If You’re Not Getting Enough Business It’s Your Own Fault

August 27, 2010

This may sound harsh, but it’s a fact. If your business doesn’t have enough work coming in, it’s most likely your own fault.

If you’re sure your pricing is realistic, and you’re targeting the right customers, there has to be another problem. And I’m betting you’re just not taking your business seriously enough.

Maybe it isn’t entirely your fault. You might have underestimated the amount of marketing that you need to do, to get your business off the ground. People tell you to do a lot of marketing – but how much do they mean by a lot?

Well, here’s the truth. When you launch a new business, there are two things you should focus all your energy on:

1) Doing the paid work that brings money into your business.

2) Finding customers who want what you’re offering.

- Did you spend every spare hour last week, trying to find new customers?
- How many did you approach?
- How many potential customers would you speak to, before you gave up trying?
- Or would you keep going indefinitely until you made a sale?

You can’t afford to give up, if you want your business to be a success. And you should never stop marketing, no matter how busy you are. You can always outsource some of your routine tasks, to free up your time to market your business.

I’ve launched four completely different businesses. And each one had plenty of work coming in, within the first couple of weeks of trading. I’m not telling you this to brag – because it certainly didn’t take any special skill or talent.

If you saw some of my botched marketing campaigns, you would probably laugh your ass off. Of course, I’ve ran excellent campaigns and mediocre ones too. And the truth is, bad marketing is better than no marketing.

And if I can do it, you can too. Aside from my focus on marketing, the only things that helped me were:

You have to keep trying, no matter what. If someone rejects you, don’t let it get to you. Just move right on to the next potential customer.

It is difficult at first, but you’ve got to understand that rejection is rarely personal. Perhaps they just don’t want what you have to offer, or they don’t want it right now. And if they don’t give you a definite no, keep in touch with them, because one day they might need your product or service.

Hard Work:
When you launch a new business, you’ve got to ditch the 9-5 mentality. I know that a work/life balance is important, but in the early days, most of your waking hours should be spent working on your business, if you truly want to succeed.

Caring About Customers: Running a business isn’t just about making money. You’ve got to genuinely care about helping your customers get what they want, and be willing to go the extra mile for them.

A Strong Desire To Build Relationships With Awesome Clients: Not all of your clients will be awesome. But when you find a great client, do everything you can to make sure they want to work with you again. And focus on building a relationship, not just making a fast sale.

Not Being Plastic: There are way too many fake people in business. And some folk speak to their customers like they’re reading off a prewritten script. If you’re a genuinely nice person, just be yourself. It’s easier to build lasting relationships that way. And you’re more likely to attract customers you’ll get on well with.

Have you struggled to get enough business? Have these points helped, or do you think there might be another problem? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Related Reading

Is Your Fear Of Sales Suffocating Your Business?
Are You Wasting Your Most Valuable Asset?
What Your Customers Really Want
How I Made My Knowledge Sell And You Can Too

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29 Responses to “If You’re Not Getting Enough Business It’s Your Own Fault”

  1. Patricia on August 27th, 2010 3:48 am

    Hello Cath and I did enjoy reading this post very much…I am not a good marketing person – just plain sorry sight for sore eyes….I spent 8 years working the vitamin/cleaning products circuit attempting to pay down bills….the environmental products were excellent…I would call in between homeschooling, house and garden, and not quit until I had at least 2 appointments set for the next week….I did group meetings with some friends who I knew would sign on to help and now 15 years later only a few are left who had that motivation.

    I spent one year at $750 a month income….and I chocked it away and used the rest to pay down child’s medical bills. I could never convince any one else to be a business builder and it only took 10 people subscribing to pay for all your products….other folks were making $8,000 a month….I kept working on my presentations and going to training, and I loved the products…but I could never get over the hurdle into the next level….that has been the story of my my business career…

    When I say I will not work for such low pay and no benefits, well they don’t hire me…
    I was hoping I had found a niche, and I am working hours everyday, but now everything has changed again…I am starting over….I admire your persistence and rules of the road….
    I must have bad breath!!! :)

    I think I should have spent my days being an elementary school teacher – I would have not hated it, but I would not be where I am today if I had done that.

    My partner owns a business and he works so hard…it never stops
    Patricia\’s latest awesome post..SMILING ON A BEAUTIFUL MORNINGMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Anonymous on August 27th, 2010 8:44 am

    Twitter Trackbacks…

  3. Alien Ghost on August 27th, 2010 11:09 am

    Hi Cath,

    I am not expert in business, but it seems to me that the most important thing is to have many many followers rather than an amazing product.

    If we have an amazing product but not followers we don’t sell, but if we have a crappy product and tons of followers we can make money.

    The quality of the product helps repeated sales, but to get started it is more about customer willing to buy. An example could be those TV offers for $ 9.99 and double the roducts if you call in the next five minutes: crappy products with a huge marketing campaign. Another: MacDonalds menu at thousand of stores compared to an excellent restaurant with just one location.

    Marketing is more important than the product itself.

    That’s my take right now when still trying to learn the craft of business, but I’d like to hear your opinion :)

    Alien Ghost\’s latest awesome post..Toilet WisdomMy ComLuv Profile

  4. vered | blogger for hire on August 27th, 2010 11:34 pm

    Very true. Building a business is exhausting and never ending work, but it’s also very rewarding.
    vered | blogger for hire\’s latest awesome post..The Last Pancakes Recipe You’ll Ever NeedMy ComLuv Profile

  5. Davina on August 28th, 2010 5:56 am

    It is important to understand that rejection is rarely personal — that’s a good point, Cath. Patience and persistence and a LOT of hours, plus going the extra mile; those have supported me in business. Learning to ride the wave of varied pay cheques from week to week is a challenge and as you say, one can never market too much. Instead of worrying where the next $$ are coming from, spend the down time reaching out for those dollars. Personally, I SUCK at marketing, but I’m doing okay. The customers that I have attracted are pleased and keep coming back for more. Even after employing all these tactics, sometimes it’s just a matter of time before things catch on.
    Davina\’s latest awesome post..Quitting the ChallengeMy ComLuv Profile

  6. Kontakt Tyskland on August 28th, 2010 3:06 pm

    I think it’s very important to look out for new opportunities too.
    For example, a lot of older business owners don’t own a homepage – and if they it looks very poor and bad. That’s not how you’ll attrackt further costumers.
    Kontakt Tyskland\’s latest awesome post..Velkommen til Kontakt TysklandMy ComLuv Profile

  7. Hilary on August 28th, 2010 5:00 pm

    Hi Cath .. as you say .. as well as being consistent and persistent, being open to being flexible, trying new things .. seeing where your path leads you .. along your core business line. Keeping a customer, even one that doesn’t buy for now .. developing that personality trait .. but because you’re loyal to them, they may well become loyal to you..

    It is fun hard work .. thanks – Hilary
    Hilary\’s latest awesome post..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder My ComLuv Profile

  8. Cath Lawson on August 29th, 2010 1:00 am

    Hi Patricia – I can imagine network marketing being quite hard. And because you were only doing it to pay certain bills – it was difficult to motivate yourself.

    I think it’s way too early to judge yourself, re: your blogging efforts. I have had this blog for around three and a half years – and I haven’t written on it religiously. I’ve had a lot of breaks, and as you know – I recently disappeared for several months.

    Barbara Swafford has been far more consistent and persistent than I will ever be.

  9. cathlawson on August 29th, 2010 1:18 am

    Hi Raul – I agree, good marketing will always win. But now, I think there are too many products, and too much marketing. People who are going to do really well in the future, will have excellent products, and excellent marketing, and a very loyal customer base.

  10. cathlawson on August 29th, 2010 1:20 am

    Hi Vered – Yes it is. I am glad you’re doing something you enjoy now. I can’t even imagine you being a lawyer.

  11. cathlawson on August 29th, 2010 1:27 am

    Hi Davina – You will get better at it. I think it’s impossible to do something regularly, and not improve at it at all. And eventually you get used to not getting paid monthly. I am finding it weird getting paid so quickly at the moment – I hope it stays that way.

  12. cathlawson on August 29th, 2010 1:31 am

    Hi – Some younger people have really shit websites too. I have had a couple in the past. Erica Douglass said her website for her hosting business looked awful, yet she still sold her business for $1 million – and she is only in her twenties.

  13. cathlawson on August 29th, 2010 1:36 am

    Hi Hilary – That’s a good point. If you spend too long planning what you are going to do, it can make it difficult to be flexible. BTW – I owe you an email. Sorry – I’m so behind with things. But I know that you’re probably busy moving anyway.

  14. Keith Davis on August 29th, 2010 9:46 am

    Hi Cath
    Have to agree… the world does not owe you a living, you have to go out and earn it.

    Trouble is that the world of blogging appears to offer untold riches for the price of a few average articles – no way!

    If there is any area of life where your comments apply most, it would have to be in the “get rich quick” world of blogging and the internet.

    Oh well… back to the hard work and toil. LOL
    Keith Davis\’s latest awesome post..Two way trafficMy ComLuv Profile

  15. cathlawson on August 30th, 2010 2:18 am

    Hi Keith – That is so true. Blogging is definitely not a fast way to make money. But there will always be people who will expect to get a lot, and give v little in return.

  16. Barbara Swafford on August 30th, 2010 7:40 am

    Hi Cath,

    So true. Persistence is needed in business. What I’ve seen happen is when the market (for anything) is hot, many jump in, but when the economy dips or lags, the strong are the ones who survive.

    Re: marketing. That’s not one of my strongest traits, but I’m working on it.
    Barbara Swafford\’s latest awesome post..Call Me A HypocriteMy ComLuv Profile

  17. Tess The Bold Life on August 30th, 2010 1:19 pm

    I agree with Keith too many online bussiness people want us to buy their great thing so we can be rich like them. Over night! LOL

  18. Nadia Ballas-Ruta ~ Happy Lotus Lifestyles on August 30th, 2010 3:22 pm

    Hi Cath,

    Bravo to you for laying it out as it is! I think you did a fabulous job at covering all the points. I know what you wrote may not be what people want to hear but truth is truth.

    Hard work always pays off… the sad part is that not many are willing to do it.
    Nadia Ballas-Ruta ~ Happy Lotus Lifestyles\’s latest awesome post..William Shakespeare &amp The First Step to Becoming ExtraordinaryMy ComLuv Profile

  19. cathlawson on August 30th, 2010 11:03 pm

    Hi Tess – That is so true. They prey on people’s fears, and greed. It sucks. I wish folk would concentrating on creating something really worthwhile, that would actually help people, instead of peddling hype and bullshit.

  20. cathlawson on August 30th, 2010 11:05 pm

    Hi Nadia – Thank you. It needed to be said. You’re right about the hard work part. I guess that’s why so many people fall for scams. The sad thing is, they assume that their lives will be better if they make a fortune overnight, but it’s very unlikely.

  21. Chris Edgar on August 31st, 2010 8:44 pm

    Hi Cath — yes, I tend to feel sad when someone approaches me in a business context and is clearly playing a “professional” role rather than actually wanting to connect with me as a human being. I get more interested in talking with them about the anxiety that’s having them play that role than buying a product or service.

  22. Cath Lawson on September 1st, 2010 10:44 am

    Hi Chris – It sucks doesn’t it? As you say, it’s much better when people are “real”.

  23. Christine OKelly on September 9th, 2010 4:45 pm

    You ROCK Cath! I love how you cut to the chase and tell it like it is. There’s just no substitute for hard work, dedication, determination, and persistence. And yet STILL none of that would matter if you don’t truly CARE about the needs of the people you are trying to serve.

  24. Andrew Heaton on September 10th, 2010 11:14 pm


    Persistence, hard work, caring about customers, building relationships with valuable clients and being genuine – that sounds like a pretty good recipie for success to me, and given that your are obviously speaking from personal experience, your own experience obviously bears this out.

    I also like the way you simplify your first two points. I would imagine that just about any entrepreneur who focused almost predominantly on providing their product/service to the best of their ability and finding customers or clients who need what they have to offer would stand a fair chance of success.
    Andrew Heaton\’s latest awesome post..Ethics in journalism and the challenges of new mediaMy ComLuv Profile

  25. Loisa on September 14th, 2010 2:09 pm

    In fact persistence is very very important. At first I was frustrated because I wanted to know the reasons why some one was not giving me a call or rejacted me immediately.

    Don´t take this personal is absolutly right. There are circumstances 8that you don´t know) that got nothing to do with your offer or your buisness ;-)

  26. cathlawson on September 20th, 2010 8:47 am

    Thanks Christine – caring about people is probably THE most important thing.

  27. cathlawson on September 20th, 2010 8:49 am

    Hi Andrew – It is a good combination.

  28. cathlawson on September 20th, 2010 8:50 am

    Hi Loisa – Exactly. I know myself that some people have had to call me several times to get what they want, and it rarely has anything to do with them.

  29. Clay Forsberg on September 20th, 2010 4:38 pm

    I agree with what Chris said. People want to do business with people, not corporate entities. The relationship you build with your customers as people with determine your success. It will also build your personal brand should you decide to start another business or move on.

    Catherine … I love your “in your face style.” When you write, your tone sets the stage. “And then hold on to your seat!”

    As always,
    Clay Forsberg\’s latest awesome post..“You Gotta be …”My ComLuv Profile

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