I Don’t Have the Money to Market my Business
If we had a nickel for every time we have heard the statement “I Don’t have money to market my business”, “It’s not in the budget”, or “We’ve spent so much money in marketing we are not going to do it anymore”, we would be billionaires!
Here’s the skinny. In the 1980’s my grandparents spent $2500.00 per month for a full page phone book advertisement for their business that may or may not have procured customers with their local audience of 25,000 citizens. Why? Because we had to market? Said Grandma. It wasn’t something we could afford to gamble with if we wanted to stay in business. Sure, we had referral customers, but people move away, retire, and their life situations changed.”
In business, like in life, we make time and money for what we ultimately feel is important. If you truly started a business without capital funding to run your business and execute your business plan, then you do not really have a business. What you do have is a whim and a prayer. That is not only dangerous for you, that is dangerous for your customers, employees, vendors, and will open you up to potential legal action should you default with one of many of the folks I just listed. In most situations, when we hear those statements around the availability of money written in the first paragraph, the sad reality is, is that the business owner or decision maker really doesn’t understand executing a business plan and budgeting critical expenses like compliance education, legal counseling, training, and marketing. Understanding the fundamental problem that we really do make time and money for what we “think” is important in business, the expense categories I just listed are treated as a luxury expense. The 2016 business playing field screams to us that these expenses are anything but luxury items.
In September 2013, Forbes Magazine and Bloomberg Weekly reported that 8 out of 10 business fail within the first 18 months. In addition, another sad reality is, is that many of the small business clients that approach our marketing firm to engage in marketing services have waited to the absolute last conceivable minute to do anything about marketing, they(you) are in jeopardy of losing the business and closing the doors. Many believe that $500.00 and one month of marketing is going to somehow function as the magic bullet that saves your business from failure. That is not the case. If you have waited to execute your business plan until you are in trouble, I’m afraid to tell you it may be too late.
Now that we have called out what the typical small business owner trajectory is, here is how you can prevent you and your business from becoming just another statistic and failed concept. First, educate yourself in writing a business plan. Put together funding to run your startup company. You are not the first person that has thought up a great idea, or invented a game-changing widget, or developed the best possible concept. You cannot start a business without funding and a business plan, it will not work. Interview and be sure you have vetted the right vendors to support what your needs are. Understand that you are not the subject matter expert in all areas and don’t treat critical expenses such as legal compliance, Human Resources training, corporate compliance, and Marketing as luxury expenses because they are not. Think about this conceptually like a baseball or football team. There is a reason why the pitcher is not playing all positions on the team. It’s simply because he or she is not great at right field or shortstop. He’s the pitcher! Finally, just like you would expect for the services(or goods) you sell, hire and pay your business contacts an appropriate and fair market value fee for their services. If you think you can get away with going the cheap route for any needed expense, you are going to make a devastating and costly mistake in 2016. Your competitors are educated, they possess business the professional business acumen that you don’t have, and they have been seated at the table long before you came around. If you think that you can take short cuts and create a pathway to business success you are going to become another Forbes and Bloomberg statistic in 2016.
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