If your small business is struggling, you’re not alone.
A census done by the Federal Reserve Bank showed that 3 out of 10 small businesses in the U.S. didn’t believe they would survive 2021 without government assistance.
If you’re in a similar situation and want to rescue your business, there is hope — regardless of what the economy as a whole is doing.
Go back to basics
To get your business back on track, it helps to break the marketing game down into the simple basics…
No matter what business you’re in, there are two main players in the game:
1. Your business, and
2. Your ideal customer
The first task is to figure out who your ideal customers are and if there are enough of them who are reachable and would be willing to do business with you to make your business viable.
Determining this is what we call market research.
It’s finding out who your potential customers are, where (and through what communication channels) they can be reached, and what offer you need to make to them to get them sufficiently interested.
If you can’t find a potentially viable pool of prospects/customers, then it might be time to rethink your products/services or possibly even your entire business model.
The trick is to discover and/or develop a good match between your business and a viable customer base.
Once you’ve determined that you have a good target audience and that they can be gotten interested in doing business with you, all that’s left to do is to communicate with them in large volume (i.e. consistently and frequently) to get them to understand the value and benefits of what you have to offer — and communicate this in a way they can easily understand.
That’s essentially all there is to marketing, and it gives you a roadmap for rescuing your struggling business.
Of course, there are a million different ways to do the above. But if you break it down like this and then keep it as simple as possible, you’ll win at it.
9 steps to recovery
Take a close look at your business and figure out real answers to these nine critical elements:
1. Who specifically is your ideal target customer?
2. Where are these ideal customers located geographically?
3. What communication channels are they already on (e.g. Which TV stations do they watch? What radio stations do they listen to? What publications/websites do they read? Where do they hang out and socialize? Who do they go to for advice? etc.)
4. How can your business realistically reach them on one or more of these communication channels?
5. What can you offer them that they will want — i.e. what offer can you make to alleviate their pain points or satisfy their needs/desires?
6. Can you offer this profitably and will it be viable?
7. If not, what can you change about your products/services/business model to make it viably and profitably meet the needs of an audience that is available to you?
8. Are they likely to consider and accept your offer? If possible, test your offer out on a sample of your target customer base. Revise and refine it as needed until it’s sufficiently appealing to your target customers.
9. Once you feel good about having an offer that will appeal to your ideal customers, and you have a viable base of these ideal customers that you can reach, start communicating consistently and frequently to them about the benefits and value you have to offer them.
Help them understand your value, how you benefit them, and why they’d be crazy to not take you up on your offer.
Make this conversation about them, not about you (how can you help them, rather than bragging about how great you are).
Communicate… a LOT
Communicate way more than you think you should.
If your message is relevant to the people you are communicating with, they will welcome hearing from you. So don’t worry about over-communicating.
Most small businesses communicate with their customer base far less than their customers would like them to.
There are many effective ways to communicate, including via email, advertising, direct mail, phone calls, in-person contacts, social media, workshops/presentations, etc. — any way you can get genuine communication across that connects and resonates with your target audience and helps them understand that they will benefit from your products/services.
Don’t overthink or overcomplicate this. Just be yourself and communicate at the level you know they’ll understand and respond to.
The more you communicate, the more your business exists in their minds — and the more they will start reaching out to you seeking what you have to offer them.
When they start reaching, they will also start exchanging money for your products/services — and your income will increase.
This is the sure path to transforming a struggling business into a thriving successful one.