I have seen two small businesses fail this year, very close to my own business, very unfortunate, please don’t make the same mistake.

I have to say, as a small business owner myself, it scares the pants off me. But, I think that it is something to embrace as well as fear. I have learnt from their mistakes and I tell you what… it is better than learning from your own.

Here are the two main things I have learnt from them.

1. Market your business.

What? You mean let people know that you’re actually in business and your doors are open and they can use your services or buy your products?

Yep.

So, hang on, I have a sign out the front, I’m on a busy road, people can see my sign.

Yep. Then they get to where they are going to and forget you. Then when they drive past again, they remember, but then they get back to their office and read some emails from someone else and just go with them because it is easier. Yes, people look for easier options. It doesn’t always happen exactly like that, but hey, it’s pretty damn close. I know I’ve done it before.

So what can we do to improve our small business, from a marketing point of view?

  1. Set up a reasonable website – it doesn’t even need to be spectacular. Just reasonable.
  2. Get emails of everyone who comes in to you business. Email is by far the cheapest form of marketing.
  3. Invest in local marketing strategies. These can include adwords, signs, mailbox drop, and you know what, there are people who will drop your ads in mailboxes rather cheaply too.
  4. Think outside the box of small business. (I know, think outside the box, ugh, who doesn’t say that!) Why not offer to pay for someones lunch/coffee/newspaper/etc in exchange for a business card?

2. Be at your desk when expecting people.

Hang on… so you’re saying that if a customer shows up, I should be there to provide my goods or service in exchange for money?

Yep.

Well, that’s pretty bloody obvious, who wouldn’t be there for their customers?

These two businesses.

Seriously?

Yep, don’t underestimate how easy it is to muck these things up (with a capital F). I know that these seem pretty ‘smack you in the face’ obvious, but i’ll tell you what… I’ve seen two small businesses hand their keys in for the last time.