Meet “Fred.” “Fred” isn’t his real name. He asked us to keep it anonymous. That’s why “Fred” has a paper bag over his head. “Fred” is angry. “Fred” is SO angry, he drew a “frowny face” on his paper bag. “Fred” can’t take “Mrs. Fred” on vacation this year because he had to work. He had to work because nothing seems to be working out for “Fred’s” business. He just can’t meet his sales goals, and thus his income goals, and he can’t figure out why. He is great with his current customers, and they all seem to like him. “Fred” always goes the extra mile constantly letting his customers know how special they are, but eventually they stop doing business with him. Sometimes, “Fred” gets so mad that he takes it out on his employees. He just can’t seem to figure it out though. Sometimes, an advertising account executive or a marketing consultant calls on “Fred’s” business. “Fred” is smarter than all those sales-type marketing people. He sends them away every time they call on his business because he’s the best at what he does, and his work can stand on its own. Unfortunately, one day “Fred’s” work will stand on its own…all alone.
Don’t Be Like “Fred”
“Fred” isn’t alone. A lot of business owners don’t believe in marketing either. Since there is no entrance exam or special licensing to be an entrepreneur (and there shouldn’t be…ever), something is missed in their business education. A lot of business people get out of the gate running brilliantly. They get off to a great start relying on family, friends, and neighbors for their customer base. They make a lot of money early, then their business plateaus, there’s a shift in their market or a key employee leaves. Suddenly, their monthly revenues start dropping along with cash flow. The beginning of the end of their business has arrived. And if they don’t change something they have been doing (or start something they haven’t been doing) to find new customers and to keep the customers they have, it will all soon be over for that business. The next time your customer comes by to see how the business is doing, there will be a “For Lease” sign in the window.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way…
Conversely, there are a lot of business people who do believe in marketing. I like to call those people “successful.” Successful business people recognize that marketing is a given to succeed in business. Successful business people understand that they have to find new customers constantly. Because life changes. People move, change their lifestyles, and (quite frankly) people die. The phrase “Fail to Plan” is the same as “Plan to Fail.” For a business owner not to believe in marketing is like a parachutist who doesn’t believe in gravity. The very same force that causes a business to thrive can be devastating if it is ignored. Successful business people also understand that they are not the only ones marketing to their customer base. Their clients are also marketing to their customer base. If you fail on your marketing, it allows your competition to persuade your customer to visit them instead of your business. That’s probably not what you want for your business.
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