sam dixon smiling

2019 Review: Top 5 mistakes that small businesses have been making this year.

At the end of any year (especially a decade) we’re all taking time to reflect on our businesses. Our achievements, its success and where we’ve invested time and money.

I’m frequently asked ‘how can I do things differently?’. So to answer this question, have an opportunity to share my opinions and encourage you to consider changes, I’ve pulled together my thoughts on where I’ve seen small businesses being held back by achieving their greatest success these past 12 months.

And don’t worry…I won’t keep you hanging! I’ll share what you can do to do things differently in 2020.

ONE

They’ve tried to be ‘everything to everyone’. I get it, we’re all so passionate in what we do that we want to work with everyone. But the downside is our marketing and messaging becomes diluted and we become un-relatable and that all so important rapport is missing because our content misses the point. This year I’ve worked with more women that ever to help them become comfortable on their niche, their ideal client, who they want to work with and before we even finish our time together, I can see a transformation begin. Very few businesses realise their full potential by appealing to everyone and being a jack of all trades.

My advice: Be absolutely clear who you help, how you help and the transformation you can bring to that particular group of ideal clients. Yes, I can help every business owner with their marketing but I choose to help established and experienced women in business. Those who aren’t just starting out and need the basics. By being laser-focussed on your ideal client you can create messages, content and a business that speaks to them. Remember Seth Godin’s quote “When you speak to everyone you speak to no-one”. Don’t be that business that tries to talk to everyone!

TWO

It’s an easy mistake when you run your own business. Chasing the vanity numbers on social media. Quite often we’ve had Facebook and Instagram accounts long before we even started out business. So it feels like we’re at home on business pages and on the grid. So we get comfy. We get obsessed. Adding to our likes and our followers feels like progress. Feels like success. But is it? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool, but especially these past 12 months I’m hearing from new clients that they’ve spent too long focusing on growing their social media numbers but it’s done nothing to their profits. To their bottom line. Because they’ve attracted the wrong type of followers, going only for vanity metrics. Or many of the coaches that are offering help don’t know how to convert, sell or what to do with an audience once they’ve got them.

My advice: Appreciate the social media for the tool it is. But reflect, is it working or can I use my time better elsewhere? Am I comfortable relying on social media. A platform I don’t own or don’t control. How can I step out of the tactics of social media and increase my visibility, my opportunities to be found by other methods such as email marketing, blogging, podcasts, networking, in person events, PR and other traditional forms of marketing. There’s a whole other world out there! And infact, focus on content marketing and blogging and you’ll find that your social media content is done for you. I’m loving teaching how business owners can re-use and re-purpose content to help them become more productive. Newsflash…social media isn’t the be all and end all! Soz if this is new news to you!

THREE

Not asking for the sale. I get it, I truly do. You’re hanging out on social media a lot this year (see point number two). And we keep getting told, be social and don’t sell….no-one wants to see you being a Spammy Pammy. I’m seeing two extremes. Business owners who didn’t get ‘the memo’ to be social and the other extreme where they’re just sharing or have no strategy in place to convert their audience into clients and advocates.

My advice: Be aware of traditional sales processes. Yes bring your brand and your business into a clients awareness, inform them, educate them and share your expertise, but don’t forget to let them know you’re open for business. And how they can work with you to solve a problem they have! It doesn’t have to be a ‘buy my stuff’ approach, but remember to sell! Re-frame what ‘selling is’ and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable doing it. Especially if it’s infront of your ideal clients…who are all ears when they want to work and buy from you.

FOUR

Business owners focusing only on attracting new clients. This is a HUGE opportunity for many businesses. You’ve invested so much time and money in acquiring new customers, new clients, topping up that sales funnel…have you thought about what your strategy is to retain them, upsell them and encourage them into becoming raving fans of yours? When I ask this question I often hear the reply of “I send them a monthly newsletter”. Whoopdie doo! These are the clients who have invested in you and your products and services. Show them some love. And guess what, they’ll thank you in all matter of ways.

My advice: When planning your marketing activity in 2020 make sure at least 20% of all your activity is geared to increasing loyalty, retention and creating advocacy. Go back to your ‘ideal client insights’ and work out what loyalty means to them. And deliver it. It’s one of my favourite areas so if you need help, give me a shout.

FIVE

So many business owners have got caught in the only online marketing trap. Forgetting the importance of getting out there, building a brand and utilising other forms of marketing. My business is about 75% online but I can hand on heart tell you that I wouldn’t have experienced the online success without attending networking events, groups and other in person opportunities. It’s done loads for my visibility, loads for my connections and loads for my confidence. I realise that not everyone is comfortable getting out there, or can get out there, but if it’s fallen off your radar on ways to grow your business, pop it back in your plans for 2020. Tried networking and events and not found what you’re looking for? Keep trying. Or, do what I did and set up your own! Not all groups are stuffy like the traditional networking events. Check out Thrive Collective for example! Shameless plug alert!

I’m writing this list and these insights for anyone who knows that they’ve got complacent with their marketing and needs a little oomph for next year.

I’m writing this list and these insights for anyone who wants to do things differently next year.

Next year I’m focusing more on helping established business owners rely less on social media, and become more confident and informed on other ways to attract their ideal clients and how to grow their business through loyalty and advocacy. For more information on my 6 months Marketing Programme, Master Your Marketing, CLICK HERE.

I’m Sam Dixon, founder of Thrive With Sam Dixon, a Marketing Consultant to ambitious businesswomen who want to launch, grow and scale their business with flexible marketing support. 

For a free 30 minute discovery call get in touch by email hello@thrivewithsam.com or come join Thrive Collective, my monthly membership community. JOIN HERE.