20 Small Business Marketing Mistakes Ugandan Businessmen Must Avoid To Succeed

Small Business Marketing MistakesMaking mistakes is human. It’s part of the learning process. But to succeed in your business, you need to be aware of those small business marketing mistakes so that you do not fall prey to them. When you run an advert, you expect good returns. That’s the reason why you are in business. But in the quest of getting the profits, many small businesses make small business marketing mistakes and end up blowing their money and getting disappointed.

For instance, I always see small businesses that continue to run adverts in the local newspapers day after day, week after week and month after month without receiving any positive response. Surprisingly, they don’t do anything to it, but they instead continue hoping to get good results. I refer to that as real madness. There are many such examples of which most Ugandans aren’t aware. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve come up with this educative post.

We all know that to succeed in business, you have to market your products, don’t we? Yes, marketing is what you do to communicate with both your existing and potential customers. If you are spending money on marketing your business, it is vital that you know what works. It’s equally important to know what doesn’t work so that you avoid falling prey to those small business marketing mistakes.

Discover 20 small business marketing mistakes!

#1 – Failure to develop a marketing plan

Not having a marketing plan is one of the most frequent small business marketing mistakes most Ugandans make. But having a plan is so essential to any business person. It helps you market your business in a more focused manner. Remember you use resources like money, time and energy to market your business. You shouldn’t waste these resources.

#2 – Doing too much too quickly when making mistakes.

Most people expect to get returns so quickly that they do so many activities that never work for them. Most Ugandan small businesses, especially startups, fall victim to this common marketing mistake.

For instance, they run adverts on several radios, newspapers and televisions. They also hire salespersons that move to different places marketing door-to-door. With these many marketing initiatives, it’s hard to evaluate the effectiveness of each marketing strategy to your business. Secondly, you spend your limited resources on what even doesn’t work for you.

#3 – Wasting money, energy and time repeating what doesn’t work.

This mistake is one of the small business marketing mistakes that have led to the collapse of most businesses in Uganda. I have turned down numerous requests from media houses to market my small business with them. Why? It’s because they charge a lot of money that my business cannot sustainably afford to pay over a reasonable time.

Learn it from today that you need to spend your valuable resources on sustainable marketing strategies that will work best for you. If you have limited resources, consider using those methods that will cost you less. If possible, try free marketing methods.

#4 – Not knowing what works and what doesn’t to make informed decisions.

Spending money blindly without getting to know what marketing strategy works may not only waste your resources but can also lead to disappointment. I, therefore, advise Ugandan businesspeople to get useful information on the marketing strategies they intend to use and to evaluate them first.

#5 – Not keeping a good record of your customers’ details.

Keeping records of your customers is a great way for your business success. First, you get to know who buys from you. Secondly, their contact details enable you to get in touch with them and to keep your business customer-focused in aspects like sales, marketing, customer service and financial forecasting.

#6 – Not giving a genuine reason for someone to buy from you.

People naturally do not want to sell to them. When customers buy your product, it’s not the product per se that brings them to your business. It’s the satisfaction they derive from using that product. Therefore, you have to provide them with that invincible satisfaction to continue buying from you. It’s essential to understand what your targeted customers buy as you market your business.

#7 – Thinking that business will come to you.

This mindset is one of the most common small business marketing mistakes most Ugandan businesspersons make. After starting a business, they sit back thinking that things will work out by themselves. That’s not how it is. You must spend your time every day developing your business.

Do not just sit in your shop waiting for clients to come by themselves from morning to evening everyday and over some time. Just because your business is in a location where so many people pass is not enough for you to make sales. Business cannot come by itself. You look for it through the daily actions you perform purposefully.

#8 – Untargeted attempts to generate sales.

This one is similar to mistake #7. You have to attempt to generate sales. Know that nowadays, consumers are immune to traditional advertising and marketing methods. With the advent of the internet, blogging, social media and other digital communication channels, the path to purchase is no longer a straight line. A lot of information is needed for your brand to make a sale.

#9 – Jumping from one failed idea to another without stopping to think.

A serious business person will always track the progress of each marketing strategy. By so doing, you get to know what works well and what doesn’t other than jumping from one method to another.

#10 – Relying on only one or two ways of generating business.

It is one of the small business marketing mistakes most people make. Well, it’s good to start with one or two methods to generate business. But along the way, use other marketing methods. It’s when you will be able to make more sales.

#11 – Having your marketing plan in your head.

Your marketing plan is your guide and commitment that walks you to your business success. You cannot just have it in your head because it’s a reference document you and others use to execute your marketing strategies. You need to look at it to review your progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing methods. It is why you need it written down.

#12 – Making poor investment decisions.

Most people invest their money in marketing methods without knowing whether they will work for them. In most cases, these are people who see others doing it, and they also think it will work for them. No. That’s not how it should be. Invest your time in understanding every marketing method you intend to use. Try to discover whether it’s suitable for your business model. Test it before you finally put too much money in it.

#13 – Claiming that you have no time to do the marketing.

Inability to market is one of the most frequent small marketing mistakes most Ugandans make. Business success depends on effective marketing. You have to market and continuously market to generate business. Marketing requires a lot of time. If you think you can’t find that quality time, then doing business is not for you. Better look for a job and get employed instead.

#14 – Believing that you do not have marketing skills.

We all have some skills, but we only have to improve on them through learning. Read and seek to learn from others to better your skills.

#15 – Thinking that marketing is complicated.

Most people think that business marketing is so hard, and it is for people who studied marketing. There is nothing easy. Making money has never been easy. People in business, who make money, persist a lot. There is nothing impossible because the word “IMPOSSIBLE” means “I’m possible”. Develop in mind a positive perception of marketing; you will enjoy it and find it easy.

#16 – Being too busy doing business

Being so busy is prevalent with most Ugandan business people. One wakes up in the morning, goes to his business and waits for customers to come. Day one, one customer comes. The second day, probably one customer turns up. He spends a week, a month or even a year without making reasonable sales. Why? It’s because he is just in business instead of considering how to develop business.

The success of your business depends on your ability to work on it, not just to sit in it. While you have to be around to attend to your customers, you significantly need to work on it to develop it.

#17 – Over complicating marketing activities and messages

Marketing should not be a complicated process. Simplicity is always good for your customers. Therefore use simple marketing messages that target and build a relationship with the people who most need what you offer. Secondly, engage in simple marketing activities with maximum return on investment.

#18 – Inability to explain why someone should buy from you

One day, I hired a graduate salesperson to market our business products. She spent a month reaching out to different customers. What surprised me was that she didn’t make a single sale. Why? She lacked the marketing language. Secondly, she didn’t know what customers were buying. She concentrated on explaining to them the product features instead of the benefits.

#19 – Weak brand identity

Building a strong brand identity makes you stand out of your competitors. A weak brand image breeds poor consumer awareness, limits expansion and diminishes repeat business.

#20 – Pulling out of business is the worst mistake you ever make.

One of the most causes of failure is the habit of quitting when you get faced with a temporary defeat. Carry on and on. When riches begin to come, they come so quickly in such a great abundance that one wonders where they have been hiding during all those years.


A business thrives on marketing. You have to market to succeed in it. However, as you promote your business; be aware of the above mentioned 20 small business marketing mistakes. That’s when you build a successful business.

Hello! My name is Charles Kiyimba, a creative engraver, a professional teacher, a passionate blogger, a confident graphic/web designer and the founder of Goleza Designers Ltd, an engraving business that turns images into real products. Through my hands-on experience, I share with you free helpful information on our products and services, business, marketing and personal development. Always dive in for more!



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