It’s never a wonderful circumstance to be in… When your business goes under, not only are your employees left without a job, but your brand is tarnished, and it may be very difficult for you to reclaim any sense of what you once had, combined with the dire financial circumstances. Most people, before they submit to liquidation, express many regrets, and wish they were a bit more careful and had the foresight to notice the signs that their business was deteriorating. So, here are the key signs that your business could be failing, and what you can do about it.
You Keep Making The Same Mistakes
It can be difficult to notice first, but if you realize that you are making the same mistakes time and time again, you need to address your problem-solving abilities. Because you solve the problem once, it doesn’t mean that it won’t come up again. This means that the methods of how you solved the problem needs addressing, but lots of companies tend to firefight rather than take a proactive approach to solving the problem. So, this could be through various aspects of your business performance, from the staff to your analytics, to your client relationship, these all need to be focused on. Addressing how are you solve the problem isn’t always about tackling each individual problem, but rather than the method in which you go about problem-solving in general. So, by looking at exactly how you structure the issue of solving problems, this should help you get to the source of the problem. It could be something as simple as staff members who are in charge of solving problems aren’t doing a good enough job, or you don’t have the tools at your disposal. Problem-solving is such an essential skill, but if you haven’t got the right problem solvers on board that have the best processes at hand, your business is a sinking ship. The great thing about developing a model for problem-solving is that once a suitable method is hit upon, this can be applied to so many other aspects of the business. It’s a big task to fix in itself, but the task of problem-solving is a vital one.
You’re Struggling Financially
Very simply, if you are having difficulties in paying your bills on time, this needs to be a priority. If you are constantly chasing your tail and struggling to pay suppliers, as well as your employees, this needs to be tackled head-on. You can do this by undertaking a very holistic approach to your bill payer, and gradually digging yourself out of debt one bit at a time. You could apply the debt snowball method if you find yourself struggling to pay certain bills on time, and this is where you pay off the smallest bill first, and then go onto the next bill in the chain, and keep paying them until they’ve all been settled. In addition to this, your spending habits need addressing. For example, if you view client lunches as an essential part of building business relationships, this needs to go. If you find yourself digging into petty cash on an all too regular basis, it’s time to start putting the funds towards saving your business. We can have an over-reliance on petty cash and feel that we can dip into it now and again with a justification and it’s for the good of the business, when in fact it’s a night out! This is a very poor attitude to have. What you need to start doing is assess your attitude towards the finances, and so, it’s all about embracing the mindset of looking for a bargain. Believe it or not, it can work in business. You could rent office space that is cheaper than your current location, and look at making a lot of your workers performing tasks from home. Remote working has many benefits, and when it comes to saving money, this means that you don’t even necessarily have to operate in a business location. You can make the most of virtual office services to keep that impression of having a physical space, and when you need to set up meetings, you can rent somewhere for this very reason. It can be a big investment at the front, unfortunately, but if you can sweet talk some angel investors into giving you the necessary finances up front, this could be the shot in the arm your business needs.
You Haven’t Made a Change in Forever
Complacency is the enemy of business progression. If you find yourself resting on your laurels, and you haven’t changed a thing in the last year, this is a very bad sign. Unfortunately, this is something that you might not notice until it is too late. Change and innovation don’t have to be massive, seismic events; they can be little changes you can put in gradually over time to make processes easier, your product better, and so forth. If you look at something like your business automation, are you using this enough to benefit your company? Automation is something that so many businesses are taking on board with extreme gusto now, and some people are using it to further their relationships with their clients and customers. The CRM systems we see a lot now are being used in a widespread fashion, but the importance of automation now is that, as well as it making your business operate far smoother, it’s a fantastic way to reduce manpower, and therefore, cost. You might think that because everything is running in a timely manner, that you don’t need to change anything. This is another big mistake that businesses make. Even though everything is running smoothly right now, and you see no reason to implement changes, the fact that you are not innovating or changing with the times you could mean you are a ticking time bomb.
Yes, your employees not being happy with certain processes is always par for the course. But if you’ve got fundamental problems with your workforce, such as your employee turnover rate is unusually high, or you don’t have the funds to sustain certain employees, meaning that people are doubling up their roles, or changing roles, this is such an unstable environment that morale will be very low. Boosting employee morale is a skill that every entrepreneur and business needs, and it’s achievable by a few simple things. Communication is always the key, so have regular company meetings, keep in touch sessions, and company events where you have the opportunity to socialize with your employees, so they can get truthful answers to those burning questions. A supportive working environment is what every employee deserves, and if they see constant change, this is not going to do them any favors with regards to the frame of mind, and it can negatively impact the office culture. When we have issues like this, negativity becomes toxic, so this has to be managed.
There Is No Word Of Mouth Around You
Your clients and your customers are instrumental to the success of your business, even potential ones. And so, if you aren’t looking for ways to increase communication with future clients or customers, this doesn’t translate to revenue and profit. You need to be talking to potential customers as well as brand new ones on a regular basis because this is you touching base with the people who are lining your pockets. That constant development, in looking for new customers, new lead generation, as well as new clients and sponsors, is the key to getting your business further afield. Likewise, there is nothing worse than not being talked about, and if nobody is speaking about your business, either via word of mouth, marketing or through networking, this doesn’t leave you in a desired position. You are not hot property, and so you are not showing up as an influencer, or you are not on resource lists. You need to change this by attacking your marketing strategy with everything you’ve got. Look at your marketing channels; are they the most effective ones right now? If they are not, it’s time to bring in some experts to either change your brand, change your approaches to engaging with potential customers, or, very simply, get out on the street! Get the opinions of old and new customers, and find out exactly why your business isn’t doing as well as it should. And it doesn’t take much effort to get out on the street now because you don’t need to literally do it, get online, look at online reviews and look at the current trends. By getting a true perspective of your position in the marketplace, you can start to address the balance far more effectively. Ignorance is bliss, but that doesn’t translate into sales and profit.
Failure is such an ugly word in business, it means that you haven’t succeeded in pretty much everything, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, start to think about what aspects you are failing in, and address these. These aspects are a few small examples of a much bigger picture, and so, if any of these red flags show up, it’s time to turn the failures into successes.