Your business has taken its lumps and it isn’t where it should be. If things do not change its very future may be in jeopardy. A flagging business is no fun — you will have to work harder to revive it and that work takes time. The following are some strategies you can take to get your business back on track.
1. Get Focused
What brought you to the point of failure could be any number of things. Those things may include a host of distractions and less important projects which have cost you much time.
Evaluate what you do and eliminate all extraneous tasks. If a certain task still must be done, then turn it over to an employee or hire someone to do the work for you. Your time is too valuable to get bogged down with minor activities.
2. Do What You Do Best
As a business owner you understand what you do well. You also know there are some tasks you could do which are better left for other managers and employees to handle.
Your team should fill in those gaps and complement you. If your people do not meet those needs, train them. Or, replace them with people who can get the job done.
3. Keep It Lean
Some business owners run into trouble when they begin to live beyond their means. You might have strayed when you upgraded to a posh office, traded in your clunker car for a fancy sedan, or began to rely on credit instead of cash.
Consider your overhead: if your expenses are greater than your income it is time to bring out the clipping shears. This may include downsizing your office, holding your utility costs in place, restricting credit or even terminating excess staff.
4. Embrace Change
There are no certainties in life. Except death and taxes. Your business may be flagging because you have resisted making changes you know would most likely benefit your business.
Take out your business plan and review it. You might not have looked at it for many years and it may no longer reflect what your business is about. At least not accurately. Develop action plans to help bring about change. If you have employees, they need to be sold on these ideas as well.
5. Find Investors or a Partner
If your flagging business is suffering because of a lack of cash, cutting back may not be enough. Reorganizing your business to attract investors or a business partner may be the way to go.
Investors want to make money. Your financial statements must be in order and profitable. Your business model must also demonstrate ongoing financial success. If your business concept is a solid one, then investors will beat a path to your door. It can also provide a way for you to attract a partner who will invest his own money.
6. Maintain Integrity
When times get tough some people may be tempted to take shortcuts. You may enjoy short-term gains by cutting corners, but those moves will eventually come back to bite you. Worse, are those decisions you make that are unethical or illegal. You have sacrificed your integrity and you may not get your reputation back.
Your business is not so important that your integrity is impugned. It would be better to make do with little and keep your company with the poor, than to have great riches and spend time with those who do not reflect your values.
7. Establish an End Game
You say you will never quit your business. How foolish a statement! You may have plans to work well past the customary retirement age, but some day you will die. A succession plan can provide the right transition, but it may not be the way you should quit your work.
If your business is beyond redemption, shutting it down may be the best option. There is nothing wrong with quitting when all options have been exhausted. You’ve given it your best and now it may be time to move on.
Small business owners often struggle to balance their work and personal lives. There are times when the two may meld and become indistinguishable, a dangerous place for most of us.
Look at your flagging business as an opportunity to reassess everything you do. Base your decision on what is best for you.
See Also — The Fundamentals of a Three-Month Sales Plan