By Kaya Singer, Awakening Business Solutions Portland, Oregon

I get lots of calls from struggling small business owners who say they need help with marketing.  They assume this is the issue because they only have a trickle of clients and they want a waterfall!

They figure the problem is with their marketing, and once they solve that, more money will come their way. It is logical but not always the first problem.

Early on in my first business I used to think that same way. I assumed I was just not presenting my programs correctly, and  if I could figure that secret, more customers would come my way. I wasted  a lot of time, spent too much money and got nowhere.

I was like many people who started a business from my own passion. I wanted to do something meaningful to me and make a difference. I developed a system that I knew would help people. It was good, so I just couldn’t get it why they weren’t swarming to hire me.

I was approached by many savvy marketers who offered me great deals to put up advertising in cool places and they convinced me that thousands of people would see my ads. I got confused and side-tracked like many new entrepreneurs.

I am now aware that the very first thing you need to know is that there is a driving need in the world community that you will be addressing via your business. Without isolating that driving need first and foremost, you can’t build a marketing plan, you won’t be able to figure out your niche market or develop a business plan. You will be confused, overwhelmed and go around in circles.

Many inventions have seemed amazing while still on the workbench in the builder’s garage, and then once taken out into the world, fell flat because there was no driving need for it and no shared passion. It was important only in the eyes of the inventor.

People won’t invest their hard earned dollars for something they don’t feel a driving need and a passion for, and this is especially real in the service based business realm. This is true for coaching, therapy, graphics design, web development, copywriting and many other great services that require a person to invest over a hundred dollars and make a big commitment.

Here are three questions to ask to help you get clearer about this issue.

1. What is the driving need that you are addressing in your business? There needs to be a deep need that a strong group of people have, that is emotionally compelling to them.

2. What common passion do all these people have? It can’t be just one person, but a large community of shared stories.

3. What kind of action do these people want to do in order to have a positive, lasting change? There needs to be an impulse for taking action, for perceived benefit.

Once you can clearly articulate the burning need, marketing becomes much easier and the money steam will flow a lot stronger. If you are running a business from your own passion, this piece is essential!  It takes time to figure this out but unless you do it, you won’t have a business, you will only be your own best customer.

Listen to people, ask questions and you will know in your gut when you have figured out the driving need that your business will address. After that, a well strategized marketing plan will help you move forward and will bring you the waterfall you desire.