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Three Little-Known Mistakes Small Businesses Make (and How to Avoid Them)
Posted on March 6th 2014
We’re well into 2014, and now is a good time to check in with your business goals you set in January.
Wait, you did set business goals, didn’t you?
According to Bloomberg, 8 of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months of starting out. There are many reasons for this, such as:
- Not being clear on your value proposition
- Not knowing what your customers want
- Not differentiating yourself from your competition
This post explores more in depth.
But why would someone let this happen in the first place? Why wouldn’t they safe-guard their business knowing that this could happen?
In my opinion, the number one reason entrepreneurs let failure happen is because they are too tied up doing things that don’t matter or contribute to their business growth in any way. It’s a classic treadmill syndrome, where you’re busy working on daily tasks which don’t yield much progress in the long run.
They fail to realize that being busy is not always productive. Clearly, we can learn a lot from other aspiring business owners.
Here are 3 mistakes to avoid as an entrepreneur:
1. Focusing on all social media at once
Which social media networks do you use for your business? Chances are, you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, YouTube and a few more.
You also keep your eyes peeled for every new kid on the social media block. Smart, eh?
According to a survey done by Aweber, 94% small business owners think online marketing is very important for the growth of business but only 12% think they are “pros” at it.
29% of these business owners are overwhelmed with online marketing. And why won’t they be? The usual scatter-gun approach to use all social media platforms is not unheard of.
One moment, you’re thinking of something cool to put up on your Facebook page. Next, you’re trying to boost traffic through a new video on YouTube. There’s so much catching up to do in so little time.
It’s a constant struggle on the treadmill where you’ve committed to so many social tools that you don’t know which one to drop.
STOP... Take a deep breath. Relax. Now, evaluate what’s happening here.
The easiest way to start is by looking at your Google Analytics account. Which sources are sending you most traffic? Let’s say it’s blogging. People find you through your blog.
Now ask: How much effort are you putting into it? Could you boost traffic to your website if you put little more effort into it? What other things you’ll have to drop off your to-do list?
When it comes to online marketing, know that medium is the message. Your tone in an email would be a lot less formal than a printed brochure or newsletter, wouldn’t it? In order to become a marketing pro, laser-focus on a medium that is most conducive to your growth.
2. Not going visual
There’s been a surge of visual marketing tools in the last few years.
For example, here were the top three tools chosen by the 1,486 who were surveyed by Aweber:
- Vine (22%)
- Instagram (20%)
- Pinterest (17%)
Do you see what’s common between the three? All three are visual marketing tools. Vine lets you create super-short videos; Instagram lets you add vintage-style photos and now even video and Pinterest adopts the pinboard model.
If you’re not making use of visuals on your website, social media accounts or blog in some way, you’re missing out because 40% people will respond better to your visual content than plain text.
The good news is there are free tools to create infographics, videos, CTA banners, presentations etc. Presenter is one example.
3. Measuring the wrong things
What does “1000 likes” on Facebook mean? What do 20,067 followers on Twitter do for your business?
For an amateur marketer, it’s a moment of celebration to hit their 1000th like, and understandably so. But think about this: If all those fans and followers click and grab your free offer, never to come back, is it any good?
It’s not just enough to see the numbers rise. Instead, focus on how engaged they are with you.
Many small business marketers are confused by “engagement” which lacks a clear definition.
Engagement could mean different things to different people. For a cup cake shop owner, engagement could be people taking up a 5-for-2 price deal. For an online retail outlet, engagement could mean the number of “clicks” in their newsletter.
My point? Don’t measure the wrong things. Because that’s worse than not measuring anything at all. Don’t invest in buying “Likes” in the hopes of expanding your fanbase. That’s like consuming empty calories – they won’t do you any good.