23 Marketing Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

By Eric Gilboord

I was walking past a convenience store the other day and noticed a sign in the window. The sign read ‘No Change.’ It seems they were inundated with people who required change for the subway or for parking and they felt it was more important to keep all these potential customers out of their store than to equip their till with a supply of change. They were making a clear statement that they did not wish to have my business. Instead, they might have considered displaying a large sign that read, ‘Change Available.’ Chances are, prospects might have come in only for change initially, but would have been converted into regular customers with a correction in attitude of the staff. It’s up to you to create either a successful business, or one that plods along, or worse, fails. Doing business can be tough enough without making it more difficult.

Usually, lists are made up of financial reasons for the failure of a small business. There are many sales and marketing reasons why a small business fails. Fortunately, there are positive steps that can be taken to help reduce the chance for failure and increase the chance for success:

  1. The failure to face up to your weaknesses and lack of effort in taking advantage of your strengths can keep a business in no-growth mode.

  2. Follow-through, implementation is key. Plan all you want but be prepared to act on all the steps you have identified and then some you hadn’t planned on.

  3. Understand the difference between accountability and responsibility. Make sure your staff and suppliers recognize that by accepting responsibility, it is their job to get the assignment completed.

  4. A genuine commitment to the customer and the success of the business will get you through difficult times. It will also pave the way to success.

  5. A recipe for failure? No planning. Struggling along from one idea to another and not thinking through your complete marketing story.

  6. Lack of buy-in by employees. When your staff does not support a marketing program, you are usually destined for failure. Get them involved early in the planning process and incorporate their ideas.

  7. There is nothing more irritating than walking into a business where the person behind the counter is having a personal conversation on the telephone. Immediately, you are made to feel as if you are an interruption. Customers should be welcomed into your business and greeted with your full attention.

  8. Failure to recognize trends, changes, marketing mistakes, etc. Recognizing a trend away from your particular product or service offering is a terrific opportunity to present something new to a customer. New ideas refresh your staff as well.

  9. If you suffer from the ‘not invented here’ syndrome, get it fixed right away. Great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Limiting yourself to ideas created only at your company is like viewing life through a very narrow opening.

  10. You may know your business better than anyone, but thinking that all your ideas are right just because they were ‘invented here’ is equally dangerous.

  11. Another recipe for disaster? No control over sales staff. Your sales reps have little direction or support and are off selling to whomever they choose to. Chances are, they are missing new opportunities and spending all their time with existing customers.

  12. You have not created proper sales and marketing tools for your staff.

  13. The sales tools you do have are unimpressive, out of date, poorly conceived and are damaging sales opportunities.

  14. Marketing has been forced to operate with a low or nonexistent budget.

  15. You spend too much on marketing without getting enough value for your investment. Spending dollars against marketing does not always guarantee sales. You may need to rethink the media and promotional offers currently making up your marketing program.

  16. Failure to promote your website using outside, traditional media. A key lesson learned recently by big Internet participants is the need to go outside the Internet to also use traditional media. The key to success on the net after producing a well thought out website is to let people know where your site is located.

  17. Not answering the telephone properly or having an uninformed person answering it for you is damaging. It is frustrating for the customer or prospect when they can’t get answers to their questions.

  18. Losing orders or not completing them on time is an easily resolved problem. Create a step-by-step fulfillment process with checking systems to make sure that an order is controlled from beginning to end.

  19. Some business owners believe the product or service they offer will be as irresistible to others as it is to them. Therefore, customers should just come to them without much promotion. Not promoting yourself will only serve to keep your business a secret.

  20. It is just as important to encourage others to promote you. If others have a clear understanding of your company and who your target group is, they can promote you.

  21. Negative word of mouth can have a negative impact on your sales that goes beyond one or two unhappy customers. Solve the problem and win them back. They will be your best salespeople.

  22. Use resources available: self-help offices, consultants, the Internet and the library. Talk to customers and suppliers; study your competitors.

  23. Don’t just try to be as good as the competition. Be better, offer something different, be more, be  helpful.

And that’s According 2 Eric

ERIC GILBOORD is a specialist in making marketing easy for business owner/operators and any staff with sales or marketing responsibility. He demystifies marketing so they can use it to generate sales today and grow their businesses faster. Eric believes in blending traditional marketing with new media/social media. ROI is a must. Eric is a popular speaker, coach, columnist and author of many articles and books on moving a business up to the next level.  The Expert Business Calls for Marketing Advice... That's Easy to Understand. For more information call 416-686-2466. To sign up for his marketing tips newsletter and to read his blog please visit: www.EricGilboord.com

By Adam

March 04, 2011