under the impression that as long as they are good at what they do, the word of mouth will carry them through. This is a very costly myth to hang your hat on.

It's important to create a marketing system that is comfortable for you as a business owner that will constantly keep a flow of customers coming to you. If word of mouth is the way that you want to grow your business, great.

Referral marketing is extremely powerful in helping you grow your business. However, it is very important that you create a S-Y-S-T-E-M which stands for Saving Your Self Time Energy & Money. Creating a system for generating referrals is important.

Word of mouth is rather hit and miss, people are busy and forgetful, so to just pray that someone will remember to refer you will not get you a consistent flow of customers to your business.

Instead, create a S-Y-S-T-E-M that ensure that your results are consistent, predictable and replicable.

If you keep these deadly marketing mistakes in mind while growing your business, get the support and help that you need, you will increase the chances of not becoming part of the failed business statistic.

About the Author
Irene Brooks is President of 3-D Success Partners. A Business and Life Coaching firm that specializes in helping small businesses to create a constant flow of customers without wasting time or money on ineffective marketing techniques. You can contact Irene by calling 919-894-1732 visiting her website at (


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