Tag - lean startup

Saving A Dying Business

How to Save a Dying Business

We have identified what signs to look out for to know if a business is dying but why wait till the business plunges when we can be observant in the daily operation of the business. Even when you see the signs that you have a dying business on your lap it is still not enough reason to pack up shop rather it is a wake up call to ensure all your efforts and resources does not go to waste.

You can still make that dying business a success. Here are some proven tested ways to turn around a dying business before it hits rock bottom.

  • Identify exactly where the business is presently and what it needs. Does it need a face lift or total overhauling? This is when you decide to either Pivot (it could be to change the direction of the business, your marketing strategy, customer care strategy, your customer base, your products and services or your business model. It entails your team identifying what exactly needs to be changed and what it should be changed to for results) or Persevere (continue as you have been doing knowing fully well you are on the right track). I recommend “Lean Startup” by Eric Ries for better understanding.
  • Re-brand your products and services to re-position your business and overhaul the impressions customers have formed about your business.
  • Focus by narrowing down your products and services. Carve out your niche to help streamline your resources and ensure you get one thing right at a time.
  • Revisit your Customer Care practice. You will be surprised at what something as little as Customer Care can do to your dying business.
  • In this period the 20% of your customers that bring in 80% of your business (check Pareto Principle for that) should not be left in the dark as to what is happening. Be open to them, they just might know who or what your dying business needs for that turnaround.
  • Before you come up with a new Business or Marketing Plan seek and re-evaluate your customer’s view on what needs they expect your business to meet because overtime your customers’ tastes will change and you need to change with it if you still want to remain in business.
  • Cut off the bad debts customers, the ones that do not pay on time and the high maintenance cost customers.
  • Ruthlessly cut down costs and unnecessary expenses the business may have incurred over time. Close down the branches that are not generating income.
  • Set up a team to investigate your marketing strategy; change it if the need arises (most likely you will need to).
  • Read and Research everything you can find on your niche of business.
  • Qualification and Management: Are the people in your management team qualified for the job or did they get it on a man know man basis? If not it is high-time you overhauled them and employ qualified hands.
  • Bring in a tried and trusted Consultant to give you a third party view on what needs to be done. This is essential since they will not attach sentiments and immediately see what is wrong with the business.
  • Get a good legal representative if you do not already have one to advise you on every step you intend to take so as not to incur costs by being sued.
  • Motivate your employees; their morale and self confidence could drastically be affected as soon as they start noticing the decline in business. Motivating them will bring back the can-do spirit they once had. At all cost ensure you keep the high performance managers and employees.
  • Communication is key. Make sure you run an open house especially to key players in your business.
  • Lastly if you have done your best and still could not revive the dying business sell it off to more capable hands and try a new idea with the proceeds you make from the sales. The idea is to never give up as an entrepreneur. The big names you hear today made a lot of failures before they made the successful business you know about.
Business Failure Yardstick
Business Failure Signs

Business Failure Signs

In every clime the first five years make or mar a business. This is the period that determines if the business will succeed or not. Not until few months to the final melt down do entrepreneurs realize the business is going under and start scrambling to save it meanwhile the business failure signs had been there forever.

A business does not just collapse suddenly; there are signs but most entrepreneurs ignore the signs while most do not even recognize these signs. If these signs had been taken into consideration and dealt with early on the chance of survival would have been higher.

What are these business failure signs and how do we know a business is heading towards closure?

It is a general belief that entrepreneurs have it easy; no they don’t. A lot goes into making a business stand the test of time. There are economic, social, financial, technological and psychological factors that affects the continuity of a business. A perfect or almost perfect blend of all these factors increases the survival of a business.

It is of the essence to recognize the most common and visible signs of a failing business before doomsday so as to decide whether to pivot (change the direction of the business) or persevere (stay the course but make necessary changes to enhance the survival of the business). For further understanding of Pivot or Persevere I recommend you read the Lean Startup book by Eric Ries. You can get it here.

SIGNS OF A DYING BUSINESS

  • Poor cash flow management. Cash flow is the life blood of a business; if not properly managed sends the business crashing. There is a big problem when you do not know when and what to spend on or save.
  • When your clients have nothing positive to say about you or your business and cannot even refer you.
  • Your clients constantly get excuses instead of results.
  • When the satisfaction of the entrepreneur(s) comes before the customer’s.
  • Whether a business is non-profit or not one of the entrepreneur’s motivating factor is profit; if at most after a year the business is not making profit or breaking even there is a problem.
  • As an entrepreneur if you do not love what you do; how do you get people to buy into your idea thereby sustaining the business?
  • When a business lacks in innovation and unique ideas it is gradually dying.
  • When your employees have low morale; employees are the internal customers, satisfying them goes a long way in determining how well they satisfy the external customers.
  • A business set up by greedy entrepreneur(s) is headed for the rocks.
  • When an entrepreneur constantly ignores the market trends and his competitors.
  • The negligence of an entrepreneur and his management is a recipe for business failure.
  • When the growth rate of a business is slow and the parties involved are not driven to proffer solutions to the problem.
  • Expansion without focus: Before expansion a business should focus on one thing. After it succeeds in that one thing it can diversify into other areas.

The points listed boils down to the factors listed in the diagram above. Failure to properly put them into consideration while planning would eventually lead to a business failure. Avoiding these loopholes increases the chance of a business surviving.

Do you feel we have left out helpful tips as to how to identify business failure signs please feel free to drop them as comments.

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