For the small business in America, there is tons of opportunity. But in my experience working with many of them, I have found several things that hold them back from making strides in their efforts of growing their business. When working with business owners these were the main shortcomings for them.
1) Being late adopters
Becoming a late adopter is very critical in small business, because there are so many businesses vying for the same customers; a huge advantage is beginning first. Most business owners I met have a website (and still their are some that don’t!). But these sites are not up to the consumer standards today; the sites look like they were designed in Microsoft Front Page. They also are late to other methods of marketing like social media, etc. When they find out about these sites or are ready to build a strategy their early adopter competitors have left them in the dust.
2) Not open to new opportunities
This is a hard sale for small business owners because they have to go outside of their comfort zone, but let me ask you, If Apple Computer didn’t go outside of their comfort zone, would there be an iPod, iPhone or iPad? These gadgets bring in more revenue than their PC line up, and why, because they were opened to new opportunities and ideas. Don’t shoot down other small businesses that have a new strategy or idea that build awareness of your brand or business, especially if it’s no upfront cost! They are trying to build a strong partnership with you and your business. What I would recommend you do is ask questions and get all the facts or ask for a DEMO! Give them a chance; this might be your “window of opportunity”!
3) Being Consistent
This is another huge fail for the small business owner. They think that any method is supposed to work the first time. This is so far from the truth. Why do you think Target, Waymart and other retailers create different commercials? They are trying new strategies and being consistent with their marketing efforts. This is what takes a small business into a large brand! We all don’t have millions of dollars to invest in TV commercial ads, but there are many tools out there that can have a similar affect, like a new web application called PalmPons. This is not a daily deal site but a DIY web application that helps small businesses build awareness by creating and distributing their sales campaigns online in the form of “Snippets”.
4) Not Investing
I find too many Craigslist ads for small business. I guess this kind of complements my 1st and 2nd points of Being Late Adopters and Not Opened to New Opportunities. Craigslist is a great tool, but not the only one! You also have to think about where you place your ads. Think about the Internet as the world (that’s why its called the world wide web) and Craigslist is a neighborhood on the web. What kind of neighborhood do you want your business to live in one that is murky and known for scams? You want quite the opposite right! You would put your kids in the best schools your money can afford and also the best living environment for them to be successful and thrive. Why wont you want the same for your business? A business is a legal entity, meaning it’s a personality and a tax-paying citizen! Invest in your business and you will be glad you did!
These are several ways I find small businesses failing. By knowing that these are some of the main roadblocks small business owners face is the first step to correcting missteps. Stay open to new opportunities, invest, be consistent and a early adopter, you can be sure to have a growing business.
Matt Dean is the CEO & Founder of PalmPons.com, a web platform that allows small business to build awareness of their products or services for no upfront cost.