How’s business? Not a good as you’d like? It happens.
Most businesses go through a bad year now and then. Sometimes the reasons are beyond your control, like a key customer shutting down or a regulatory change that restricts the market. Your problem could also be self-imposed, ranging from poor strategic choices to executing too slowly.
Whatever the reasons, the key to recovery (and thriving in the future) is not making the problem worse. Naturally, you wouldn’t exacerbate challenges intentionally. But in my experience working with business owners, I’ve seen many who instinctively change their behavior and decision-making when trouble looms. These little shifts inadvertently undermine their return to growth.
Fortunately, you don’t need to make the same errors. Avoid these three common mistakes to turn around your business quickly and skip the hangover that follows a down year:
1. Stop investing in your business.
The most common knee-jerk reaction that owners make when business slows down is to stop investing. That might mean trimming the sales team through attrition, postponing initiatives to improve customer experience, or canceling a planned marketing campaign. “I need to save money,” they protest.
Sadly, you can’t save your way to success. Continue making strategic investments to keep your business in front of customers and shore up your brand. Otherwise, the long-term effects will do more harm to your business, magnifying the impact of what started as a short-term problem.
2. Fire your advisors.
It’s easy to assume that your business coach, consultant, or other trusted advisor is a luxury. In fact, you may even look to them and think, “They’re not helping!.” The truth is, advisors can only do so much. The rest is up to you. Time and again I encounter business owners who profess to want change desperately, only to balk when it’s time to make a change. Don’t be one of them!
Tough times are exactly when you need an outside perspective the most. Instead of keeping your own counsel, reach out to your peer group or seek advice from a successful entrepreneur. Don’t withdraw, and most of all, don’t assume that family and friends have your back. Use them for invaluable support and encouragement when you can, then call on experts for business help. They’re the ones who’ve seen what you’re facing, and they know how to get you through it.
3. Ignore your numbers.
Oh, those numbers! They’re not pretty, so isn’t it easier to ignore them? Maybe that’s what got you here in the first place. Maybe you stopped looking when the trends turned downward. It’s time to dig those numbers out and take a good hard look. Get to know them. Learn to love them.
Resist the urge to turn away from the carnage and dissect your numbers instead. Is there a clue in there to explain why you’re in a tight spot? An expense that got out of control? Did you ignore a product with flagging sales for too long? Looking back uncovers lessons as well as opportunities to reignite growth, like fledgling opportunities with select customers, offerings or partners.
Turn it Around
Now you know what mistakes to avoid, it’s time to turn a bad year into a strong finish. Put the worst behind you and focus on where to go from here. If you need help clearing the fog, let’s talk. I specialize in helping business owners and entrepreneurs create clarity from chaos, and I can help you, too.
Check out: 10 (Almost Free) Ways to Win New Business
Photo via Gratisography.