Something just not right with your small business? Whether it’s that sales are down or you just plain don’t like your clients, it may be time to reevaluate your marketing plan for your business. Here are four big clues that it’s time to do so.
1. You have a hard time communicating your value proposition. If prospects aren’t really understanding why your business is better than your competitors, then your messaging and selling points need to be adjusted. You should be able to tell clients why your product or service is unique (even if it’s not totally unique) and why they need you. Without a strong marketing message, your product or service may be too complicated to understand, and therefore, the client is hesitant to sign on the dotted line. Advice from marketing consultant Laura Lake: “Figure out which category you fit in and evaluate your offering. If you feel you meet a need, find ways to explain what you offer that’s easy to understand and provides a solution to the pain points of your target market. Then use a test market and see if you get different results and feedback.” When choosing a test market, don’t just use your friends and family who may want to soften their approach with you. Find strangers or friends of friends who will be totally — even brutally — honest.
2. You are out of leads. Branching out from your accepted strategy into new areas can be a good way to stimulate new ideas or move into new, possibly secondary, markets, say the experts at SnapApp. If you’ve already done everything that you can to develop additional sales leads, including putting consistent effort into your compelling marketing messages and outreach, and your leads have still dried up, then it may be time to ask for outside help. Is there a mentor you can sit down with and review your marketing plan together? Sometimes a person who is outside of the business may be able to see where your holes are when you are too close to it.
3. You aren’t making any money. This is the biggest red flag to stop, step back and assess your small business marketing plan. Perhaps you used to make money, but now, things have changed. That does happen. Society, trends and technology changes can all have an effect on your business and customer. Since these all influence your marketing strategy, it may be time to reassess what works now versus what worked in the beginning. Lake says, “If you are continually putting in the work and not seeing a return, even a small return. Stop! Evaluate! Be honest with yourself, does your business have the capability of generating revenue?”
4. You can’t stand your clients. Albeit a lucky few, I’m sure many small businesses and entrepreneurs have been in this position. But how can you turn down business, regardless if you like your client or not? Business is business, right? Well, yes, in part, that is true. A profitable business is a great thing. However, you became an entrepreneur in order to enjoy your hard work, and putting up with difficult clients can make your work much less enjoyable. If you find that you seem to be attracting a challenging clientele, ask yourself why and what you might do to instead draw the kinds of customers you want. It could mean switching gears to a different target market and marketing strategy. Ease into this transition so you can keep the money flowing in from your current clients while you reach out to and phase in your newbies.
Keep your chin up and be open to new beginnings and change, and you’ll figure out a new marketing plan that works for your business.