3 Major Marketing Challenges Small Business Owners Are Facing

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marketing challenges

Marketing has always been an important part of running a business – contrary to the popular saying, products and services don’t really sell themselves. In recent years however, marketing has been elevated to becoming indispensable for all commercial endeavors, from small family-owned stores, to multi-national corporations. Without market visibility, a business is all but destined for failure. Ever-inflating marketing budgets are a clear indication that you either promote yourself, or risk getting left by the wayside.

How does this impact professional organization companies? At first glance, it seems to spell certain doom. It’s hard enough to get such a business off the ground as it is, and adding marketing into the mix seems to complicate the process even further. Fortunately, the situation is not as grim as it appears. Marketing your professional organization business certainly has its fair share of challenges, but there are means of tackling them with a modicum of effort and creativity. In the rest of this article, we will explore some of these challenges, and give a few hints on how to solve them more efficiently.

Lack of Money, Time and Staff

Challenge: Possibly the biggest challenge professional organizers face when it comes to marketing, is a lack of adequate resources. First, there is the issue of finance. Advertising can be a significant drain of company funds, especially if a company requires a big clientele for its business model to function. Second, the issue of time. Creating and presenting promotional material requires time, and in rapidly evolving modern markets, time is the one thing you don’t have. Third, the issue of staff. Marketing is best performed by an expert in the field, and small business often can’t afford to hire a dedicated marketing specialist.

Solution: Resources expenditure can be significantly reduced by proper research and planning. There are many marketing methods that don’t require much upfront investment, or can be scaled to fit even smaller budgets. Advertising can be made more time-efficient through the use of widely-available pre-built solutions. Instead of hiring marketing experts, it is possible to become one by taking online courses, which can often be found free of charge.

Neglecting Traditional Marketing

Challenge: The majority of sources online, unsurprisingly, advocate online promotion as the be-all end-all of marketing. While online marketing has seen a veritable explosion in popularity in recent years, many traditional forms of marketing still remain effective today. Not making use of them is a huge missed opportunity, as they can often give a business the edge over competitors that stick solely to online methods. A significant portion of the populace still follows traditional media, while not being too keen on browsing online, making them ideal targets for “analog” marketing tactics.

Solution: Incorporate traditional marketing approaches into your overall marketing strategy. TV and radio ads on local stations are a great way to reach to customers in your local area. Business card printing, custom sticker printing, creating flyers, brochures or coupons, etc. are all cheap and effective ways of spreading word about your business on the street. Anything you can put your logo and company info on can be turned into promotional material at very little extra cost. Since they often deal with clients in person, professional organizers have ample opportunity to distribute such material while they work.

Audience Mistargeting

Challenge: A company can do everything right when it comes to creating and dispersing promotional material, but it can still end up with nothing to show for its efforts. The most common reason for why this happens is due to a misunderstanding of who your audience is. Professional organization is a wide field, and there are many potential audiences to consider. It is not enough have a well thought-out marketing campaign – it also has to be aimed at just the right people. Small business often miscalculate when determining who the ideal target audience, leaving them stranded with a product or service no one seems to want or need.

Solution: There is only one surefire way to make sure your marketing campaign will have an impact – conduct comprehensive market research. This process can be broken down into several smaller ones. First, a survey of opinion has to be performed in some fashion, in order to determine how people feel about a given product or service. Giving demonstrations of your services for free, and soliciting opinions from clients is one way professional organizers can approach this problem. Second, the marketplace must be analyzed to find out whether there are competitors offering something similar, and at what cost. An easy way to do this is to hire one of your competitors to see how they operate first hand. Finally, an estimate has to be made regarding the size of the audience which would suffice to make the venture profitable. Professional organizers need to explore multiple revenue models, including per-service, per-hour, monthly subscriptions, etc.


Tackling major challenges such as these should be the first priority of professional organizers looking to get ahead in the marketing game. There are many smaller issues that will inevitably crop up along the way as well, but tackling them shouldn’t present much difficulty once you have the basics down. Marketing is a chaotic field to move through even at the best of times, but it can be accomplished if you know what to expect before hand, and take adequate preparations.

Photo © Pressmaster / Depositphotos

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Leila Dorari is a marketing consultant and a freelance writer from Sydney. She has been working with different companies for 5 years now. When taking a break from making new marketing slogans, she is either window shopping or exploring new ways to make her life more meaningful.

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  1. Avatar Seana G Turner on June 13, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I love marketing. Lack of time is probably my biggest struggle, but since I enjoy the process, I try to find the time. One of the greatest tools we have is affordable printing. All of those brochures, cards, etc that you mentioned really are within reach for the small business owner. You can do the design easily and quickly, and the products arrive within days. Your idea of hiring a competitor is interesting. I’m not sure how I would feel if I knew someone was hiring me as research for their own competing company. Great to “meet” you here on Janet’s blog!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 15, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      I’m not sure about that tactic either, Seana. Most of the professional organizers I’ve met are happy to share information with their colleagues. They probably would be even more so if they were being paid for their experience and expertise!

  2. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on June 25, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Early on, I found that finding the right people to market to be my biggest issue. Home organizing is a micro-industry and was lumped in with Interior Design or home decorating before the term home organization was popular. Then, came Pinterest and for me, that’s when I was able to target the right people who were looking for home and life organizing tips.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Sabrina – that’s interesting! I definitely remember when “organizing” didn’t come up as a category in most directories.

  3. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on June 25, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve been in business for 25 years and when I first started, social media around. So I used all the traditional forms of marketing. And they were effective. Slowly I changed how I marketed and integrated social media into the mix and have pretty much eliminated any traditional print advertising. But some of the “old school” marketing techniques still work like my “snail mail” quarterly newsletter or giving presentations to targeting groups. While I’ve been pretty consistent with marketing my business over the years, I find that social media has helped me to be engaged on a more regular (daily) basis.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 26, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      It’s easy to fall into the trap of relying exclusively on online marketing – I’m glad that hasn’t happened to you!

      I don’t know many people who send out a newsletter by snail mail. Since most of us don’t receive a lot of real mail anymore, that would definitely help you to stand out and be remembered.

      Presentations are a great way to get in front of a lot of people at one time. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear you speak, but based on your personality and your writing, I’m sure you’re dynamic!

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