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Is it time to close your business?

So, you have been in business for awhile and it is getting to be more than you bargained for.  You no longer feel like you own a business. It owns YOU!  This is not uncommon.  It goes from logic to emotional as your problems mount.  When things get emotional, you make bad decisions.  Emotional decisions make you take shortcuts.  Shortcuts lead to critical errors and ultimately failure.

What do you do when you operate by emotions alone, or so it may seem.  Maybe you should shut it down.  Did I just say that?

Let’s explore the scenarios and symptoms.  Here we go …

  1. You can’t pay your bills.  When you are short of cash, you grab any easy way to pay for things.  Easy means grabbing a credit card.  Emotions cause you to use your credit card to pay for basic needs. It just became easier than alternative solutions. Next, things you don’t need wind up on the credit card because you needed something to provide you a momentary dopamine stimulation.  Did this sound like something you don’t need becoming a “need”?  Wow, that was a bad idea.  Is this you?
  2. You’re not meeting your goals.  When an entrepreneur starts a business, they generally have a pretty clear vision of what will happen.  They have their business plan, start-up capital, a great product or service and “fire in the belly”.  They predicted that they should start positive cash flow by the 6th month.  It didn’t happen.  Competitors are aiming at you and know your moves and any weaknesses in your product or service.  Eighteen months go by and you don’t know what to do.  You panic because you are in over your head.  Now what?
  3. You change directions constantly.   You find it hard to get traction on ideas.  What looks good on paper just doesn’t work.  You start to wing it.  This or that becomes a series of impulsive decisions.  You say to yourself, “If I had known this, I would have never….”.  You start to ask yourself if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur.  You wonder how other business owners know what to do in these situations.
  4. Your customers aren’t coming back like they did before.  When you first started your business, you had a lot of repeat business.  You started to grow and carry more inventory or hired more people because the business was doing well. You moved to a big new location because you were doing so well.  Months later, sales have dropped because these customers are doing business with you like before.  You start to question everything.  What are the possibilities that this happening?
  5. Marketing channels and methods don’t work like before.  When you first started your business, you could count on people finding you by outdoor and print advertising.  You tried television and radio, but that got too expensive.  You were told you need a better web presence, so you hired a large local web service to “put you on the map”.   You start to spend large amounts of money on internet marketing.  The business is still in a downward spiral.  What do you do now?
  6. You have new competitors that are outpacing you.   When you began, you owned the niche market.  You had only one competitor.  Now you have several competitors.  Everyone knows you and what to expect with your quality services and products.  It should be easy because you have been very consistent in your business practices.  No need to change anything, right?
  7. Your employees are leaving.   You were once the local place to work.  Great pay, great people who worked well together and advancement opportunities look bright.  Then when your sales start dropping, it was like a plague came over your business.  Then, your employees start bailing ship in just a matter of weeks.  You didn’t see this coming, did you?  Wonder what could have happened?  What now?

If any of these things sound like what has happened to you, check out tomorrow’s solution post.  It may surprise you on how there are relatively straightforward solutions.  Oh, and reasons NOT to shut your business down.

Schedule a time to talk – here is my schedule.

Have you heard the term “organic growth”?  For you that haven’t, it is growing your business naturally.  By that, you can grow your business by simply making sure that the customer experience for everyone you serve is so good that they will tell others about the positive experience.

Here are a few techniques that you can try that work:

  • Provide customer satisfaction cards on your counter for them to fill out.  Once filled out, put them on your wall.  Everyone that enters your business will see them and get an instant positive impression.
  • Ask customers to go to your Google place page and write a review.  Over time people will see these positive reviews and make a decision to buy from you because you have positive reviews and your competition does not. Give thanks to those who take the time.
  • Ask your associates in complimentary business if you can put your business cards in their place of business.  Make sure that you put their cards in your business.  Try to limit the number of people in a similar business to not more than 2 per type.
  • Get involved in community organizations like Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.  These organizations are all about integrity and give you a chance to be in the company of top local companies like yours.

Advertising dollars are hard to target.  Most advertising is geared for a one-shot message.  If you strategically target your efforts, you do not have to spend a lot of money to grow your business.  Consider organic growth as a business strategy.

If you want to know how this will work for you, send me a message.

Schedule time with me here.

 

Okay, you have a small business and it’s not going so well these days.  Have you stopped to think about why?  There are always barriers, some real and some are just excuses.  I have seen hundreds of businesses fail because they become their own competition.  Business isn’t always about what is going on outside your door, but simply what is going on within.

Here is what I mean.  The economy is rough for all of us.  If you use the economy your excuse, think further.  Think of your business like a file cabinet and take note (actually write down your observations).   You might have a drawer for customers, employees, products/services and one for administrative.  Look at your business efforts this way and evaluate each independently.  Don’t get trapped into looking at the business as one giant challenge.  Compartmentalized and deal with each area of your business individually and measure how the sum meets your business objectives.

Are you waiting on the phone to ring?  What are you doing to make the phone ring?  Do you have too many distractions that get in your way?  Are your employees taking on the same attitude that you do?  Is your cash flow (spending more than you are taking in) short?  Are customers buying your product or service like you anticipated?