The U.S. Small Business Association defined a small business as:
…“one that employs fewer than 1,500 people and generates a maximum annual revenue of $41.5 million.”
But some of you reading may be thinking, “1,500 people?? Try me, myself, and I! I’m a one-man show over here!”
Or maybe you do have a small, very close-knit team, but you’re still in the thick of the startup struggle.
Feeling like you’re working round the clock every single day but still failing to really grow.
If that sounds like you, there are 6 things we can think of right off the bat you might be doing wrong that’s stunting your growth.
Read till the end of this post because we’re sharing 6 reasons why your small business is still small.
So you’re ready to see growth, ready to start making moves that make a difference, and start scaling.
But what you’re currently doing isn’t working to help you achieve that.
A study from the Bureau Labor of Statistics said:
“20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years.
Leaving, only 25% of new businesses to make it to 13 years or more.”
LYFE Marketing is about 11 years old at the time that we’re writing this, so we’ve already made it farther than 65% of new businesses do.
You don’t want to be another statistic: a company that closed down almost as quickly as it opened.
So let’s jump into our reasons as to why your small business is still small.
6 Reasons Why Your Small Business Is Still Small
1. What you offer is confusing to customers
Or at the very least- the way you’re describing what you offer is confusing to customers.
And confused customers, don’t buy,
Let’s look at LYFE Marketing as an example.
You guys have probably heard me in every single video say:
“I’m Brandi with LYFE Marketing, the digital marketing agency with a mission to help small businesses grow.”
Anyways, in that one statement, we’re telling you who we are, what we do, and who we help.
We’re a digital marketing agency, and we help small business owners grow their business.
Now, we technically could get more detailed…
…talking about the services we offer and what SEO can do for your business or how we help you get more loops on your Reels and TikToks.
But for somebody who is new to all this, doesn’t know what SEO is, or has never seen a TikTok- that kind of info is just going to confuse them.
And even if they do know what those things are, maybe it’s not the exact service they were interested in…
…or they just had a specific question about something else.
It’s too much information upfront.
Your initial offer needs to be clear and concise while answering the three things we mentioned before:
- who you are,
- what you do, and
- who you help.
If you’re not currently doing that in one sentence, then you’ve got work to do.
And to take this one step further before we move to the next point.
Another common mistake we see business owners make a lot with this is they’re trying to make their message too cute or too creative.
We’re not saying to have a bland marketing campaign, but don’t get so clever that your message gets lost as a result.
When we onboard new clients, one of the first things we do is dissect everything they’re currently doing or have done to date.
That includes what their website looks like.
Above the fold is a term for the space on your website at the top that people see without having to scroll anywhere.
It’s considered precious real estate because it’s often the first thing customers see when they come to your website.
And so, it’s the perfect spot to put your concise offer statement as we talked about.
But many business owners fail to utilize that space properly.
We often see phrases like, “Realize your dreams,” or “Today is the day,”…
…but does that tell you anything about what kind of company it is, what they do, or who they help?
Don’t compromise the clarity of the message for aesthetics or creativity. Make sure your offer statement is clear first and foremost.
2. You’re targeting everybody.
We’ve talked about this in SEVERAL posts on our blog so we’re not going to harp on it too much more here, but it’s important to at least mention it.
If your audience is everyone, it’s no one.
We talk about this in more detail with examples in our small business branding post…
…as well as our target marketing example post to help you nail down your target audience.
But going back to point #1, your offer statement needs to address who your offer is for and how it helps them.
Your statement can’t do that effectively if your offer is for anyone and everyone.
So if you’re struggling to grow, take another look at who your target market is and make sure you have a specific, defined audience.
3. You’re trying to fulfill every job role yourself.
Now we get in the early days of a startup, sometimes you do have to wear all the hats for a little bit.
We’ve talked about LYFE Marketing’s history before on our blog…
…but the short version is that Sean, Sherman, and Keran were in college when they had the idea for this company.
They didn’t start out with the 60+ employees that we have now, and so they were taking on every role themselves.
Sean actually shares our full company story and how we grew in this video, so check it out next if you’re interested in finding out our story.
But at some point, you have to delegate the tasks that need to be done in order to grow.
A lot of business owners stunt their own growth because they:
- aren’t trusting enough to release control, or
- haven’t taken the steps to build a team yet so they don’t have anyone to delegate to yet.
And some business owners do have a team and have technically delegated tasks to them…
…but they’re still spending their time hovering and micromanaging, so it hasn’t really freed up their schedule like it should.
We know your business is your baby, so it can be hard to let go and let other people start taking different tasks off your plate.
But you need to if you want your business to grow.
And don’t get us wrong, you should be diligent in surrounding yourself with the right people.
Don’t just pass off tasks to people who aren’t proving themselves capable of executing them well.
But at the same time don’t let finding the right team prevent you from finding them at all and delegating your work.
Tasks that you should be passing off include:
- tasks you don’t like or aren’t the best at,
- monotonous tasks that are easy and necessary but time-consuming,
- and tasks that aren’t your speciality.
That last category is often the hardest to delegate because you may be good at something and you may like doing it…
…but it’s not what you’re absolutely AMAZING at.
You can and should find people who are equally as good as you to take on the tasks in that last category.
This is so that you can focus your talents on what you are uniquely great at.
4. You’re trying to be everywhere at once.
Now at this point, we’re not talking about you as a person, We’re talking about your business trying to be everywhere at once.
Facebook, Google, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube- the list goes on.
A lot of times we see new business owners trying to tackle all of these platforms at once…
…instead of mastering one and then moving on to the next one.
You can have an overarching social media strategy…
…but that should then break down into smaller nuances and technicalities with a specific approach for each platform.
The way you’re taking on TikTok should look a little different than how you approach Facebook.
Unless you have a huge team of people, which if you’re reading this post, we’re guessing you don’t…
…then you likely don’t have the capacity to master all of the online platforms there are out there all at the same time.
So take the time to get one platform profitable and working for you before moving on to the next.
And note that we have several posts about those platforms here in our blog, so if there’s one platform you’re interested in starting with first, check those out.
5. You’re not optimizing your marketing efforts.
Maybe you’re reading, thinking,
“I’ve been working at my Instagram strategy for months, I’ve got my best team member working on it too, and we’ve gotten SOME sales, but not many.”
It could be that you’re not optimizing your campaign.
When we onboard new clients, we love to look at any existing data that they have that can give us clues as to what it was that led to those sales.
Was it the audience? The message and the way the offer was delivered? Was it a specific video they used as the creative?
Optimizing your campaign means trimming the fat aka what’s not working and investing more of your time and efforts into what is working.
We have a post on how to optimize FB ads, and a lot of those Facebook ad tips are also universally relevant across other platforms too, not just Facebook.
So be sure to check it out after this.
But remember that optimizing your marketing efforts can mean small things like optimizing an individual Instagram ad.
As well as the bigger things like determining that overall YouTube is more lucrative than Instagram.
This is so you may scale back your Instagram ads to reallocate that money and effort to YouTube.
Overall you just want to invest your time and money into the platform that’s giving you the biggest return.
And then fine-tune your campaigns within that platform as well for optimal ROI.
6. You’re not looking for new opportunities for growth.
Maybe you’ve done everything else on this list but you’re still not growing.
You may need to take a look around the digital marketing arena and see if there’s anything you’re missing!
There are entire social media platforms that were not around when our company was first founded.
If we remained complacent in what was working for us in 2012, we would not have continued to grow and get where we are today.
Facebook ads are a big example of this principle that we think a lot of small business owners are experiencing right now.
Where FB ads used to be so much cheaper and 9 times out of 10 effective at driving sales for businesses.
But in today’s world, with the iOS updates among many many other obstacles, Facebook is facing, that’s not really the case anymore.
And we cover all of that in our Facebook ads are dead post if you have no idea what we’re talking about.
But the point is, if you find something that works for you in the digital marketing world, that’s great, milk that cow as long as you can.
But don’t expect it to be a “set it and forget it” surefire marketing plan for the life of your business.
The only constant in marketing is change. Especially in digital marketing.
So if you just feel stuck and like your business is just plateauing…
…take the time to research and see what other opportunities there are out there for growth that you may not have ever thought of or tried yet.
And so those are the 6 reasons as to why your small business is still small!
Now if you really want to grow your business but think your budget may not allow it, contact us today to get a free quote.