You can beat the odds of being successful
in business by avoiding a few obvious mistakes.
■ Cyndi lemke, / Contributed
We appreciate small businesses, and they really are a crucial part of bringing opportunity and economic well being to the community.
You may ask yourself, how can I make a difference and support our local businesses? It could be as easy as when you are thinking about eating out, choose local. When you need a product or service for yourself, your family or your business – choose local. #shoplocal is how we keep businesses here and their doors open.
My job as the Interim Executive Director for the Hemet San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce is to focus on offering resources and inspiring you to support local business on a consistent basis. I am eager to assist our local business community achieve its goals and serve the citizens and visitors of our valley. I will be writing articles that will look at various angles of the local economy for the benefit of local business owners as well as you, the consumer. My first article is to address one of the most significant issues business owners ever face – lack of revenue.
The cost of not marketing your business
I recently researched how many businesses fail before the first five years. As I scrolled through some very interesting articles, I found that, it’s often said that more than half of new businesses fail during the first year. This myth isn’t true, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). While failures are high, they aren’t that high. The SBA states that only 30 percent of new businesses fail during the first two years of opening, 50 percent during the first five years, and 66 percent during the first 10 years.
What that says to me is that a business is like a relationship, it will always take work to stay connected. If only 34 percent of businesses remain open after a decade, what are they doing that the failed businesses are not? We can get a hint by observing McDonalds. Even after the company sold over a billion hamburgers, you still see billboards, commercials and hear McDonalds radio spots. They are out there marketing. They always have a message they want to deliver to their customers. The take-away here is that you always have to stay top of mind in order to remain a possibility for your customers.
Besides not getting the word out, there are other reasons businesses fail. Some 17 percent fail because they lack a viable business model. I have to think of all the people who have the dream of starting a business, opening their doors, and selling their first product to their fist customer but were never prepared with a business plan. Solution: There is SCORE, available through the Chamber, that will set an appointment with a mentor to walk you through how to create your own business plan.
How many businesses fail as soon as they face real competition?
I saw an article that addressed this and it said, “Reason No. 1: [Business owner] is not really in touch with customers through deep dialogue.” Forbes magazine’s Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom, co-authors of the book, “Nail It, Then Scale It,” said it best: “Which would you rather do – talk to customers now and find out you were wrong or talk to customers a year and thousands of dollars down the road and still find out you were wrong?”
I’ve always been taught that a customer can “hear” your smile or “feel” if you rush them. That is all part of the customer service experience. If you take the time to care about your customers, they will help you with your marketing. How? Through word of mouth. It’s priceless.
About the author – Cyndi Lemke is a marketing professional, real estate agent, and Interim Executive Director of the Hemet San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce.