How small businesses can avoid the leaky bucket problem

May 11, 2019 | Advice

Our mission is to help small businesses build a solid marketing foundation so they aren’t missing opportunities, and can focus their attention on their products and services. A major part of that is making sure businesses can consistently close sales and retain customers.

It sounds obvious, but so many businesses try to start attracting customers before they have a solid plan and process in place to convert and keep them as customers. They get attention, but don’t get sales. They get sales, but they don’t get repeat sales.

We refer to this as having a leaky bucket, because it’s like pouring water into a container with a hole in the bottom, and wondering why you don’t have as much water as you should. Isn’t it smarter to patch the hole, or buy a new bucket, before continuing to try and fill it up?

For instance, it doesn’t make sense to run ads on Google or social media, without first investing in a solid website that provides a smooth and useful user experience. You’re going to pay for clicks, only to turn them off if your website doesn’t answer their questions, or doesn’t work well on their phone.

Similarly, if you provide professional services, it doesn’t make sense to bring on new clients without a plan in place to provide a great client experience. You’re going to get paid, only to squander future payments and other clients by not providing an experience worth coming back for and telling friends about.

None of this is brain surgery. If you just sit and think through each step of a customer’s interaction with your business, it’s usually clear where there are opportunities to increase the odds of them giving you money, rather than slipping through your hands. But so many business owners lack either the empathy or patience to stop and address these areas of improvement first, so they can make the most of every opportunity.

Don’t try to fill up a bucket with a big hole in it. First make sure you have a marketing plan that holds water.