At the beginning of each year, we set our New Year’s Resolutions. We want to lose weight, we want to exercise, we want to travel more, WE WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY.
Some of us are really good at setting goals, and we know exactly how much money we want to make – down to the last penny. But, on December 31st, you’re sitting back and thinking about the last year and you realize, hey, I didn’t make the big bucks.
Why is that?
The #1 reason you didn’t make more money is simple – you didn’t market yourself and your services consistently.
Just like exercise and weight loss, you need to be marketing consistently to get the results you desire. Marketing is not a one-time event that you do every once in awhile. Marketing isn’t something you “do” when you need to make money ASAP.
Marketing isn’t something you “do” when you need to make money ASAP.
Marketing is about consistency. If you do a little bit every day or every week – you will have more clients, you will have more work, you will make more money.
Regardless of what business you are in, you are selling something. Selling, in general , is a numbers game. The more people you tell about your services, the more people will buy it. It’s that simple.
Now, some people have a hard time with “marketing” themselves. They feel like they’re being pushy, they feel like they’re trying to sell a used car or something. If you can identify with any of these examples – you’re doing it wrong.
Truth is, no one wants to be sold. Now more than ever, people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. And the only way to have that rapport is through building a relationship.
When you focus on building a relationship – truly getting to know the other person, their business and their family life, the “marketing” will come naturally. You will find yourself sharing your expertise and knowledge with everyone you come in contact with, every day.
Marketing is about sharing with people how you solve problems.
Offer your help naturally in the course of your conversations, both offline and online, as you get to know them and what their struggles are. When you are networking with prospects REALLY listen to get to know them so that you can add value to their lives. Make it a point to give your target audience a few minutes of your time each day to answer a question in a post on Facebook.
This type of hype-free marketing is simple. It’s easy to relate to. It’s inexpensive. It’s effective. It’s consistent. People will naturally talk about you to their friends, family and colleagues – and that’s how the referrals start to stream in.
5 more reasons businesses fail.
8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.
In my 30 plus years as a entrepreneur, and through my exposure to thousands of businesses via my company Contractor Marketing Network, I have seen plenty.
The primary reason businesses fail is they simply run out of cash.
But trust me — the cracks in the foundation start well before the brutal day of financial collapse.
Reason #1: Not really in touch with customers.
An amazing thing happens when a business sees a potential opportunity in the market, or dreams up a new idea for a product/service: they retreat to a cave.
In my experience, this is the worst move an entrepreneur can make because complete understanding of your customer is imperative to your success. Listen — in my mind business owners must walk 1,000 miles in the shoes of their customers. Not 10. Not 100.
Your customer holds the key to your success deep in their pain, behavior, dreams, values and the jobs they are trying to accomplish.
Reason #2: No real differentiation in the market (read: lack of unique value propositions)
Entrepreneur.com just put out a story entitled “Why Everyone Will Have To Become An Entrepreneur”. If this holds true, instead of your competition being 5,000 other Tom, Dick and Harrys, it will soon be 50,000 of these guys.
Think your market is saturated now?
Plenty of noise and chaos for those without uniqueness fighting for the bottom scraps. Most times this is a slow killer of businesses. Barely hanging on, businesses with some customers and some revenue skimp along for months or even years. Every painful inch wondering to themselves if this is all there really is.
Your Solution: Right now this is a core element which must be addressed. Entrepreneurs who take this lightly end up in trouble. Figure out the true value you bring to the table which is unique and different than others in the marketplace.
For example, if you read my stuff you’ll immediately notice I write different than others. It’s not the same. You may or may not like the writing style, but it is unique. It sets me apart from other writers, it’s one of my personal UVPs.
Many business owners work hard to discover a point of differentiation, then blow it because they do not communicate their message in a clear, concise and compelling manner. I watch many entrepreneurs bleed to death through their failure to communicate.
Your Solution: It’s pretty simple. Learn how to communicate better.
Be clear (are your customers unclear about who you are and what value you bring to them?).
Be concise (are you somewhat clear, but go on and on and on in your messaging?).
Be compelling (do the words you use persuade your customers to take the action you want them to?)
Reason #4: Leadership breakdown at the top (yes — founder dysfunction).
You see it all the time in the media. Right off the deep end goes another athlete with unbelievable talent. Painful to watch the self-sabotage of the likes of a Lance Armstrong, Mike Tyson or Aaron Hernandez, all of which fell short of truly remarkable success because of their poor decisions.
Now startup entrepreneurs who go down hard might not have their names splashed across the headlines of tomorrow’s Post, but I submit to you their reason for failure is sometimes the same. Self-sabotage through extremely poor decision making and weak leadership skills.
Your Solution: Wake up to realize it’s your baby. You’re the founder. Which makes you the leader. Matters not if you’re a business of one, or 1,000. Lack the ability to strongly relate with people? Gain the skills necessary to do so.
Reason #5: Inability to nail a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.
In the end, this is the sum total. Fail to accurately achieve product/market fit where the money gets made, and you’re sunk. Business owners can actually have each of the four above reasons, solved, but still miss the business model boat.