I was hired to work on marketing & website updates for a struggling local business that offers niche products & services.
Client: We created all these products, but most aren’t that popular or profitable. We spent three years developing this business but we have to constantly reach out to encourage more people to show up.
The Client was shaking and becoming visibly angry about this.
Me: Sorry to hear that. It sounds like you put a lot of work into your ideas. I think we can make some improvements.
Client: We offer 16 different combinations of services at each of our four stores, and our customers need to understand what we have to offer them.
The services were confusing and didn’t provide much of a sustainable/long-term profit model. In fact, everything about the business was a bit of a mess:
Client: So now we have four different websites – three of those aren’t very busy, but we need to update them anyway. And we need to attract more people to our four stores. Please hurry with updating our websites so we can increase business as soon as possible.
I spent time at the stores, and maybe a handful or two of people would wander through and purchase items or services on a given day.
I wrote out my recommendations for updating the websites after learning more about their goals, as well as doing some research and analysis. I followed their brand strategy and vision that we discussed. When I presented these to the client, they started to question everything.
Client: I don’t understand why you want to make any of those changes. You know, this is a family business. There’s a lot on the line, here. You can do those small updates, but get my permission before you change anything. We need to get this right. We need more sales ASAP. We have big bills to pay. We took out loans. Please hurry.
The Client became more and more controlling, anxious, and angry as these discussions went on. The products & services were like many other products you could find at stores in the area and online, so they had a lot of competition. Eventually, I had to fire the client because they wouldn’t let me do the job they hired me for.
The Owners had to re-post this job opening every 4 months or so online. They haven’t made much progress on their challenges in years. I think they need more help in terms of defining their goals & purpose than some basic website updates.