Failure doesn’t happen overnight: it’s usually the result of multiple factors, and can sometimes be seen coming by a number of red flags. With over half of businesses failing in the first five years, it’s important to stay alert to the signs and make changes when necessary – beyond simply slashing budgets.
Here are three ways you can breathe fresh life into your business when you can feel that it’s starting to struggle. This, of course, isn’t a fool-proof or comprehensive list, but these three things when implemented correctly can help save a business.
Sometimes our customer base surprises us, or products change, or new competitors come onto the market. Products which are sometimes aimed at one demographic can be surprise hits with others; other times, no one is targeted at all.
The old belief that people will somehow sense your product exists and come to buy it simply isn’t true: if you’re not actively communicating your product to the right people in the right way, they might simply glaze right over it.
Rebranding can be an effective way to garner more attention, especially when your products themselves receive positive feedback. If you want to keep your products the way they are, simply mixing up their packaging and your marketing messages can have a profound impact: just make sure you do your market research first.
Speaking of market research, many entrepreneurs and business owners simply don’t do enough before launching. In this case, they may suddenly find that their products aren’t as popular as they expected them to be, or that their business model simply isn’t working for them.
If this is the case for you, take the time to find out, thoroughly, which parts of your business are succeeding and which aren’t, what parts of your message are resonating with customers and which are being ignored, and what motivations customers have for purchasing your products when they do.
When you’ve identified these strengths and weaknesses, change your business to focus more on the things that are working. This can be a difficult process, but pivots are sometimes necessary and business saving.
If you’re a jack of all trades, it could be that you’re being perceived as a master of none. That, or the stretch of doing too many things at once is simply taking its toll.
Niche markets can be powerful places to be: if you can narrow down your focus, you can improve the products you do have and increase your brands reputation in a certain space.
Think about all the times you’ve gone out to dinner: often, a smaller menu is a sign of better quality dishes (and certainty of less stressed chefs).
If your business is struggling, immediate action can help turn things around. By ensuring your products are being promoted in the right way, your business structure is effective and your focus is sharp you can improve your sales and save your business.
If nothing works, you may need to cut your losses and start a new business with the lessons you learnt from the previous one, but businesses on the brink of extinction have turned into thriving empires before.
How are you ensuring your business thrives?
- Lena Klein