Ever Wonder What The Most Common Struggles Of Small Business Owners Are?
Running a small business can be both rewarding and a struggle at times. Heck, we are a small business that works with other small businesses on a day-to-day basis. So, we wanted to list some of the most common struggles of small business owners and list some ways our clients have overcome these challenges.
Most of the time when a small business owner contacts us the first question is “How can I increase sales?”. Sometimes that is the main problem but often there are other problems within the business that can slow sales growth. It is important to look at the business as a whole before creating a marketing plan and setting up an efficient sales system. Starting with a Strategic Plan will save you time and money in the long run vs. rushing off an building a website not knowing what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.
Low Sales Example:
The Business: The current small business does 1MM in sales annually. The owner has told us that they would like to increase sales and he/she feels that a new website can help them do that. Well, it can. But it needs to be done right. Hiring a web designer and hoping for the best is not a good plan.
DIYSB Findings: After completing a Strategic Plan for the business we discovered that the business was only capable of producing 10-20% more product with the current staff and facility before they needed to invest in more employees and upgrade to a larger facility. Getting the 10-20% more sales turned out to be the easy part. Strategically growing the business and making the right investments at the right time was more important.
The Outcome: Over two years we increased sales 300% and helped the owner manage the growth accordingly. Right now we are capped out on sales and production and everyone is happy. Additional growth is not desired and now we are improving sales and marketing processes to become more efferent and keep sales at this level.
Small businesses are often faced with the challenge of one person trying to juggle both sales and marketing. What happens? One or the other does not get done. Or it gets done poorly. It is important to assign time, people and dollars to all of your business functions.
Bad Marketing Example:
The Business: The current small business does 750k in sales annually. The have a sales manager that has been with the company for 20 years and is a great salesman. He/She just does not understand the newer ways to market the business properly. Leads are down and direct mail responses are lower than they have ever been. The postcard that they have been sending out for the last 10 years has never been changed.
DIYSB Findings: After completing the Strategic Plan for the business we found that the business was capable of increasing sales 100% without substantial additional investment. This was good news for everyone. The businesses goal was to have a minimum of 1MM in annual sales and 1.2MM would be great. The marketing plan for the business was strictly “word of mouth”. The business had no website, no marketing plan, no marketing automation and they did not have a defined sales system. They were basically “winging it” and hoping that people would call and order. We don’t think that is the best plan.
The Outcome: DIYSB Marketing completed a total overhaul of the business strategy and marketing plan. The business got a Strategic Plan, Marketing Plan, Website and a Proven Sales System. Now, they are off and running in the right direction.
Poor Sales Conversions
Working really hard to get the right plan, bring in leads and then have your sales staff convert at a low percentage is frustrating. Conversion rates vary depending on the business and products that they sell. Making sure you have a sales and marketing strategy that work together only makes sense.
The Business: The current small business does 2MM in sales. They have a great core of current customers and a decent stream of new leads that come in through their newer website that was updated two years ago. The problem is that their sales staff was converting at a 20% conversion rate. While some industries might be happy with this we felt that we could double this with the right marketing approach.
DIYSB Findings: After completing the Strategic Plan for the business we found that they could deliver 500k more in sales without having to expand. The sales staff was seasoned but most of the incentives were out of date. Their was also no form of marketing automation to help the sales staff nurture clients to a buying decision.
The Outcome: We developed a new sales incentive plan and marketing plan to help the staff convert more leads to sales. We also implemented a referral program to get a few more qualified leads coming in the door. These were some quick tactics that helped improve conversions right away. As time goes on, constant tweaking of the website, landing pages and social media accounts will continue to help grow the business. Conversions are up 10% and we are half way to our goal. Things are looking up and moral of the business has improved drastically!
Sales and marketing go hand in hand. They both need to work together for the greater good of the business. Having the right plan will definitely give your business a better shot at being successful.