The Great Success Destroyer

March 2020


Learned Helplessness is a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.

It’s sneaky. Many people don’t even realize that they live in learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is the feeling of “I can’t” that builds from past experiences or failures.

Common symptoms of learned helplessness include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Passivity
  • Poor motivation
  • Giving up
  • Lack of effort
  • Frustration
  • Procrastination
  • Failure to ask for help

Learned Helplessness is far too rampant in one area of operating a small business – marketing.

Only 40% of small business in the world are profitable. 30% only break even and the other 30% are failing because they are losing money. These numbers would be much different if marketing efforts were more successful across the board.

Marketing that drives profit generating sales – and makes it possible to deliver goods, products and services to people who want to buy them – is tough to master. If marketing were easy, a lot more small businesses would be profitable. If marketing were easy, a lot more small business owner operators would not be eternally frustrated. If marketing were easy, a lot fewer small business owner operator would succumb to life’s greatest temptation, which is to settle for less.

I submit that every small business owner operator has experienced some learned helplessness. And that the principle cause of learned helplessness for small business owners is on-going frustration with marketing.

How does this happen? Here’s an all too common story. Read on please.

First, we have to consider this question. How many small business owner operators do you think have a degree in marketing, either from a community college or a four-year school? I’ll tell you how many – none. That’s right, practically none, or less. In my 40 plus years of business consulting I’ve only met two or three business owners operators with a marketing degree. And I’ve met thousands of small business owners.

Second, we have this question. How many small business owner operators do you think have read a serious book or two on the subject of marketing? Well, probably more than none, but not a lot more. And by read, I mean really read it, studied it thoroughly, and used some of the principles in it. How many? Again, practically none.

So, is it any wonder why so many small business owner operators have problems marketing their goods, products and services? They don’t know what works and what does not. They are literally throwing gobs and gobs of spaghetti on the wall, hoping some of it will stick, only to see most of it fall on the floor. Resources: time and money squandered, again and again and again. That’s frustrating. There’s got to be a fix for this.

Now of course, we cannot expect all the small business owner operators in the world to suddenly take a sabbatical from work and go off to college for a few years to study marketing. Won’t happen. But clearly, we can reasonably expect many small business owner operators to take advantage of books and on-line short courses, seminars and input from experts. There are lots of them.

So why do you think most do not even to that? Two words: learned helplessness. Because of years of frustrating experiences, they don’t believe there are marketing solutions that they can find and use that will produce better sales results and greater business income. They have tried a lot of things, thrown a lot of spaghetti at the wall and – nada. After years of this, they have come to believe they can’t get better at getting good at marketing. That’s learned helplessness. That’s a tragedy.

It’s a subtle trap. It sneaks up on you. It’s hard to see it. And if it gets you, it’s hard to get out.

Successful marketing and efficient fulfillment after a sale has occurred, makes a business grow. It’s never random luck with the spaghetti. When it comes to marketing your business, you must know what works and be able to do enough of what works consistently. That will produce two things, profits and satisfaction. No more learned helplessness. No sir. Learned Success instead.

It’s better and more nourishing to eat spaghetti than it is to pick it up off the floor. So, refocus your business to make it more profitable.

If you aren’t where you want to be in terms of sales income in your small business, and you don’t have a crystal-clear path to get there – what are you going to do about that? You think you could use some help?

Even when you know a lot about marketing, it’s the adapting of marketing strategies to an ever-changing world of needs and wants people have that makes marketing work for your business. That’s the tricky part. You might need some outside expert help.

When you know what needs to happen – business gotta grow – but you don’t know how to make that happen, that’s terrible. That needs to stop. And it can. If you are willing to learn about and to then use what is PROVEN TO WORK. And if you can adapt what is proven to work to the circumstances present in your small business operation.

If you think you could use some help with that, we’re ready to help. It’s what we do.