Why is that 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first five years? Insufficient capital is one reason behind that Small Business Administration statistic. Poor management plays a role, as does a lack of planning and a bad location.

But misguided marketing may be the paramount problem.

If your profits aren't what they could be, or should be, you could be messing up your marketing. You may be guilty of one or more of the dangerous dozen: the 12 biggest marketing mistakes new companies commit.

You are, if you:

1. Play the same game. Your key competitors are all about LinkedIn and Facebook and YouTube, so you decide to copy them and follow suit. Bad idea. You can't and won't stand out until you market in ways the others don't.

2. Believe that your "stuff" sells itself. Ya think? It's never been easier for prospects to get elsewhere the products and services your firm sells. But they can't get you, and your team. Sell yourselves and your collective expertise and skills first.

3. Have bios that are a bust. Your personal promotion profiles on your website and in your social media channels are your most versatile, valuable and vital personal marketing tools. If your bios don't say "special," prospects say "see ya."

4. Have a wimpy website. The average website visit is four seconds and two clicks. Given those limitations, your website doesn't work if visitors can't quickly figure out you what you do, why you're special and why they should care. No website is better than a bad one.

5. Bury your benefits. To many people, what your company does means nothing, but how your clients benefit means everything. Explain how you help them increase profits as well as save time, money and stress, etc.

6. Don't build your base. Successful companies realize there's strength in (database) numbers. Build yours as big as possible, as soon as possible. That can be as easy as offering a free video or special report in return for a visitor's contact information.

7. Forget your fans. Failing to regularly market to your clients is a recipe for financial disaster. Your current clients, after all, are your best clients. They know, respect and value you, and they're seven times more likely to make a new purchase than are new prospects.

8. Pass up their pain. If you're not playing doctor, you're not playing for keeps. Find out what hurts — the biggest challenges your prospects face in your industry niche and use your marketing materials to suggest your company as the remedy.

9. Don't spread the good word. It's not enough for your firm to gain your buyers' attention. You have to maintain it. Talk, text, tweet and blog about what's new, now and newsworthy about your company.

10. Have no "next." Once they say, "Wow!," what now? If you need their business, you need a compelling call to action. Hint: "Call for a free consultation" ain't it.

11. Have a vapid voicemail. Americans spend 3.2 billion hours a year talking to and listening to voicemail. What do callers hear when they don't hear you? If your message isn't memorable, you lose.

12. Choose to advertise rather than publicize. New companies typically don't get big contracts from big ads. But they can get those contracts when they take advantage of the best advertising that money can't buy: free publicity. Articles and blog posts about you have more impact and credibility than ads paid for by you.