Why your business is fucked?
I’ve sat down with some local business owners over the last couple of months. Now, this is going to be harsh, and I really don’t want to sound like ‘Gary Fucking Vee’ but the more time I spent with these people, the more I realized that even though they said they wanted growth, additional profit & to scale their business upwards in reality, they not only didn’t know how to achieve it but they weren’t prepared to put the work in.
What justifies me to give an opinion? I’m not sure, probably nothing, but I do run a successful money-making business & get to see a LOT of businesses, some succeed, some fail. I’ve been involved in two companies being acquired & a lot of what I’ve done works. So…
Caveat: I’m not slamming business owners I’m not, but it does surprise me that people want the Range Rover, the big detached house in a nice post code, the disposable income, and yet simply don’t put the work in, I don’t understand.
People become so ingrained with doing what they know because ‘it’s what they know’, that they can’t see the wood through the trees. I know, I’ve been there.
It’s a shame because we read reports & statistics on why the high-street is failing. Falling footfall, the shift to fickle loyalty, online trading bringing prices down, the rising cost of business etc. But what we rarely hear about is the actual business owners not putting the work in. That’s a sucker punch huh?
Now, business owners are going to find this a bit fucking rich – some online nerd telling them what to do, they’ve risked sometimes their home, spent months with no income, wrestled with HMRC and paid through their nose on tax just to get on the hightstreet so no one is going to tell them how to improve their business. And that’s the problem. People want help, but can’t see through their own emotional tie to the business. Their child. And no one wants to be told their kid is ugly. It’s that tie that actually blinds them and stops growth. It’s so much easier to blame an outside force than to put their hand up and say “do you know what, I’ve done this for 15 years, I’m tired, bored & am just going through the motions’ – It’s that which holds businesses back a lot of the time.
Face it, your kids fucking ugly. And you need to pay for some plastic surgery. Harsh? Possibly. I’ve had the same struggles, sat in an empty shop, struggled with Taxes, and wondered what to do next. It’s not easy. That’s my point.
Here’s some reasons I heard from business owners recently as to why their business wasn’t performing as they wanted it to;
Physical bricks & mortar shops;
- Everyone goes online now to buy
- Parking at the front is so bad, we lose passing trade (I’ll come onto the term ‘passing trade’ in a minute)
- We rely on word of mouth, we can’t afford online fancy websites or advertising
- We aren’t clued up on technology, so we’re not sure how that would help
- Personal family matters or ill health have stopped the growth of the business
- We don’t have time
- Too much competition
- We can’t afford to update our website
- We were trying to get to No1 in Google but we couldn’t do it
- We pay a web designer to do all that and he’s not very good
- We don’t have time
In each and every case there’s clear identifiable reasons as to why these businesses are not working, and yet any of the below don’t appear in the list. No business owner ever reflects inwards;
- No advertising budget yet money is spent on personal consumption of cigarettes and such like, so no money for flyers but you can spend £100 a week on fags?
- No money to spend on technology but money is spent on a flash motor for personal use, sat outside your shop giving the impression of progress & success.
- Our web designer isn’t very good, but you only were prepared to spend £200 and then you fucking haggled.
- No time to invest in the business, – but enough time to go on holiday or close the shop at 5pm. Or not work weekends. Or nights.
- You spend your time in the evening watching Game of Fucking Thrones
Look it’s up to you if you want to spend your time in the evening watching TV, that’s fine, you’ve had a hard day and you need some down time, go and play with the kids. Sure go & do that, it’s important. But then don’t complain when someone overtakes you & takes your customers. You can’t complain if you’re not putting the time in.
So these days I walk away from customers who have all these excuses lined up, because you know what, they’ll only blame their web designer (someone external) for their lack of success. Someone asked me recently to help them with a website but and I quote ‘they had no budget’. So I translated that into ‘hey schmuck, how about you do me a load of work, for free’. You can imagine my response.
Here’s some things I really advise business owners to look at;
- Invest in your online presence and pay properly for a proper website, proper money, get a proper product.
- Spend on marketing, don’t avoid it, you need to do this. Constantly.
- Make your shop attractive. Clean windows & displays, up to date stock, and a friendly welcome. I’m staggered how many times I walk into a fucking local shop and am made to feel like I’ve just stood on someone’s grave.
- Put effort in, to your service, your customers and yourself. First impressions really count.
Look, there’s no innovation here, and I’m not Alex Polizzi, but seriously walking around the highstreet really gets my goat when I hear all these businesses complaining, and someone asking me for free work was the icing on the cake – It really was. But it did make me realise that all these issues are so common.
So what are you doing about it?
Sidenote: Those two people I mentioned, Gary Vaynerchuck and Alex Polizzi in the article above? See how hard they’ve worked, are you even coming close to doing the same? But I’d bet a fortune that you’d happily accept their income.