A business does not fail overnight. In fact, if you look closely, there are a few key signs that can help you identify a failing business months before it happens. Some of these signs include a halt in growth, poor cash-flow management, and a glaring lack of innovation or differentiation. The first thing most business owners do to try and save their business is cut expenses, but that only slows down the inevitable. What you need to do is breathe new life into a dying business by jump-starting it. These steps suggested below will help you give your dying business the jolt of energy it needs to get back on the path to success.
Pivot and change direction
Pivoting sounds simpler than it actually is, and could mean many different things to different businesses. For some, it might mean changing your business model, for others, it might mean moving to a completely different vertical or changing your target customer. Maybe you thought your product would sell well with acoustic guitar players, but in fact, it might sell better with piano players. You might need to sell an entirely different product. This sometimes happens because business owners didn’t properly validate their business ideas or products before launching. You need to do a close analysis of what’s working and what’s not, and consider making drastic changes.
A rebrand isn’t generally the first thing business owners think about when sales start to plummet. But sometimes, when products and business aren’t positioned properly, a rebrand is necessary to solve that problem.
A rebrand that will successfully jump-start your business isn’t going to be as simple as changing your logo. Your entire brand’s approach to how it positions itself in the market will need an overhaul to see a major impact.
Niche down and focus
When a business owner tries to do too many different things, it can cause the business to stretch itself too thin. In other cases, a lack of focus could mean the target niche is too broad. When your target customer is everyone, it’s really nobody. This is why getting really specific with your target customer is important. Do you really know who your customer is?
Create a new marketing plan
Are you making the most of social media? Is your website optimised and appearing in searches where customers are trying to find you? Perhaps you overestimated the market size or your market research was poorly executed. A new marketing plan can reinvigorate your business by giving you a blank slate. What you were doing before clearly wasn’t working so a fresh marketing plan that tries new things just might get your business out of a rut.
Take more risks
Many business owners believe that during a time of crisis, their best option is to play it safe. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking bold risks is often the best course of action to save a dying business. When you think about it, you have a lot less to lose when your business is nearing its end. You’re much better off trying new and crazy things than being conservative.
Worst case scenario, sell the business
When you can’t turn something around, it might be best to cut your losses and move on. As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another one opens.” A failing business can create opportunities if you can look at the silver linings. One opportunity could be selling the business and giving way to a new business idea. Just because a business fails (or is failing), that doesn’t mean your life as an entrepreneur needs to ends as well. Start a new business. Take the experience with you, and learn from it.
When you know your business is on its last legs, you need to be proactive. Don’t sit back and wait for things to happen before you take action. Take actions that are not only preventative (before things get any worse) but that also fix glaring problems.
There’s no better feeling for an entrepreneur than when he or she is able to turn something around for the better. Every entrepreneur is faced with challenges and a failing business is just one of many.
By Damilola Faustino
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