By Kim Jackson
I anchor everything I do in the data. Lately I’ve been looking into small business stats and found the following:
- 85% of small businesses survive their first year
- 75% survive their second year
- 60% survive past their 5th year
That means that close to half of all small business do NOT survive beyond 5 years. Considering that 99.9% of ALL the companies in the US are small businesses, that number is hard to ignore!
Digging a little deeper, it turns out that over 50% of the factors that contribute to small business failure are DIRECTLY related to MARKETING failures:
- 17% failed because of poor product offerings
- 14% failed because of poor (or inexistent) marketing
- 14% failed because they ignored their customers
Add that up, and 45% of all factors that lead to small business failure can be SOLVED by better marketing!
Marketing doesn’t work when deployed haphazardly; you must have a coordinated, dynamic, and long-term strategy that evolves when required. It takes hard work, $$, and focus! TESTING is also a big part of a successful marketing plan. Getting product offerings right takes trial and error, and what works today might now work tomorrow (and vice versa).
CUSTOMERS must be the central part of your small business messaging and your branding strategy. All too often I see businesses pushing products instead of SOLUTIONS. This subtle change puts the customer at the center of your strategy and is far more effective for the long-term health of your small business.
I would be remiss if I did not mention another large factor that contributes to business failure, and that is access to capital. 52% of small business owners who apply for a loan are rejected.
Having a solid marketing plan goes a LONG way to gaining bank approval.
Have a great website and show reports on search engine results over time (yes that means you invest in SEO – Search Engine Optimization). A bank needs to see DATA- show them you have a plan, a forecast, and a strategy to grow your clientele over time.
Kim Jackson is owner and founder of Personal Brands Media, a micro-media marketing agency focused on small to medium sized businesses based in Flower Mound TX.