Failure Doesn’t Take Long

In spite of the “failing economy”, I continue to see new businesses pop up – even in the more rural areas of the country. With many years of marketing experience under my belt, I continue to observe two common mistakes. With businesses failing left and right, young entrepreneurs cannot continue to make the mistakes made during better economical days and survive. Today, failure comes quickly. First, some new businesses will put a tremendous amount of elbow grease into attractive signage, paint jobs, cleanliness, art, plants and flowers – whatever it takes to give their businesses curb appeal. Customers are naturally drawn through the doors of this business. Their appearance promises a positive experience for quality and customer service once inside. Unfortunately, I sometimes find product quality lacking – at least in comparison to competitors in more metropolitan areas.  What happens to a consumer like me whose expectations are dashed? We don’t return. Second, the opposite is also true for some newer businesses. They deliver a quality product, but they can’t get the customer to come through the doors because their space is unattractive, poorly organized and with little to no attention to décor. These entrepreneurs dismiss ambiance as important. They are counting on word of mouth to bring new customers in because of product quality. They have it half right. The problem these businesses face is drawing enough customers in time for the business to survive. If no one comes through the unattractive front door, sales don’t happen. Established businesses with this second problem – if they have made it through more positive economic times – already have a following. Unfortunately, the first scenario will not make it without offering the best product available regardless of economic environment. There is balance in all of marketing, but if a certain amount of ambiance accompanying the highest quality in product is not available, 2009 consumers will not be kind to your business. Although this all appears simple in concept, it appears to be a concept that is difficult to grasp. I find that owners are interested in the compliments, but not necessarily in a fair and honest evaluation. I recommend that a new business owner seek out customers who come in only once or twice and ask the question, “Why haven’t you returned?” That consumer and that question, honestly answered, may save your business.

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