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Doing Everything Right: Not Making Money?

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We know that running a business is a lot of hard work, and it can be frustrating when you’re not seeing the results you want. Especially when you feel like you’re doing everything right.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. (remember rawmarrow is here to help)

There are a number of reasons why small businesses struggle to make money, even when the owners are putting in their all.

Here are a few common factors to consider:

Your product or service is not in demand. 

This is one of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail. It’s important to do your market research and make sure that there is a need for what you’re offering. It is crucial to thoroughly investigate the market before you launch your business. This involves conducting comprehensive research to identify the demand for the product or service. Market research provides valuable insights into the target audience, customer preferences, and buying behaviour. By understanding the needs and wants of potential customers, businesses can tailor their offerings to meet these demands effectively. This not only helps in developing a unique value proposition but also ensures a competitive advantage in the market. market research also enables business owners to identify their competitors and analyse their strategies. This allows businesses to position themselves in a way that differentiates them from existing businesses and offers something new and valuable to customers. By understanding the competitive landscape, businesses can develop effective marketing and pricing strategies to attract and retain customers. In addition, market research helps businesses identify potential obstacles or challenges that may arise in their industry. By being aware of industry trends, regulatory changes, and customer preferences, business owners can proactively adapt their business strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

High competition. 

If you’re in a saturated market, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. You need to find ways to differentiate yourself, whether it’s through quality, price, or unique customer service. First, emphasizing quality can be a powerful way to set oneself apart. By consistently delivering superior products or services, businesses can establish a reputation for reliability and excellence. This can be achieved through rigorous quality control measures, investing in research and development, and continuously refining products to meet or exceed customer expectations. 

Pricing strategies (either high or low) can attract attention and provide a competitive edge. While simply lowering prices may not always be the best approach, (it’s not a race to the bottom) offering value for money can be a compelling proposition. This can involve providing additional features or benefits without significantly increasing the cost, offering flexible payment options, or implementing loyalty programs to reward customer loyalty. Lastly, exceptional customer service can be a significant differentiating factor. By going above and beyond to exceed customer expectations, businesses can cultivate a loyal customer base. This can be achieved through personalised interactions, prompt and efficient problem-solving, proactive communication, and a focus on building long-term relationships rather than short-term transactions. 

Poor marketing. 

Even if you have a great product or service, you won’t make any money if you don’t know how to market it. You can no longer “build it and they will come”.

You need to understand your target audience and where they spend their time online and offline. By comprehending their preferences and behaviors, you can strategically position your brand to reach them in the most impactful ways.


Identify the platforms and channels where your target audience spends their time. Remember you don’t need to be everywhere!  This could include social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, as well as relevant online communities or forums. By establishing a strong presence on these platforms, you can engage with your audience, share valuable content, and build relationships that foster trust and brand loyalty.


Understanding your audience’s offline habits allows you to explore traditional marketing avenues. This might involve identifying relevant events, conferences, or trade shows that your target demographic is likely to attend. By participating in these events, you can showcase your product or service, connect with potential customers face-to-face, and generate leads.

Conducting market research and leveraging data analytics can provide valuable insights into your target audience’s demographics, interests, and purchasing behaviours. This information enables you to tailor your marketing strategies and messages to resonate with your audience on a deeper level. Ultimately, comprehending your target audience and their online and offline presence, you can develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that effectively reaches and engages with the right people, maximising your chances of success.

Inefficient operations. 

Sometimes, small businesses lose money because they’re not operating efficiently. This could mean having too many overhead costs or not using the right technology. When a business is not operating efficiently, it implies that there are certain areas where improvement is needed. One common issue is the presence of excessive overhead costs, which can drain the financial resources of a small business. These costs may include high rent payments for large office spaces, online costs, unnecessary equipment, or excessive staffing levels. To address this inefficiency, small businesses can consider downsizing their physical space, working out the best online deals, renegotiating lease agreements, or adopting remote work arrangements. By reducing overhead costs, businesses can allocate their financial resources more effectively and increase profitability.

Additionally, inefficient operations can also stem from a lack of appropriate technology use. Small businesses that fail to keep up with technological advancements may find themselves struggling to compete in the market. By embracing the right technology, businesses can streamline their operations, automate repetitive tasks, and improve overall productivity. This may include implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, using cloud-based solutions for data storage and collaboration, using AI to make some processes more efficient, or adopting digital marketing strategies. To overcome inefficiency, small businesses should regularly evaluate their operations, identify areas of improvement, and implement necessary changes.

Pricing problems.

 It’s important to price your products or services correctly. If you price them too high, you’ll scare away customers. If you price them too low, you won’t make enough profit. 

Bad timing. 

Depending on the type of business, the timing of your business launch can also play a role in your success. 

Launching too late can pose challenges as the market may already be saturated with similar offerings. This saturation can make it difficult for a new business to gain traction and establish a unique identity. Competing against well-established players in a saturated market requires innovative strategies and a strong value proposition to stand out from the crowd. 

Launching too early can also be problematic. If there is not enough demand for the product or service yet, the business may struggle to attract customers and generate revenue. It is essential to thoroughly research the market and analyze the existing demand before launching a business. 

Conducting market research, gathering customer feedback, and identifying emerging trends can help determine the optimal timing for a launch. Finding the right balance is crucial. It is important to identify a sweet spot where there is enough demand to support the business but also an opportunity to differentiate and offer something unique. This requires careful planning, market analysis, and a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. Business owners should also consider external factors that may affect timing, such as economic conditions, industry trends, and technological advancements. Adapting to these factors and aligning the launch with favorable conditions can significantly enhance the chances of success. Ultimately, the timing of a business launch is a delicate balancing act that requires thoughtful consideration and strategic decision-making to ensure a competitive advantage and maximise the potential for long-term success.

Economic factors. 

Economic conditions, such as recessions and inflation, can also affect your profitability. During economic downturns, businesses often face challenges due to decreased consumer spending. Recessions result in reduced disposable income and heightened uncertainty, causing individuals to tighten their budgets and prioritise essential purchases over discretionary spending. Consequently, some business sectors may experience declining sales and diminished profitability as consumer confidence wanes. Furthermore, inflation can further compound the adverse effects of economic conditions on profitability. As prices rise, consumers may face higher costs for goods and services, eroding their purchasing power. This can lead to reduced demand for non-essential items, impacting businesses that rely on discretionary spending. Additionally, inflation can increase production costs, including raw materials, labor, and transportation expenses, squeezing profit margins for businesses across multiple sectors. The interplay between economic factors and profitability necessitates strategic planning and adaptability for businesses. During recessions, companies may need to implement cost-cutting measures, such as reducing overheads and streamlining operations, to maintain profitability. Additionally, businesses can explore diversification strategies to find new opportunities or different ways of operating. This occurred at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic and many businesses continue to use those strategies as they proved beneficial to both the customer and the business. By expanding into new markets or developing innovative products, companies can tap into alternative revenue streams and potentially offset losses experienced in a recessionary period. 

Not reinvesting. 

If you’re taking all the profits from your business and not reinvesting them back into the business, you’re limiting your growth potential. You need to invest in new technology, hire more staff/ outsourcing or expand your operations in order to grow your business. One area to consider is investing in new technology. Advancements in technology can significantly enhance efficiency, streamline operations, and improve productivity. By allocating a portion of your profits towards acquiring and implementing cutting-edge technology, you can optimise your business processes, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge. Additionally, reinvesting profits hiring more staff or outsourcing can be helpful in expanding your business. With a larger workforce, you can handle increased demand, improve customer service, and explore new business opportunities. Outsourcing to skilled professionals enables you to delegate tasks effectively, freeing up time for strategic planning and innovation. Expanding your operations is another avenue for growth. Reinvesting profits into opening a physical presence, opening new locations, or entering new markets can help you reach a wider customer base and increase revenue. Ultimately, reinvesting profits is a proactive approach that fuels business growth. 

So, what can you do to increase your chances of success? 

Here are a few tips:

Do your research.

Before you launch your business, make sure to do your market research and understand your target audience. What are their needs and wants? What are their pain points?

Differentiate yourself. 

Find ways to make your business stand out from the competition. This could mean offering a unique product or service, providing superior customer service, or using innovative marketing strategies.

Market effectively. 

Understand your target audience and where they spend their time online and offline. Then, develop marketing campaigns that reach them where they are.

Operate efficiently. 

Review your business operations regularly and look for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Price your products or services correctly. 

Conduct market research to determine what your competitors are charging and what your customers are willing to pay. Work out your pricing based on your overheads and value.

Be patient. 

It takes time to build a successful business. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Keep working hard and learning from your mistakes.