You probably started your own business—with fervour and passion—so you could create financial independence for you and your family, and, well let’s face it, to gain the freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, with enough cash to do it.
The sad fact is that not all businesses run successfully. In fact a whopping 9 out of 10 businesses fail—a pretty grim statistic. What most people don’t realise is that most businesses—especially upon starting-up—commit their share of common mistakes that can be beaten back into submission when you know what they are.
Almost every business owner makes some or all of these mistakes, but lucky for you we’ve put together 7 of the biggest culprits, so you can gain some serious insight into what not to do, and the solutions that will help you turn your business around in 7 days flat!
1. You’re a softy on sales (the biggest culprit!)
Not dedicating enough time to sales and following up is a particularly common and destructive business blunder.
Most small and medium business owners spend little time on selling, engrossed instead on areas such as design and branding. While they certainly count, sales are the cure to most problems that businesses, especially start-ups, face.
The revenue produced by your sales efforts gives you the breathing space and the luxury of outsourcing your workload to others, letting you focus on developing your business.
Still, less than 10 per cent of entrepreneurs and small business owners assign enough time to sales. This one issue is the primary reason why 80 per cent of businesses fail within the first three years.
2. Do your research (the second biggest culprit)
A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs take a personal hobbyhorse stance and sell their products based on what they think the market wants. They neglect to check if anyone else cares about solving the problems their products address.
Thoroughly study your business to identify the cause of the problem, so that you can look for a solution to remedy it. Try to identify the product or services that bring in maximum profits, no matter what your core business is. Based on whatever you find here, you have the information you need to create a redevelopment plan.
The good news is that market research is easier than ever before. You no longer have the excuse that it is expensive and challenging – social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook make getting targeted feedback a breeze.
Also keep in mind that most start-ups waste oodles of their budget on advertising that simply doesn’t work! In fact 99 per cent of marketing messages are totally unproductive.
Standard, unfocused self-promotional marketing flops because customers don’t give two hoots about your brand. What they truly crave are products and services that solve their “pain”. So key your product or service into satisfying the needs of the market – give customers what they want.
3. Success is a team effort!
Get everyone in your business involved, as they too, need to understand your predicament, so that they can help you come up with solutions—you might be surprised at the support and the ideas that they come up with. Explain how the success of your plan will, consequently, lead to them retaining their jobs, building their careers, and explain their new roles to them.
It is important that you monitor, and maintain communication with your staff about the progress and implementation of your plan to turn your business around.
Provide both positive and negative feedback to everyone about their work and eliminate middle management as they are often an additional expense that can be transferred into the rest of the business.
4. The devils of business destruction: Complacency and tinkering
Do not become complacent in your attitude just because of a few positive results. Remember that the commercial space your business inhabits is constantly changing and in response, it is important to periodically make changes to your plans based on what is happening in the competitive business world.
Also too many firms – web and technology ones in particular – shilly-shally. Don’t keep endlessly tweaking your product, or service beyond the point of diminishing returns. Action, such as getting your hands dirty and jumping into the market, can yield infinitely more benefit than a tiny product improvement.
So get your product out there and begin selling it, rather than tweak it endlessly.
5. Be flexible and open
To turn your business around, it is important you never become inflexible in your work attitude, and your willingness to change with the market. Following the same rigid plan is not a good strategy as you will have to periodically make adjustments in your work, or branding strategy—that’s a fact.
Don’t lose yourself in the misconception that a great product or service alone will drive sales. The “build it and they will come” mantra has no house in your business and marketing plan.
The market is overcrowded. Competition is ferocious. Customers are budget-conscious, knowledgeable and shrewd and flooded with up to 30,000 marketing messages a day. You need to be savvy about marketing your product, or service, to a target market that actually wants it for your business to be a success.
6. Be the change you want to see in your business
It is never a good idea to respond to trouble with a feeling of defeat. When the going gets rough, that is when you should think of kicking up your sales training and marketing campaigns to get the best profits and results. If you don’t do this, you may end up having to shut down your business.
Be the change you want to see in your business, take affirmative action, and the rest will follow.
7. Control your expenses
Control your expenses so that you can keep track of and eliminate all expenses that do not add to the profitability of your business. More importantly don’t create a stingy mindset, the adage you need to spend money in order to make it stands true more than ever! Don’t skimp—reward.
Last, but not least, it is important that you start each business day with a positive attitude knowing that you’re going to win. Keep thinking and saying to yourself that no matter what happens, you will succeed at turning your business around.
The most successful businesses in history failed over and over again, but never quit—that is exactly why they became powerhouses in their field. This is important as failure is only part of the game, while quitting only means you are admitting defeat. Play to win and you will!