My detractors will say it’s the economy

It’s likely that our culture of excuses is the fundamental reason behind what’s keeping more businesses and organizations in the US from thriving. I realize that my detractors will blame the economy. Or customer diversity. Or the number of consumer products and services available today. The facts suggest otherwise.


80% of US small businesses haven’t grown in value

In his book Midas Marketing, noted economist and small business owner, Rob Slee states that, “during the past fifteen years, 80% of U.S. small businesses haven’t grown in value.” Both Rob and I would suggest that the economy and other factors mentioned are simply excuses, but not the exclusive reasons behind this.


Many business owners dig their heels in, determined to keep the status quo. They continue using ineffective models, tactics and procedures. Even though these factors are precisely the ones keeping them from adding value to their company.



These owners are subject to our culture of excuses

I believe these owners are subject to our culture of excuses. Why don’t these owners, whose businesses aren’t doing well, just do the things that growth companies are doing? Is it laziness, fear, ego, or something else?


It’s certainly easier to make excuses. And much of this has to do with our culture! It takes less energy to focus blame on outside factors as the reason for your business’ lack of growth in value.


Doing things differently than in the past


It’s hard to change. Attracting and keeping customers in today’s challenging marketplace is tough, but it can be done. And is, by roughly 20% of businesses. Those prospering and growing in value are doing things differently than in the past. They’ve stopped participating in the blame game. They’ve moved away from the way things used to be done. And recognized that changing how things are done is an effective and lasting way to grow!


Specific things that business owners can do

In previous “ASK ALAN” columns, I’ve suggested specific things that business owners can do. These include: The First Steps in Your Strategic Marketing Plan, The Importance of Outside the Box Thinking, How Well Do You Listen?, How to Market Effectively to Millennials, and Don’t Let Social Media Leave You Behind. But I think we need to step back if your business is going to do better.


The need to recalibrate

I’ve identified changes in the marketplace, customer diversity, technology, social media, and the volume of choices available today. The aggregate effect of these alone demonstrates the need to recalibrate.


Business owners should consider:

  1. Having “fresh eyes” look at your business to determine what and the order of things that should be changed.
  2. Becoming a better listener.
  3. Changing behavior.

Once these actions are taken, owners can initiate the following four components to ensure lasting results:

  1. Create an extraordinary business culture
  2. Use “pull” in addition to “push” marketing and sales strategies.
  3. Provide outstanding customer experiences.
  4. Combine the passion of intuition with the rigor of evidence.


Have a question? Ask Alan…

If you have a small business question email it to Alan: alan@alan-adler.comQuestions may be combined and answered in an upcoming column of “Ask Alan!”



Alan Adler is an Executive Coach, Business Consultant & Speaker. He’s worked for Westinghouse Broadcasting, as a producer/director and with senior management at AT&T, as a corporate spokesperson. Additionally, Alan has been an entrepreneur, creating and growing his own business, Alan Adler & Associates. As a result, he knows management, media and marketing. Alan specializes in helping entrepreneurs through mid-sized businesses, improve profitability. He lives in Huntersville, NC with his wife Mindy. They have two grown children, two adorable grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bentley.