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  • Writer's pictureDr Raewyn Sleeman

Are You Making This Fatal Business Mistake? The Answer May Surprise You

Are you guilty of this common self-deception when your business hits a rough patch?

Picture of a caution sign for small business owners asking Are you making this fatal business mistake?
Are you making this fatal business mistake?

Your business won't fail because you don’t know how to cut hair or cook and serve great meals unless you don't; it will fail because you don’t do marketing. Let me explain.

You start out fine - because you are shiny and new - people love shiny and new. You probably didn’t spend much to promote your business, yet people flocked in - this is great, you say! You don’t need to spend any money on advertising - sweet! And then, slowly, fewer customers, and you wonder what went wrong.

And then you do it. The one thing you didn’t think you would ever do.

You compromise. Even worse, you convince yourself that it’s okay. Your business is at the pivot point of the road to success or failure. Your decisions will be the deciding factor of whether your business will succeed or fail, no one else. Yours.

You start serving smaller portions. No one will know, right? And people will come back - it worked before - sure it did. The truth is customers notice, especially those who were coming back - but soon they too start to drop off.

You overlap hair clients. Surely, they won’t mind waiting a few minutes for their appointment, right? And then you rush to fit in each client. They won’t care, though, right? They have nowhere else to go, so you tell yourself. It won’t be forever; once it picks up, you won’t squeeze them in again. And it will pick up again; it has to, right? Your family is relying on you. After all, you can’t let them down. And what will people think of you if your business fails? It doesn’t bear thinking about it, does it? It must be a slow time of year, right? Customers notice, though, and soon they, too, start to drop off.

You know where this is going, don’t you? You cut back staff, then service suffers more, and then, if you’re desperate, you try a daily deal or deep discount. Sadly, if you’re a business with low margins and costs associated with each customer, this only accelerates failure. While it will be busy for a while, most won’t come back and pay full price. It’s a losing game for the business owner.

The answer? When you hear that voice inside your head start to compromise, telling you things you know aren't right, stop it - right away. Don’t lie to yourself, don’t go down that road. You know where that one ends. Realize and recognise that the future of your business - the well-being of you, your family, staff, and customers -are at stake.

Which road will you choose? Don't think it's not a conscious choice. It is. One that you will need to take because all small business owners get to this pivot point. They all do. You can blame it on other things outside yourself, and most small business owners do.

In fact, when studying what causes and impedes small business success in 2004, Rogoff, Lee & Suh made a point of stating that it would be 'valuable' to let entrepreneurs or business owners know that they may have a potential bias to blame everything except themselves for failure.

If you're telling yourself right now that your failing business is through no fault of your own, you might have the bias.

You might be going down the wrong road. If you are going down the wrong road, there's hope. The Marketing Strategy app gives you confidence to make the right decisions to grow your business profitability. Download and try the app yourself with a 7 day free trial for all access


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