Marketing and advertising agencies like EAG get distress calls all the time. “Help, we need more business.” Or, “Our prospect pipeline is drying up, we need more leads.” And all too often marketing and advertising agencies are happy to help drive customers to the front door.
Unfortunately, while potential customers are coming in the front door, existing customers are leaving through the back door. This endless revolving-door syndrome is just one indicator of business challenges that aren’t solved with a new marketing plan.
Beyond customer retention, other small business ailments seem to show symptoms about the same time in a business’s lifecycle – leading to more distress and more urgency to sell or market.
Before you ramp up the marketing or advertising, take a good, hard look at your business from a different perspective.
If you expected 5 Marketing Rules for Small Business Survival, sorry to disappoint. These 5 rules are much more important than any marketing strategy we could recommend.
Rule 1: Get Paid
It’s often said, Cash is King.Cash is more like blood to the body. Whether it’s lost slowly or quickly, without it the end is near. It is remarkable how many small and larger businesses do not bill and collect consistently. Diligent billing and collection practices are the first, most important rule for Small Business Survival.
Rule 2: Diversify
No, don’t diversify your product line. Diversify your customer base. That favorite cash-cow customer, big elephant, super-sized account that has taken your business to the next level can leave you in a moment. It happens to even the biggest companies. One day they’re a happy customer, the next day your business is in distress.
Rule 3: Hug Your Customers
It is much cheaper to keep a customer than to go find a new one. Creating customer loyalty is the single most valuable initiative in any good marketing strategy. Keeping good customers doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive but it can’t be passive either. It requires a plan. Need ideas on how to keep customers? Read the book, “Hug Your Customers.”
Rule 4: Create Recurring Revenue
The need to resell a customer each and every time takes a lot of energy and can be very expensive. Almost every business model can be adapted to create a recurring revenue component. Give away the razor then sell the blades. It’s a classic marketing strategy that often gets overlooked. Recurring revenue not only provides business stability but it is one of your stronger assets when determining business value.
Rule 5: Get Marketing Help
You didn’t think we’d do a whole article without mentioning the importance of good marketing, did ya? Of all the professional services a business will seek to help them, marketing and advertising support is always last. Everybody is a do-it-yourselfer, at least for a little while. Good marketing isn’t organic and word-of-mouth doesn’t start by itself. Get help, even if it’s only a little bit.
There you go – five rules to help your business survive and grow. Take another quick look at this list and see it from a different perspective. The five rules that are essential to business survival are the same rules, when applied as proactive business tactics, will help your business grow.