Carolyn Stafford from Connect Marketing has a great report and the 10 top marketing mistakes small businesses make.
Report on Marketing Mistakes as pdf.
In summary however:
Mistake #1 they lose sight of the big vision – for their life and their business. Carolyn recommends:
Stop spinning your wheels. If you have lost sight of the vision for your life and your business, I
recommend you get up close and personal with yourself. I think you need to spend some time working on your business and not in it. Schedule this time in every week or it won’t happen.
Mistake #2 they don’t follow a plan and take a ‘scattergun’ approach to marketing.
Follow this simple Step Process to get yourself a simple marketing plan as a starting point:
1. Get some marketing know-how
2. Do a marketing audit.
3. Get a marketing plan.
Mistake #3 they slash (or even wipe out) the marketing budget.
If you are a solo operator, I suggest you seriously consider employing someone so you can focus on working ‘on the business’ instead of ‘in the business’. The day I employed my first staff member was the turning point for my business. Suddenly I had to generate the new leads and business to fund their salary and it inspired the growth of the business.
Mistake #6 they communicate poorly with the people that matter most to their business.
Spend a few days going through your database of contacts. Apply the 80/20 rule and identify the 20% of people (include clients, suppliers, business associates) who are likely to give you more business or are advocates for you in some way. Then don’t wait. Call them up. Invite them out for a coffee. Don’t make it a sales pitch. Ask them for feedback on how you can improve your service to them. This is by far the best way to get honest feedback.
Mistake #7 they don’t seek professional support or help until it’s too late.
Review your business vision and make a list of all the kinds of professionals you could use to help you in your business. List the top three you need to achieve your goals for the next 90 days. Think aboutwho you might know who does good work in these areas. Ask your friends in business who they use for their marketing (provided of course you like the way they market themselves and they are getting good results). Do some research on the internet too.
Mistake #8 they stop networking and building business relationships.
Mistake #9 they stop being creative and innovative and are slow to adapt to the environment.
Mistake #10 they reduce investment in technology and the internet.
Make sure that a web strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy and budget. Look for an emarketing strategist to work with on your website – do NOT simply get a designer or an IT person to work on it in the early stages.