What Small Business Owners Are Telling Us – Podcast Episode 273

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Latest, Marketing Strategies, Podcast, Small Business Help | 0 comments

Hey there, my fabulous listener, welcome to episode 273 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.

Thanks for lending me your ears today – I know you have lots of choices, so I sincerely appreciate me being one of them!

Did you know it’s about 9 weeks until the end of January? Crazy yes? Why am I telling you this? Well because my Nine Week Marketing Transformation program is perfect for you if you want to get your marketing humming and booming before February next year – when lots of businesses really hit the ground running.  If you want 2024 to be different in your business, maybe that starts with your marketing being different – and my Nine Week Transformation program could be just the answer.  It’s currently on sale for $497 – save $500 – plus a bonus of 2 x 30 minute sessions with me – worth almost $300 – so really you are paying $197 for the course!  Check out the link in the show notes or go here: https://socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/9-week-marketing-transformation-program/

Don’t forget you can get the show notes for this podcast at www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/273

Did you have a listen into last week’s episode? Last week was all about my journey to writing and publishing my book Small Town Big Impact.  I threw back the curtains and let you into all the nitty gritty. If you haven’t already listened in, to and do so after this podcast! www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/272

As you may or may not know I am one of the 5 Australian Business Thought Leaders who run the annual Big Small Business Survey and the results for the 2023 survey are in and I thought we’d go through some of the findings today on the podcast.

So, let me set the scene with some information on who participated in the survey:

  • 8% were from Australia
  • The major age demographic was 43-58 (Gen x) followed by Millennials and then Boomers
  • 30% had been in business 10+ years, with 15% being startups (less than 2 years) and almost 20% have been in business more than 20 years
  • Over 60% turnover less than 500K per annum, and
  • The majority of people (36%) worked with themselves, with 60% doing it from their homes!

The three biggest challenges in business right now for participants in the Big Small Business Survey were

  • Understanding the best way to grow their business (34%)
  • How and where to find customers (30%) and
  • Not having enough leads (25%).

Interestingly only 4% said their concerns were around interest rates and 10% around consumer confidence – which I would say is the opposite to what we hear constantly in the news cycles.  I often wonder if the news cycles just makes this stuff up or whether they actually talk to a small business owner or two!

I thought it was interesting that the top three were about growth in business – best ways to grow, need more customers, need more leads.  There is definitely something in that, when times are tough, small business owners dig in and grow rather than retract and hide.

Where the small business owners who participated thought their biggest opportunities for the next 12 months were are:

  • Creating new partnerships and collaborations
  • Systemising and scaling their business, and
  • Increase sales overall

If you’re in the business of teaching people how to create partnerships and collaborations or how to systemise and scale – you are 100% in the right place at the right time heading into 2024.

Katrina McCarter, one of my fellow thought leaders on this survey, is the queen of partnerships and collaborations – so make sure you touch base with her and be her super fan in the next twelve months.

But despite all the negativity and all the work it takes to be a small business owners, it would appear that we wouldn’t have it any other way!  Over half the people surveyed said the best thing about self employment is flexibility with 63% saying they get to choose the direction of their business, 34% saying they can make an impact on the world and 33% said that they enjoy not answering to anyone!

Would you agree? I am like yell yes, baby, that is one hundred percent me!

There were five categories in the survey

  • Staffing and training
  • Pricing
  • Marketing
  • Mental health, and
  • Technology

If you want to see all the results, you can go here: [insert the url] and download them all, but I am going to dig into the marketing results – surprised aren’t you!

“In tough economic times when people spend less money, having effective marketing is more important than ever. Strategy and consistency are key for brands that want to get noticed, get leads and maintain market share. Business owners are facing the multi-pronged challenge of deciding on a strategy, implementing it and maintaining the work they do to market their business. In 2023, they have found themselves overwhelmed by the number of options out there and confused about which approach is right for them. As a result, their efforts are inconsistent and they’re not achieving the returns they want.”   – that’s my quote from inside the results.

Here’s some of the results we found:

The biggest challenges when it comes to marketing were

  • 57% – not being consistent with marketing efforts
  • 46% – challenged by not producing and delivering good quality content
  • 36% – not knowing what marketing strategy works best.

Interestingly, over 70% said they had a clear understanding of their target customer, with evidence to back that up and honestly, I’ve gotta say, I think they are kidding themselves.  Almost every small business owner who comes to me with a variety of issues, challenges or problems, they ALL stem back to not knowing who their target audience is, and where they hang out.  I think the problem is that we think we know, but we don’t.  We think we are our own target audience, and the fact is that we probably aren’t.

If 70% of small business owners truly knew who their target audience was, then marketing wouldn’t be overwhelming for almost 70% of them, you wouldn’t have issues with consistency with marketing – because you know your target audience and you would know exactly what strategy worked best.

I’m sorry, but from a marketing professional point of view, I think this is the root cause of so much angst around marketing – we think we know, but we do not.

Off my high horse now, more than half of the survey small business owners said they were using AI (like Chatgpt) in some aspects of their marketing, and 33% said they use social media several times a week to promote their business, 10% saying they use it multiple times a day.

Embracing AI is exciting and I am so pleased so many small business owners are exploring and being curious about AI and what it can do from them.

If you remember the second biggest challenge for small business owners was systemising and scaling their business – well AI can certainly help with that.  In fact, the gift from David Jenyns, another one of my fellow co-thought leaders in this field offered a free webinar on just this for people who filled out the survey.  He might just give you access if you ask!

So, what’s the solution to all these issues? Clarity around marketing is key to success. Business owners struggle to find the time and access the support they need to work from the bottom up, by identifying their goals and then crafting a marketing strategy around them. The next step is to stay the course and produce consistent content in order to build audience and engagement.

And if I can be so bold, and I can because this is my podcast, the solution is my Nine Week Marketing Transformation Program.  There’s a reason why the weeks are things like Who is your Who, your messaging, your branding, social media marketing, PR strategies, marketing strategies and so forth.  It’s no coincidence AT ALL that my Nine Week Transformation program is NINE WEEKS and the units are what they are.  It’s strategic, very strategic because I know you and I know what you need the most help with to get to where you want to be and reach those goals.

If you want to know more – heading to my website https://socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/9-week-marketing-transformation-program/ and find the program under Courses in the top menu, or if you’re still undecided, reach out to me via email and we can have a chat – jenn@jenndonovan.com.au.

It is still on sale – for only $497 because I know you need this and although I too as a small business owner need to make money and therefore cannot afford to give it away for free, I know the price, at this point in time, needs to be somewhere between what you can afford right now and what will make you do the work – there’s enough pain parting with that amount of money that you are willing to do the work because it’s a marketing transformation program, but only if you do the work.  In fact there’s a 90 day money back guarantee that it will work, but again, you have to do the work!

Ok, that’s enough salesy stuff from me, but as much as I am selling you something, I believe in my soul that I am doing so to make your business life simpler.

So, what did you learn about small business owners like yourself in this ep? Anything new or did you just nod along because the results sound exactly like you and your current business journey?

I’d love to hear from you in the Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group. You can join the group here and then come tell me what your thoughts and feelings are about the results https://www.facebook.com/groups/LikeMindedBusinessOwners

But, that’s it for episode 273. If you loved this episode and found it valuable, please take 30 seconds out of your day to leave me a rating and review if you want where you are listening.  One more goal of mine is to reach more people with this podcast, and you can help me achieve that, by leaving me a review!  Thanks in advance.

See you next week on the podcast for episode 274!  There is only 2 to go until the end of 2023 – yikes!

But in the meantime, let’s hang out on social and get social on social – you’ll find me on Instagram, Facebook and my fav LinkedIn.

But whatever you do,

……..remember small business peep, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!



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Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!

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