The Unnoticed Crime in Small Businesses: Being Forgotten

In today’s small business landscape, there is a prevalent crime that often goes unnoticed by outsiders, unreported in the media, and unmentioned on company websites. It’s a crime that doesn’t involve stealing, burglaries, lawsuits, or industrial espionage, yet it poses the greatest threat to the survival of small businesses. This crime is the act of being forgotten.

Being forgotten is a subtle but dangerous phenomenon that can lead a business to failure. Existing clients, potential clients, employees, neighboring businesses, the local community, vendors, the media, and potential investors can all contribute to the process of forgetting a business.

To determine if your business has fallen victim to this crime, watch out for the following signs:

Decreased top-line sales
Low website traffic
Fewer customer inquiries
Loss of significant accounts
Decrease in long-term accounts
High employee turnover
Difficulty attracting top talent
Lack of newsworthy updates
Decreased repeat purchases
Declining revenue
To combat the crime of being forgotten, small business owners can take proactive steps to remain memorable. Hiring a big PR company is not the only solution; here are some actions you can implement today:

Focus on answering the question: “What’s in it for me?” from the perspective of your customers and clients. Clearly communicate the benefits they can expect from your product or service, making it one of the first things they see on your website and in your communications.

Identify what sets your business apart from the competition. Discover your unique selling proposition (USP) and emphasize it in your marketing efforts. Avoid using generic characteristics like quality or service, as these have lost their differentiating power. Be creative and find a distinctive aspect of your business that resonates with your target audience.

Establish an emotional connection with your customers through your communication. Identify their pain points and demonstrate how your product or service can alleviate their pain and enhance their business, life, family, time, or environment. Make them feel excited, empowered, balanced, and satisfied when they think of your company.

Clearly articulate the benefits of your product or service, not just its features. Show your clients how your offering solves their specific needs and problems. Build value and communicate the advantages that differentiate you from competitors.

Reduce the perceived risk of working with your small business. Develop strategies to instill confidence in potential customers, such as offering guarantees, trial periods, case studies, and strong references. Show them that choosing your business is a secure and worthwhile decision.

Evaluate the impact of your business card. Ensure it concisely communicates who you are, what you do, and how you can help potential clients. Consider redesigning it if necessary to leave a lasting impression.

Establish a web presence for your business. Having a website is increasingly viewed as a sign of legitimacy, and it provides a platform to reach a wider audience. Regularly evaluate and improve your website’s performance, visibility on search engines, and ability to serve existing clients effectively.

By taking these proactive steps, small business owners can combat the crime of being forgotten and increase their chances of long-term success.