Backwards thinking about marketing could kill your business

Considering I didn’t go to Harvard for a business degree (or any college for business in fact), I’ve done pretty well for myself. My rise to business super-success has been applying simple logic, connecting with successful people eager to give great advice and a consistent, die-hard work ethic. Add that to the pure passion that drives me in what I do for a living and it’s been about the pert formula.

Admittedly, there have been some bumps in the road caused by trusting the wrong people, going against my gut and sticking with something far longer than I ever should have.

But I’ve never been at fault for this one critical error that I would say is responsible for the majority of business failures we’ve seen over the years.

This is what it looks like:

I just moved to a new area and have been venturing out to get to know the local business owners and see what the “scene” is. From there, I’m able to add to my clientele based on what I deem the needs and wants are. I also love to scope out the local kids places and one of my all time favorites are “clothing exchanges” or children’s consignment shops.

I tend not to hoard stuff so as soon as my daughter grows out of her clothes, I go the “trade store” and trade in her clothes for some toys, clothes, etc – it’s a phenomenal way to get awesome, like new (or in many cases they are new with tags) items at a fraction of the cost.

I did some Google research looking for a store I visited a few months ago when I was out here visiting family. No one in my family could remember the name of the high-end baby trade store and I couldn’t find it anywhere on Google. I typed in all kinds of applicable keywords and NOTHING! To not be found on the internet in 2012 is just plain inexcusable.

Finally, we drove there. I got Trinity a few new items and then spoke with the owner. I let her know about my search for her store and the fact that she’s basically a ghost on the internet. I also let her know that I’d love to sit down with her to discuss a few small things she can do to make a huge difference in her business to attract new customers. By the way – the store was devoid of customers when I was there.

Her response? “I just moved to this location and the move cost me way more than I expected so I’m not going to spend any money on marketing until I’m out of debt from the move – should be around next year.”

I understand”, I responded. And I do…it’s a statement I’ve heard over and over and over from fledgling businesses that have yet to make their mark.

Here was my follow up question:

“What are you doing right now to attract more customers and get them in your store.”

That was met with a blank stare.

Give it six-months and this store will be out of business, if it even takes that long. ┬áThe way my mother-in-law found her was simply that the store is next to her chiropractor office. It’s not a busy location and the store front is on the side of the strip mall rather than the front.

Lucky for her, I want her to stay open. I love the store. Plus, with my other business, I look specifically for mothers to market too and I help them rid their home of toxic chemicals that are cancer-causing and have been linked to developmental, behavior and health problems.

It won’t take much for this business to have a significant presence on the web. It won’t take much for this owner to experience a 200-500% increase in traffic coming into the store. There is zero competition for her in her location.

Fundamentally though, if a business owner does not put their marketing efforts first, the business is GUARANTEED to fail. Marketing is critical to bringing customers in the doors. Customers spending money is the only thing that will keep the business going. It could be the absolute best business, best business idea, most beautiful store, most awesome location (which it isn’t) but without some way of getting the word out effectively, a business will not make money and will become just a distant memory.

The moral of the story is never allow what you don’t have to effect what you desire for your business. There are incredibly inexpensive ways to market your business and to grow it successfully but if you shut out any intention to do marketing as this business owner did, you’re doomed from the start.

The good news is we’re going to meet for coffee and I will help her stay open and grow her business and she’ll showcase my business in her store. This is an awesome way of marketing too. I’ll get more customers in her door, she’ll stay open which will make me happy and all those customers will be exposed to everything I have to offer.

So, if you’re looking for how to market your business or how to attract more customers, do a little brainstorming and see what you can figure out. Developing strategic alliances like the one I just mentioned could be some of the best resources for your business that you’ll ever get. Referral marketing is powerful.

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