If You Build It, Will They Come?

You’ve probably driven by a newly-constructed strip mall only to see that there are no tenants. In some instances, one or two spots have been leased while the others remain empty. Another common sight these days? Empty restaurants with handwritten signs taped to the door that read “Closed” or “Out of Business.”

I’ve always heard that approximately half of new businesses fail, and that seems like a fairly accurate assumption. I know I’ve starting plenty of projects and websites that didn’t work out for me in the long run, and I have friends that have done the same.

A Venetian Store with *Excellent* Hours

Why do so many new businesses fail?

There are dozens of reasons of why new businesses fail. Maybe they started the business with insufficient capital—and not have enough cash to last very long, in hopes of becoming instantly rich. Maybe they never had an actual business plan and tried winging, thinking things would fall into place. Maybe their management skills just aren’t that great.

A lot of times, though, people open new businesses in locations where they’re almost destined to fail. There are zoning laws in place to prevent certain things from happening, such as a bar or a nightclub opening next to a daycare center or a school. That seems like common sense anyway, but far too often new business owners don’t use their own common senses. They’re so excited to get things off the ground that they try to do business in the wrong place.

A high-end store like Nordstrom wouldn’t survive in a low-income neighborhood and a funnel cake stand probably wouldn’t do too hot in front of a fitness center. Brand new strip malls usually remain empty if there is no easy way to get in and out of the parking lot. If you can’t turn left into the place without making a U-turn somewhere down the road, you’ll probably wind up losing a lot of customers.

Real estate agents have stressed for decades that it’s all about “location, location, location!” and it seems as if they’re right. You may not run a brick-and-mortar business, but if you try to promote yourself in the wrong places, you can wind up failing miserably.

What’s your “Online Location”?

A lot of bloggers try to comment on other sites in order to drive traffic to their own, but if you leave comments on a website that deals with a completely different niche than your own, you’re probably not going to receive many new visitors.

Or perhaps they’re targeting the wrong audience for their online business.  This often happens when someone does keyword research, not knowing what result the person is looking to obtain.

The most successful online businesses create a great location by understanding the true desires of their perfect customer and being in the right position to give it to them.

Before you place links to your website or information about your business all over the internet, think about its location. Will it actually benefit you? How are you finding the people who will be best served by your product?  Are you doing a good job letting them know what you have to offer?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this in the comment section below…

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8 thoughts on “If You Build It, Will They Come?”

  1. Hi Steve,

    You’re so right when you say that many people are just winging it or have no real business plan. I think we have a tendency to buy into the dream of owning your own store and making tons of money, but some people don’t do their due diligence beforehand and wonder why their businesses fail. There are a lot of things to consider besides your product and you’ve highlighted some great ones. It’s not always the economy that causes businesses to fail. There are many things under your control that you can do. But, as you say, you need to know which thing to concentrate on that will get you the best return for your investment.

    Interesting article.

    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Do You Recognize These Common Excuses =-.

    • Actually… I just reread this article after sending that private email. Maybe this is something that I have to work on myself. Perhaps start regularly commenting on sites that are similar to this one. Maybe that’ll bring a bunch of people over to my site. Might do the trick to increase the number of comments I’m getting.

  2. Steve,

    It definitely helps if you have some sort of strategy. Keyword research helps, as does using Google blog search to located related blogs. Oh, and don’t forget to search for related forums you can join. Once you’ve found related blogs and forums, you also need some kind of plan for participating in the discussions on the blogs and forums. Just like you need a plan for participating in social media. Without a plan, any of these can suck up all your time and not leave any for actual work.
    .-= Joe´s last blog ..Weekend Reading =-.

    • Agree with all points Joe! This is something I’m starting to realize with this blog. I think I have pretty good content here, but my networking skills are definitely lacking. Maybe it’s time to change that and reach out to other sites.

  3. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been making these mistakes. I haven’t clearly defined my site and I’m not targeting the customers I want correctly.

    At least this is something I can fix. Thanks for the wake up call. I’ve got a lot of work to do and hopefully it’ll improve my results too.
    .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Internet Marketing Coaching – Difference Between Success and Failure =-.

    • Trust me… I feel the same way. I’m starting to realize that I’ve made a few mistakes in promoting this site. The good news is a little hard work on both parts can make a huge difference.

  4. I believe it’s like anything else, even relationships, you start something new, it’s all great in the beginning and then for some reason it all fails…..humanity no matter what you are doing we have to make things work. And you don’t. then nothing works. great post

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