Why do hard-working business owners often make very little progress?
Here’s a perfect and extremely common example. I hope you find it useful. More importantly, I hope it inspires you to make better decisions.
The café owner who’s killing her business
I visited a great little café yesterday with my wife and son. We stopped for a coffee and a slice of cake. The home-made cake was stunning. So beautiful that I took a photo. I was going to share the photo with the 85,000 people who connect with my various social networking accounts.
I had no signal from my phone, so I asked if the café had Wi-Fi. I was told by the owner that they did, however, it’s not advertised and it’s password protected. She explained that they hide the Wi-Fi, to stop people coming in and using it. The café owner brought me the password. It was super-strong with a huge line of mixed numbers, letters and symbols. After failing to get it right for the 2nd time, it was time for us to leave.
Ignorance of marketing is not bliss
The café owner had it all wrong. She thought she would gain financially by blocking people from using the café’s Wi-Fi. She told me she was concerned people would come in, buy just 1 or 2 drinks and in her words “steal the Wi-Fi”. She hadn’t figured out that there are excellent reasons why the larger coffee chains eagerly offer free Wi-Fi.
- It attracts paying customers. Given the choice of a place with Wi-Fi or without, most people will choose a place with Wi-Fi.
- It gives customers a fast and effective way to spread the word about their experience.
- It lets customers share photos of their coffee, breakfast, lunch etc, on their social networks. This is free, powerful, visual advertising for the café or coffee shop.
- It allows customers to share where they are on social networks, in case a friend wants to join them. This further increases custom.
- It makes the café a place where people can enjoy a coffee, whilst reading the news or catching up with their friends on Twitter, Facebook etc.
Like almost every small business owner, the café owner is making basic marketing mistakes that are losing her a fortune. We only went in because the place was almost empty and we were in a hurry. She has no idea of the opportunities she’s missing out on, just from that one marketing error. In the short time we were there, I spotted around half a dozen areas, which are losing her a fortune.
When I asked her, “how’s business?”, it was no surprise when she replied that business is slow. Of course it is. How else could things be going, when her ignorance of marketing is killing her business? That’s a rhetorical question.
Smart and average
Smart business owners identify that their business needs help and they get that help. They refuse to dabble with their livelihood.
The average business owner hunkers down and works hard. They’re unaware that hard work is not the key to success. So they end up frustrated. Why? Because no matter how hard they row their boat in the wrong direction, they never end up where they want to be.
Choose wisely my friend.