20 Reasons Your Business May Be Failing

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Business Photography Photo of the G Social Media Team Taking Foodie Photos

The competition is fierce, or so some will tell you that when their business plan for your company simply did not work out. This post does not come because we have “been around the block,” but because we have been closely involved with many companies in either launching a successful business plan to start, or rescuing them from years of abuse from PR firms, marketing companies, and other people who are sincerely trying to “help” them. Unfortunately good intentions rarely get the job done. But knowledge, experience and implementation does.

  1. All they had was a dream – that is a great start, but without waking up and making it happen, a dream will not get you far. All of us know a few people who are enthusiastic entrepreneurs who always have a dream, and maybe even a plan, but nothing significant ever happens. They dream and dream and dream, then right before something is about to happen, it’s like they hit reset and start all over again. Remember, the highly successful formula for Walt Disney was Dream, Believe, Dare, and Do. The dream is just the beginning. Get on with it!
  2. Their business plan was not in place – it is amazing how many businesses do not even have a simple plan laid out. Without a blueprint of who your company is, what it needs, where it is headed, and what goals you are to accomplish; you will spin your wheels and be unsuccessful. Why do we need your product or service? How can it help me? What other products are on the market that are similar? How is your product better? How can your product or service change the world for the better or save it overall? What is your budget? When you get funds for your services or products, where does this money go? What is your business growth plan? When will it be profitable and what happens with that profit?
  3. Their attitude was not right – business has changed a lot over the years, and having and old-school attitude in this new world arena can severely handicap you. There is no excuse whatsoever for rude, slanderous, abusive, unethical attitudes and behaviors in today’s age. And for you to allow it personally or in your business is setting yourself up for complete failure. We used to say “AIE – Attitude is Everything.” Well it isn’t, but technically it is.
  4. They did not build or trust their team – we watch folks who run companies and try to do everything themselves. They have a lot of people around them that are willing to help, but they rather do it themselves. It may be an insecurity issue or a control issue; but in the end it stifles growth and limits the teams potential greatly. It sounds backwards, but is sad when we see an owner or manager do anything they can to make sure their team does not succeed. Maybe so they can simply pick up the pieces and do it the “right way.” Team empowerment is lacking greatly in our businesses and community.
  5. Their product was not good – the market research here should have been part of your business plan, but if you have made it this far and have not found out that what you are offering is below standard and just isn’t good enough; then you have two choices: quit, or improve and relaunch.
  6. Their work was not acceptable – while talking to a client today, I made the comment that “Good Enough” is simply not good enough anymore. With all of the great businesses out there that are doing great work and trying to get a piece of the pie, acceptable is no longer acceptable. What are you doing to stand out, do more, and do better? For many the answer is nothing. If you want to succeed, you better make it clear or you will end up just another company.
  7. Their website was below standard or they did not even have one – when our web team was meeting with a client recently, the business pulled up a website and said that they want their new site to stand with and compete against this certain one. With a quick look, our team was able to safely tell the owner that the website shown is way below our lowest standard, and would easily be outdone by us. Who determines what work is acceptable or above standard anyway? The sad part is that many firms will do just enough work to get by, get paid, and move on; leaving a client thinking they’ve got the goods. They do not complete a competitor analysis and simply rely on the business owners approval which many times they do not know much about the web, which allows tech companies to do sub-standard work.
  8. They believed a mobile app would help their business – we have a saying that started many years ago called “don’t get trapped in an app.” Mobile apps are good for certain strategies and resources, but I am not going to your app for it to tell me where to go and what to do. Instead, I use this site called Google for that. While meeting with a mobile app company years ago, they told me that apps are an easy thing to sell with high profit margins. I asked how so. They told me that with all of the mobile app hype, businesses either think they need one or to be on one. So we could create an app for $1000 and charge the client $10,000 – $20,000. I am pretty blunt so I immediately told the techie that I would consider that unethical and a white collar robbery; and the conversation then ended. So did their company soon after.
  9. They do not know what SEO “Search Engine Optimization” is – search engine optimization is where you better your website to allow search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, plus thousands of others to read it better and then place it in a more desirable position in the search results. When meeting with a company out in the Hendersonville area a few months ago, the owner said to me about his expert… “she has been doing our seo for about 2 years, paying her every month, and I know that she is doing the work, but she is not reporting it to me so I just don’t know what she is doing.” I had already pulled up the code on his website, was able to turn my computer around, and tell him… “nothing, she has done no SEO at all on your website and here is the proof.” He put his head in his hands and shook it is disbelief. Our business consultations many times end up being counseling sessions where we educate owners, show how they were victimized, then show them what should have been done, and correct if they request us to do so. Wish it was not this way many times. Businesses can grow much quicker and easier if folks simply did the work they were paid for and did it right.
  10. Their social media strategy was unsuccessful – one of our social media managers was talking to a friend recently who is in-between jobs. Her friend said… “I don’t know, maybe I will just do social media for a few companies until I find a job.” Our teammate was like “NO!” Social media that is meant to work is not something you do like a chore, or take on like running to the store, or do like you are doing the laundry. It amazes us how many credible businesses are willing to gamble on and attempt unsuccessful social media by using a willing but inexperienced friend or family member. Just because your teenager, wife, or friend who is down on their luck knows more than you about social media, does not qualify them to do it if you really want it to work. And some people don’t. I made the comment recently that this company does not really want to know that their social media is working; they simply want to think it is working and stay detached from it as much as possible. Social media managers are notorious for using your business and media to express their views and prejudices. I had to tell one of our managers recently… “that business and the owners are actually pretty cool, they just have a rude person running their social media, and that is the person you are seeing.” If you hire someone to do your social media that thinks they are better than everyone else, then your business is going to subconsciously imply that you think you are better than everyone else. If you hire a happy, neutral, community oriented individual to do your social media, then that is the energy that will show through your businesses’ social media. A selfish person can easily make your company seem selfish. A person that does not have many friends will most likely make your business seem unfriendly, because that’s how they are. When you hire someone with deficiencies, they usually show up quickly through their media output. An applicable person, strategy, schedule, and implementation needs to be in place for anything successful to happen.
  11. Their team did not neutralize their business – which Presidential candidate is your company voting for? What religion is your company? Who are some people that your company does not like? When representing a business where none of these factors matter, it is important for the team to be of the same mindset. You do not want to turn off potential clients, customers and relationships due to prejudices and preferences in your personal life.
  12. They got to referred to the wrong company – just because someone says they do something does not make it true, and it definitely does not mean they do it well. Have you checked this company’s reviews out? Have you looked at the owners LinkedIn page? Have you spoken to other people they have actually done work for? Have you seen this work yourself and is it quality? We hear story after story about folks getting referred to certain companies by highly credible people and organizations in our community, only to be left empty handed when all is said and done. This creates a strong distrust in humanity as a whole.
  13. They did not hold the people that referred them accountable – it is sad and unethical, but many people care more about referring their friends and helping their income, instead of sending a business and owner to a credible person and company that can really help them. It is time that these false referrers are held accountable for being a part of the process that left you and your business depleted of all resources, with little or nothing to show.
  14. Their friends misguided them with ideas – everyone has a opinion, and many times an uneducated and inexperienced one can lead your company to failure. It is so great to have a friend you can trust, but if they trust is allowing you to make bad business decisions, the friendship will soon be on thin ice. We have people approach us and say… “well my friends are pretty sure that this marketing angle will work.” We then ask… “What does your friend do for a living?” And 99% of the time, the friend is not in the marketing and relationship building world, and has never owned a successful business. Unfortunately when it comes to business, a friends advice is free because it is of little value. Are these the type of folks that you are depending on to make your important business decisions? I hope not.
  15. Their PR firm did all of the work, or none of it – these types of companies are turning into PM firms, where sourcing out and project management is the main talent they have. Firms and consultants that specialize in public relations really need to be evaluated nowadays. And some of them are extremely dated, offering you what worked 5, 10 and even 20 years ago because they are many times too lazy to educate themselves on current marketing and media trends that actually work. Having a PR firm does not mean you could charge more, do less, and tell everyone else what to do. Most PR firms do not specialize specifically in social media, website, seo, branding, strategy, or implementation. They usually find a company or person in their circle of friends that they can make money off of, and will do just enough to barely get you by, or make you think so at least.
  16. Their marketing firm isolated them from opportunity – I recently said that the only true job some office managers and marketing companies have is to make sure that their client does not find out about anything better than what they do. So many times this type of selfish person or company hides their client from other opportunities that would have greatly helped their business and growth. Sadly, what used to be credible journalists in our communities have now resorted to gossip and slander to make sure their advertising dollars are not taken away by something that could really help that business. Only for that company to be left high and dry.
  17. They allowed themselves to be experimented on by novices – everyone has to start somewhere and we were all novices at one time, but your business does not have to hire a beginner if you really want to succeed. A lot of our “rescue” work comes from companies who have allowed themselves to be experimented on for years, spent a lot of money, received little results, and now they are serious about making things really happen. So on one hand we are grateful for novices rolling out the red carpet for my team to come in and fix it. But sometimes the damage is done and the company may not make it another year. So if you have time to spend money on experimental procedures, go right ahead. But if you are serious about business and want to move forward right quickly, experience and expertise is the way to go.
  18. They paid for marketing first, expecting the company to produce later – there is a saying that “you get what you pay for.” In media and marketing, this is not always the case. Tech folks are notorious for ignoring market value and charging as much as they can. Then after you pay for it, you are sometimes very lucky to get anything in return. Days, weeks, and months pass with nothing to show and abundant excuses if any communication at all. It is sad, but money changes people, and not for the better many times. Years ago, one of our companies got paid in full for a 12 month project. Since one of the partners was related to one of the subcontractors, he decided to pay that subcontractor before the work ever began. The end result? The subcontractor took the money, did not do the work, and we had to make it up on our end without the client ever knowing anything. Lesson learned.
  19. They paid someone for undefined actions instead of actual deliverables – it is important to know what you are paying for and what you will be receiving. Doing SEO and social media that is temporary or that you cannot track is useless. If you can’t document it, you didn’t do it! With one of the businesses that we do PR for, we tell folks that when your contract is up in 12 months, we will be the only company where you will have something to show for the past year, and for many years to come. That is BIG when it comes to business and your return on investment!
  20. They did not know what type of results to expect and how to gauge success – how do you even determine success for your specific company? When I ask some people, their answer is “when that phone starts ringing!” And that sounds nice, but are you actually paying for sales generators and leads? Then there are other clients we work with that have too much business, do not need any new clients, but they are more concerned about their brand standing and positioning in the community. So we put together plan to help their brand stand out and above their competitors. What are your goals and what do you wish to accomplish? Sit down a put a sure plan together, make milestones, and move forward. Do not let a marketer take you on a merry-go-round for years, with little success. There is so much opportunity out there for all of us. Make a target of it, then go and get it!

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