5 Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Mistakes In Marketing

Building and maintaining a successful brand is all about marketing your products, services or yourself. Although mistakes can be thought of as opportunities to learn new things, marketers often have to work with very small margins for error, namely due to being very limited with their time and available resources. All it takes is a single mistake to further limit their resources and it would take even more time just to make things right, let alone do a decent job advertising the brand. Here are some of the most common marketing pitfalls small business get caught in, as well as advice on how to avoid them in the first place.

1.) Not having an advertising plan

Promoting your products and services without an advertising plan is nothing more than shooting blindfolded and hoping to get a hit. While you may experience a lucky streak and achieve your results, in the end, you’ll be wasting a lot of money and time in order to do so. An advertising strategy will outline precisely what it is you want to accomplish, but a marketing plan will provide you with details on how you’re going to do it. If you plan out your strategy properly, you will know the exact tactics you need to deploy, how much will they cost and the amount of time needed to achieve positive results.

2.) Not having a business website

Considering that people tend to search for everything these days, whether it’s for directions, pricing and availability information or to simply to compare two products, having a business website to provide them with that information is very important. Just make sure that the website you’re making will be mobile friendly, or at least responsive. This way, you’re catering to both desktop and mobile users and providing them with an excellent user experience.Common Marketing Mistakes

3.) Lack of a dedicated marketing budget

Whether you’re running a small to medium-sized business or a billion-dollar corporation, advertising is crucial for your company’s growth and profitability. The issue is that the majority of startups and small businesses simply don’t allocate enough resources into advertising, or worse, they don’t even have a dedicated budget for marketing. A marketing budget is calculated based on the industry you’re working in, the size of your company, as well as the stage of growth you’re currently in. It is split into costs regarding brand development such as blogs, websites, sales, etc. and business promotion costs that include advertising, different marketing campaigns, events, product and service promotion, etc.

As a rule of thumb, a small business that generates less than few million dollars a year Marketing Mistakesneeds to allocate around 7%-8% of their overall revenue for marketing. That said, startups and small businesses are notoriously low on cash, which is why business owners often get into massive bank and credit card debt in order to keep their companies afloat. A much more reasonable idea would be to consider low rate personal loans, namely due to significantly lower interest rates, which can also be completely personalized, but also very quick to get a hold of. All you have to do is get a personalized rate quote, which can be done for free, complete the application and your loan will be ready within about 72 hours.

4.) Lack of an adequate sales funnel

A properly developed advertising budget requires going over every little detail regarding your sales funnel. This requires knowing the exact number of monthly visits, generated leads, converting leads, as well as the costs associated with generating and converting them, such as content creation, website development, pay-per-click advertising, SEO etc. You also need to know the typical value and the revenue of every new conversion and use all this information to further improve your strategy and maximize your revenue, which leads us to the last mistake on this list and that is:

5.) Not tracking your results

Unless you track your results, there’s no way to know whether your strategy actually works. Whether it’s tracking website goals with Google Analytics, conversion rates via your pay-per-click advertiser or the amount of paying customers you need to generate in order to keep your company running. This information is crucial- without it, you’re not making a way for improvement and you’re essentially throwing all of your hard-earned money away.

These mistakes are just the tip of the advertising iceberg. Other mistakes include not researching your market, not knowing your target audience, failing to keep track of your competitors and simply positioning marketing as a cost, instead of an investment. Develop a strategy and create a plan to see it through, measure the results, tweak and repeat. As simple as it sounds, far too many companies don’t even advertise in the first place, limiting the amount of brand exposure, as well as the amount of revenue they could potentially generate.

Author Bio:

Lauren Wiseman

Lauren Wiseman is an entrepreneur, currently based in Melbourne and a regular contributor to bizzmarkblog.com. She assists clients in growing their personal and professional brands in a fast-changing and demanding market environment. Covering finance and investment topics, Lauren strongly believes in holistic approach to business.

 

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Maintaining a Positive Cash Flow and Why It Is Important for Your Business

Positive Cash Flow

One of the most important parameters of your business’ health is its liquidity, which comes down to the amount of cash you have on your hands at all times. Insufficient cash flow is something that can hurt your company severely, as 60% of failed businesses report that their collapse was due to some kind of cash flow problems. In general, the liquidity of an asset or its security is determined by its potential to be traded quickly without losing value. In this sense, cash is the most liquid asset, while a car or real estate are less liquid since you can’t trade them right away without being forced to lower their price. Now let’s see what liquidity means for your company and how to maintain it at a satisfactory level.

The importance of liquidity

When it comes to particular businesses, they are considered liquid if they have enough cash at their disposal to effectively cover all their liabilities in the forthcoming period. Note that the fact that you’re making profit doesn’t necessarily mean your company is liquid. In accrual accounting, as soon as the invoice is sent, the amount of money you are owed is calculated as income. However, this is usually not the point in time when the money is actually transferred to your account. Why is this discrepancy important?

The fact is, you can’t pay the bills, taxes, goods or raw material with invoices. You can use only cash. So, to keep your business running and your liabilities under control, you need to find the way to maintain a positive cash flow. A lack of liquidity can damage your credit rating as well, since you might find yourself unable to pay out your loans. Furthermore, having money on your hands enables you to make smart strategic moves whenever an opportunity arises. For instance, you can take advantage of discounts or special offers that last for a limited amount of time and thus save money, but that’s impossible without being able to pay for those things right away.

Liquidity is also very important for seasonal businesses and new businesses. Neither of these have time to lose, and need every dime they can get their hands on in order to keep the business rolling.

Maintaining the cash flow

To maintain a positive cash flow, it’s necessary to always have a plan. When planning to give out discounts to your customers, make sure you know exactly how it will affect your balance. The actual cost of your offer and profit margins should be calculated in detail. It’s useful to try cash accounting, which takes into account only the transactions made in cash and provides you with valuable info regarding the liquidity of your business.

However, your financial plan can’t be perfectly designed and you can’t predict all the factors. Therefore, you might end up deep in trouble anyway. Loans are the easiest way to inject some cash into your company, but this should be your last resort. First, you should try to get the money from your debtors, and avoid making new ones. There are a few ways to do this.

Maintaining a positive cash flow

One of the things you could try is recurring payment. You can give your customers an option to subscribe to your service and pay periodically, usually on a monthly level, instead of paying for everything up front. This flexible paying system will make people more eager to use your service. It will do good things for you as well, since you’ll get a regular and stable cash injection you can count on every month. You can use recurring payment platforms that automatize the whole process and leave you with more time to deal with your business.

Another way is  factoring. Factoring firms will buy your accounts receivable right away, in return for a small percentage of the money you’re owed. A factoring company basically “buys” your future income and then proceeds to deal with the original debtor.

Instead of maximizing cash flow, you can also try minimizing your liabilities. A uselessly large inventory or an unnecessary excess of employees should be avoided at all times. Cut your regular expenses whenever you can and always try to get an extra few days to pay what you’re due.

Of course, if your business is not doing well, no trick can help you maximize your cash flow. But if your business is generally healthy, then liquidity is all about good planning, balancing ongoing expenses and making sure you get the money you’re owed in time. This is something you ought to be doing regularly and systematically, making it a routine part of your business.

Author Bio:

Jolene Rutheford

Jolene Rutheford is a marketing specialist- turned blogger, currently writing quality content for Technivorz. She is interested in and passionate about media and social media, digital marketing, psychology and much more.  Jolene loves coffee, jazz, dystopian and fantasy movies.

 

Any questions for Jolene or I? Please leave them below!