Do not feel ashamed if your business is struggling. The market is tough, and it’s challenging to navigate emerging technologies, marketing techniques, and financial regulations. As Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” You can survive whatever you are working through if you approach your struggles with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. Here are six places you can look at first.
Look at your business model
Changing your mode of operations may feel painful to think about, but it’s possible. Professor at Columbia Business School, Rita Gunther McGrath, recommends avoiding one-and-done customer interactions. If a consumer walks through your door or orders something from you online, you should give them plenty of reasons for that not to be the first and last time they do business with you.
Instead, aim for something “sticky.” Automatic renewals help you retain customers. Take cell phone providers, for example: moving from one service to another while hoping to keep your same number is a frustrating hassle. People will move providers if they need to, but they are more inclined to stay with whoever makes their life the easiest.
If you participate in the e-commerce scene, consider updating your payment processor and offering multiple payment methods. A lack of preferred options and confusion at checkout is one of the worst contributors to online cart abandonment. Make sure you accept credit cards, eChecks, wire transfers, and whatever else your customers feel comfortable with.
Look at a new location
Perhaps your business is struggling simply because of where you are. The market for your product or service may be tired in your area. If the community is suffering from economic hardship, it may be in your best interests to pack up and move to where there are consumers eager to purchase from you.
Relocating might be just what you need to find a qualified workforce. If there is a shortage of workers in your field, go where they congregate. Research cities that are hot spots in your industry—maybe even reach out to recent graduates who are looking for work if there are schools that specialize in teaching what you do.
Look at your marketing strategy
One of the reasons your business struggling may be that you are not reaching potential customers effectively and efficiently. It might be time to upgrade your marketing approach: are you fully leveraging social media? Are you participating in community events? Do you have an SEO strategy? Google favors websites that update regularly, so starting a blog is one way to share intriguing content that establishes you as an expert in your industry. Consumers crave connection now more than ever, and they are fond of sustainable brands, so remind them that human beings are working on your end and you have their best interests at heart.
Look to your personnel
Many business problems result from people-related issues, not capital or financial. If your staff is not performing as you want them to, ask what will motivate them. Do they need encouragement from you? Better pay? A more lively workplace? Your business’s culture can dramatically influence what effort your employees are willing to put in.
Don’t forget to assess yourself, too. It’s possible that your management style is not what your employees need (and remember, a business is only as good as the people who work for it—you cannot forcibly shape people to be what you want). A healthy relationship with your staff members will not only make all of your lives smoother, but it will also help make them more excited to come to work in the morning.
Look at your equipment
It’s possible that customers are turning away from you because they consider you outdated. Whether you are brick-and-mortar or strictly online, people love convenience, and they also love what is new. You do not have to break your bank purchasing high-tech equipment that makes it look like you belong on a spaceship, but you might be missing a piece of technology that simplifies your daily operations or helps you connect with consumers. Do your best to avoid looking archaic.
Apply for a loan
If you believe a little financial boost is what you need to get you back up and running, consider applying for a small business loan. You have several borrowing options at your disposal, like turning to a commercial bank, applying for an SBA loan, approaching an angel investor, and more. We at Currency Capital usually approve qualified applicants within days, and we will match you with the best lender from our extensive network.
Businesses have numerous integral components, and any one (or more) of them could be the source of your problems. Where will you look to first to save your business? Contact us today if you have any questions about strategies to improve the health of your small business. We’re always available for a call at 877-358-4595, and would love to answer your questions and guide you toward the best option for your business.