As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you probably don’t moonlight as one of the Mad Men. There’s a reason entire degrees are built around marketing; while some people have a natural talent, “winging it” almost always ends badly.
You might not realize you’re missing out on opportunities or revenue, but you likely are if you don’t have a pro in your corner. What was once considered savvy marketing has become long since dated.
How can you make sure you’re on the right track if it’s not in the budget to hire a marketing manager? Simply making sure you avoid the most common mistakes is a good start.
Take a look at the five most common marketing mistakes and see if you’re guilty. Fixing these faux pas can put you back on the fast track to success.
1. Bad pricing
Pricing takes research, diligence, and a little finesse — and it’s where many businesses fall short. You need to turn a profit while also making sure your prices are competitive (assuming you’re not in a luxury industry). You have to keep in mind it doesn’t really matter what you’d like to earn, because if the market isn’t up for it, you’re not going to make close to that goal anyway.
This also means finding the right demographic, reaching out to them, and knowing they’ll be up for your price points.
2. You don’t appreciate it
This one is a biggie, and it often sets up entrepreneurs for failure even in the business plan stage. If you don’t truly enjoy what you’ve created, what you sell, or what you do, that’s going to trickle down the ladder through your employees and eventually to your customers.
Don’t open an organic yogurt shop if you don’t have passion for the fast food industry, healthy snacks, and everything that goes along with that (like touting the benefits of probiotics). Owning a small business means it’s your time to set the rules, so do something you actually like.
3. A faulty business model
Do you feel like you’re doing everything right, but things still aren’t adding up? Often, that’s because there’s something wrong with the business model, such as depending on an hourly rate for clients (at a spa, for instance) when a membership is the only way to sustain a profit in the demographic and economy.
Generating income is at the core of a business, and your business model is what lets you clearly see the options. Maybe you need new services, approaches, programs, or formats to shake things up.
4. Lack of focus
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get tunnel vision down all the wrong tunnels, such as social media. The buzz words floating around can distract anyone, but you need to focus on what matters — like revenue options, your products, and building your audience.
While it’s sometimes possible that a small business can achieve viral status with Tweets, such successes are few and far between, and a better approach is old-fashioned grit. Choose the top ten things you need to focus on, in order, and let that drive your daily grind.
5. Relying on one income stream
It’s exciting when you get one regular, high-paying source of income, but what happens when and if that source runs dry? Freelancers learn this lesson quickly: diversifying your revenue is key to ongoing success.
You should have enough sources that even if the big one falls through, you’re getting some revenue and constantly seeking out others. The same goes for your outreach, such as paying for print ads in a particular newspaper and completely ignoring other options, including the web.