4 Common Small Business Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Everyone who starts a business (aside from non-profits, of course) do so with the hopes that they will make a profit. Creating a profitable business, however, isn’t an easy feat.

Starting a business is one thing. Maintaining and growing that business is a completely different monster.

You can come up with a great idea, have a solid plan in place, register your business and kick things off, but improper maintenance, failed marketing strategies, poor partnership choices and other mistakes can crush your dreams.

You invest so much time, money, and passion into your business. As such, you want to avoid dream crushing failure at all costs. Your business may fail, and you may not even realize the reasons behind the collapse. Fortunately (for you anyway), you can learn from the past mistakes of those who went before you – and failed.

There are a few common mistakes that many small business owners make when launching a business. They neglect to do certain things that end up sending their business into a downward spiral.

Here are some of the business and  marketing mistakes small businesses make.

  1. Having unrealistic budget

It is always unrealistic to budget for what you can’t afford because it will lead to financial strain for your small business. The size of your business and what you want to offer or sell depends on your budget.

Often, business owners are afraid to take much risk at all when it comes to spending. Others, however, want to spend too much. In order to end up with a positive income, it’s critical that you find that sweet spot where you’re spending just the right amount.

For example, you want to open an eCommerce store but you only want to spend $100. Limiting your budget this severely will keep you from ever reaching success (or even being able to do something so essential as launching a website). As they say, you have to invest money to make money.

On the other hand, you don’t need to drop $100,000 to kick things off either. Fortunately, there are tons of affordable ways of marketing your business that you can mix with your more expensive methods to grow your business. You can use a mix of content marketing and social media, for example. Or you can create videos and use those to promote your business on YouTube.

If you can  get YouTube watch hours boosted for your business, you can expand the reach of your content at a low cost. The same goes for growing your followers on your social media channels and boosting engagement and traffic from social.

Save some of your budget for digital ads on channels like Google Ads in addition to your lower cost activities. This can help put your business on the map more quickly.

  1. You Don’t Have a Marketing Plan

Many small business owners have a false notion that marketing plans are only for big businesses. This simply is not true. The truth is, your business cannot survive without having a direction. Your marketing plan serves as that direction.

A marketing plan is like your map for how you plan to get your business in front of prospective customers, as well as a way to track your results and determine which strategies are working and which are not.

It serves as an expansion of your business plan, a road map for getting your brand noticed. Your marketing plan explains how you will get the get the attention of your prospective customers, and also where to sell your products.

Therefore, before you start operating your business, you need to have a marketing plan. Most small businesses ignore this critical step, but that’s a huge mistake.

  1. Being Impatient

No business starts off instantly making a profit. It can actually take years, and for some, it may never happen. When you start your business, go into it with the understanding that for the first few weeks or months you will be spending a lot with little or no return.

You need to get your business to a stable point where it starts to generate customers, and those customers become repeat customers. Start storing cash away as well as putting some back into your business for necessary expenditures. If you balance this carefully, you won’t limit your cashflow, and you’ll grow at a pace you can handle.

Being impatient and starting to throw money around because you just can’t wait can cause a lot of financial strain. Impatience will lead to business collapse and thus is a common business mistake you need to avoid.

  1. Taking Bad Marketing Advice

Many small business owners are NOT equipped with significant marketing experience going into their launch. As such, they end up seeking advice from different people, including other business owners who have already achieved some level of success.

Keep in mind, as you seek advice from other business owners, what works for one business may not work for another. Don’t simply take advice from someone because they’re pitching a concept to you that worked for them. Dig deep into your business and promote it based on who your customers are, what your budget allows, and other factors related to your actual business.

And if you decide to hire an agency to help, make sure they are truly skilled at what they do. Ask for references. Check out case studies. Ask if they’ve done work (successfully) in your niche. Checking deeper into these things will go a long way in determining whether you get results or just waste more money.


Running a small business shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you don’t need big plans and strategies in place to make it work.

You need to take it slow, plan out each step along the way, and carefully build your business.

Be open to advice, but don’t get fooled. There are plenty of marketing “gurus” out there who don’t bring an iota of value to the table. Be sure to avoid these people (or agencies).

If you do it the right way and avoid the mistakes spelled out in this article, you can enjoy the success you expect from your small business.

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Anthony Gaenzle
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2 thoughts on “4 Common Small Business Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)”

  1. Being impatient is a huge marketing campaign killer, Anthony. Marketers want results yesterday but good things require time, patience and diligent work, to hone your skills. Being patient opens doors impatient marketers never see. Spot on tips here.


    • So true. There are no true get rich quick schemes, and in the marketing space, everything takes some level of time. Even an ad campaign that can generate results quickly takes time to really develop the messaging, the targeting, etc.


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