Your business is doing great! Congratulations. Running a small company is difficult, and ensuring its success is even harder. It takes a rare breed of person to get this far, and you should be proud.

But no matter how hard you work or how great your idea, the odds are high that you’ll eventually be forced to quit.

Statistics vary, but most numbers claim that 80 to 90 percent of startup businesses eventually fail.

But there is hope.

Delegate, delegate, delegate

According to Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Group, the key to success is this: “Delegate and let go.”

“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur,” Branson says, “you’ve got to learn to delegate.”

Business owners who are willing to take the time to step back, ponder their success and outsource certain tasks are much more likely to do well. That’s encouraging.

What went wrong?

Out there on the periphery of the business landscape are a lot of brilliant minds in hard-working bodies pondering what went wrong.

An analysis of 101 recently shuttered startups revealed a host of issues that commonly plague small businesses: No market for the product. Employees didn’t work well together. Poor product. Better competition.

But get this: One of the top reasons why startups fail, sandwiched right there in the list between Lack of Business Model and Ignore Customers, is this: Poor marketing.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” says best-selling author Seth Godin, a member of the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.

Beth Comstock, vice chair of Business Innovations at General Electric, agrees.

“You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything,” she says.

Are you the 20 percent?

photo-1461782296610-c552d61b149aFor that, you need someone whose expertise is in the craft of storytelling. You need a local marketing pro who understands business but also understands customers. You need a digital marketing firm dedicated to the art of sharing the greatness of your business so you can go on doing what makes it great.

You shouldn’t have to be in charge of operations, customer service, accounting, human resources, janitorial and marketing. Pass a few of those tasks to experts, and save your time and energy for what you do best.

We’ve all seen this happen: A company starts strong with social media and marketing, which helps the business grow. The uptick in work means that the founder no longer has time to manage marketing. Consistency and quality both are impaired. The business stops responding to online reviews, social posts get sloppy, blogs get abandoned. Quickly, the brand gets stale and customer service plummets.

But that’s not you. You haven’t come this far to give up now. You are not one of the 80 percent who think they can do it all themselves. You’re one of the 20 percent who succeed.

If you want to continue on the same growth path, or if you want to take your business to the next level, now is the time to partner with someone who can help. Perhaps that might even be our Bellingham marketing firm.

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