I read this weekend that something like 63% of all businesses will fail in the next six years. I have no idea where that figure came from, but it doesn't surprise me. Of course, most of those failures will be from recent startups. And thus my rant…
Babe* came into my office yesterday talking about two of her favorite new businesses. One is her fitness facility – I'll call it Girls Gone Skinny (GGS). It's a small, women-only, workout club run by a solo entrepreneur. The other is a new produce market nearby run by a couple of brothers — I'll call it Fruits-R-Us (FRU).
Babe is very loyal to both and wants them to succeed. She tells all her friends to exercise at GGS and shop for fruits and veggies at FRU. She's the dream customer.
But both places need more business. At GGS, they continually tell customers, "We need more customers! Tell your friends!" At FRU, they told Babe, "If we could get another 50 shoppers a day, we'd be in good shape!"
Both business owners work very hard IN their business. Neither business owner, however, works very hard ON their business. They don't want to market.
Babe belongs to our local Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. It's a great place for networking and promoting your business. And at the weekly meeting new members get one opportunity to promote their business in the mini-trade show.
This week was Girls Gone Skinny's turn to participate in the exhibits. It was her opportunity to promote her fairly new business to the 200 regular attendees. It would have been a great place to build awareness for GGS to community leaders and business people, as well as generate potential new clients. Babe would have been thrilled to help spread the word at the luncheon.
But GGS didn't show up. Her exhibit table was empty save for a small sign with her business's name.
Fruits-R-Us is also a member of the Chamber. Kay told them about the opportunity to exhibit at a meeting. "I don't think we have time to do that," was the response. Babe called the Chamber and signed FRU up for them.
I don't think they'll show.
Will these businesses succeed? I'd say the odds are against them, because they're confusing busyness with effectiveness. They're not clued in to the cold hard fact that if they don't invest their time and money into MARKETING their businesses, they will probably fail. In fact, that's the mistake most new businesses make. They think, "if we build it, they will come." But if nobody knows they exist, how will anybody find them?
Marketing your business is not a luxury. It's not an optional line-item in your budget. It's not "when I have extra time time, I'll do some marketing."
If you chose not to market your business TODAY…If you choose not to invest the time promoting your products and services TODAY…If you choose to not get the word out TODAY…I can tell you what will happen…
You will fail tomorrow.
*Babe – my wife, aka Sweetie or sometimes "Kay"