Yes there is a real fear there!
On a whole JOLI is a veritable wealth of information (just read through this blog and you'll see) with a skill set in many areas such as: nail technician, beauty therapist, aromatherapy (therapeutic use of essential oils) and natural herbal medicine. The experience and the knowledge I have garnered over the 10+ years I've been in business astounds even me at times, from building websites for friends and treating my families ailments with natural remedies. In that sense I am accomplished and proud.
However, when it comes to running a successful business I am failing. I have tried as many things I can think of and followed all manner of advice including creating an outrageous product (1million for your very own live in personal beauty therapist for a year) because it's meant to be attention gabbing. Huh! Only one person ever said anything.
I've placed adds in green magazines and green online websites/directories, free listing websites like Hot Frog, Yellow Pages, local school and kinder newsletters, mail-outs, prizes, donations, community newsletters, brochures at animal rights events, products in goody bags at business events, approved by PETA and Choose Cruelty FREE, accredited by Safe Cosmetics Campaign, basic SEO courses, backlinks, articles for like minded websites, listed products on other people's websites, customer and independent reviews/testimonials, refer a friend program and subscriptions, loyalty rewards, network and marketing events, my own newsletters plus freebies when you signup, website blog and this blog to show my vast knowledge, Youtube, LinkedIn, expos, markets, pamper parties, DIY classes, eBook, colouring books, Facebook page & adds, competitions, eBay, car signage, promotional material, my own website, invested in brand design/new logo & labels, free samples with orders, free products with orders, free mineral makeup samples (working with like minded companies), gift cards for other businesses to give to their customers, spoken with business advisors, letters to salons and gift shops and retreats, gift cards/product samples and other surprises in the mail boxes of my customers and subscribers...
Short of running down Bourke Street Mall naked (which is looking pretty good right about now)... You name it. I've tried it.
And nothing has worked! I'm still not even remotely where I wish or need to be (embarrassing to admit) - which means I can't afford much by way of courses or promotions or PR or all those others costly things that people say "You have to spend money on to make money." Ok so let's say I spend even more than I already have... where do I invest that money? What is a sure bet? Most people will put there hand up and say "Invest in me!" but they offer no
I am tired, fed up and angry over reading endless marketing articles (from the numerous companies I subscribe to) and umpteen sales books only to hear empty platitudes like:
"Develop a strong story – why does your business exist and what problems does it solve for customers? Be clear about what your company stands for, what it aims to achieve, and identify SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) business goals." KBB
That's nice dear! Done that. Now what?
Or find your target audience. That's nice dear! Done that. Now what? Going to tell me specifically how and where I reach them? No, didn't think so.
Or you need to be on social media. Tried that... didn't work. Ended up spending hours a day on there with so little to show for my efforts because no one was seeing my page unless I PAID & even then it only got me a few more likes that didn't convert to sales. It was depressing and disheartening to only have 800+ likes when others in my industry had thousands. Feeling like a loser with a capital L
Or find yourself a mentor? That's nice dear! Going to tell me where I can find a decent (doesn't rob the bank / doesn't say the same as everyone else) mentor? No, just going to tell me I should get one. Alrighty then.
Or articles that say How This Lady Turned A Hobby Into a Thriving Business will one useless line "I used creative ways to market". That's nice dear! Care to elaborate? No. Then what's the point of reading this article when you've basically told me NOTHING!
Or establish yourself as an expert in your field. That's nice dear! Thought I was already doing that. Now what?
Or you have to upsell, give the customer more than they expected. Been doing that right from the start. Now what?
When I first began, way back when it wasn't even cool to be into natural, eco friendly, animal friendly, chemical/toxic free skin care, I sat down with a business manager who explained to me how few people there were who were interested in what I was offering (something like less that 1% of the Australian population when you minus the men, children and ignorant). Since then numerous businesses have joined the 'natural' band wagon (including mainstream companies); a number of whom have become successful even though they're not as natural as they claim. And here I am, offering the real deal and still struggling along.
I don't stick my products on store shelves because they're made to order which saves the planet's resources - because we're only using what is needed when it's required. To do anything otherwise (i.e. mass produce) is not environmentally friendly.
Months ago I sat down with a biz mentor only to be told the same thing everyone else is saying: I need to work out my target audience and get back on Facebook with some new and exciting content. Well Gee! If the content I was creating wasn't working for me then (and I thought it was exciting) how will it suddenly work now if I go back on? He also suggested I come up with new products to pique people's interests. What is the point in doing that (since it costs lots of dollars to make happen) when the current products are barely selling because very few people have heard of me, therefore, very few of my products are selling in the first place? And when I do create new and exciting products they don't sell.
I'm frustrated and pissed off because I can't find the answers and for all the millions of articles and marketing experts out there. There are so few willing to cough up advice that will actually help and make a difference to small business. There is a plethora of information on basic knowledge, helpful for getting off the ground... but then what? It's not like there's a Life Line for small businesses to ring and say "I'm thinking of ending it all.... Help!"
On the one hand it's awesome I've hung in here so long!!!! I know plenty of businesses who have come and gone while I'm still alive and kicking. I just wish I knew the secret formula to success... "When will I, will I be famous!" I just wish that others who knew the answers weren't so lacking in coming forward and sharing that information (and I'm not talking about experts who charge 2.5k for others to learn what they know because that sum is painful!). [I've spoken with marketing businesses who offer to do marketing for 2.5k a month for a couple of hours per week work. If I had 2.5k to spend each month I wouldn't need marketers. And they don't guarantee results. I'm meant to just take a leap of faith that they'll work and if they don't bad luck and I've wasted my money.] What I'm talking about is... imagine if those who knew the answers didn't rip you a new *sshole just to teach you what you need to know. Imagine if marketing articles were actually helpful and didn't just give you wishy washy clichés or useless one liners but actually taught you the skills and steps to you need to take.
Imaging how many small business would NOT fail and close down if this were the case!
Got a small business of your own and want to share your thoughts... please do.