Am I Crazy To Start a Small Business Now? – 3 Basic Marketing Questions


Over my 25+ years of working with small business owners, I have seen a lot of successes, failures and everything in between.

Starting and running a small business today is not for the faint of heart, but it can be one of the most rewarding endeavors you will ever take on in your business life. 

Here are some basic facts you should consider when asking yourself “Am I crazy to start a small business now?”:

Small businesses comprise:

• 99.9% of all firms 

• 99.7% of firms with paid employees 

• 97.4% of exporters (280,496) • 46.8% of private sector employees (61 million) 

• 43.5% of gross domestic product • 39.7% of private sector payroll 

• 35.6% of private sector receipts ($13.3 trillion) 

• 31.6% of known export value ($460 billion) 


The 2016-2018 two-year survival rate for young employer establishments (2-3-year-old firms surviving to at least 4-5 years old) was 71 percent.

Source: BED, BDS; Office of Advocacy calculations

Now that you see these statistics, I hope you have come to the conclusion that you are NOT CRAZY to think about starting a small business, especially now after recent world events. 

What IS crazy is not creating and completing a thorough business plan to ensure that your business has ANY chance of success. Included within that business plan is a marketing plan which is a key element of whether your business will survive and grow or not.

Given the number of new online businesses being formed during the pandemic, it is critical that you first answer the following three marketing questions:

1.Who is my target Audience for my products / services?

2.Who are my competitors and why should potential customers choose my business over theirs?

3. How should I package / price my products /services?

After working with hundreds of small businesses, I will say that the answer I get most to the first question is “I want to sell to everybody in the country / world”. This is not a practical response for many reasons, the most important being that no small business could afford to strategically market their products/services to everyone, which is why the first question is probably the most important to understand, and the one that so many small business owners get wrong from the onset. 

Target Audience

Depending upon what you sell, your target audience might be niche or broader. For example, if you were a