Out Of The Ashes – Resurrecting a Struggling Business
There are many factors that can lead to a business struggling to survive. Change in consumer attitude toward your industry or product or change in the overall economy either up or down are a few macro reasons and can spell the death of your business, but the majority of time a business fails is because it’s lost it’s first love.
Remember when you first started your business. you didn’t know if you would make it but you wanted your business to stand for something. You were passionate and felt like your business did it better than anyone else. Then you got big and things changed, new people came in that do not understand your vision or love for what you do and it became more about compensation and health plans than it did about being the best in the business.
Before you know it life’s worries have made you forget why you got into business in the first place and that’s when things go downhill. Sometimes it’s drastic and unrecoverable but other times it’s more subtle and slowly degrades your business, product and pride in what you do at your business over time. Your baby has become a millstone around your neck with little to no options of getting out. In short, you have forgotten what got you there in the first place and you’ve lost your first love.
Is there hope for you and your business? There is if you do these 3 things..
1. Get back to the philosophy of why you started your business in the first place and train your employees on it as well. If it’s sports uniforms, spend meeting after meeting drilling into the heads of your group that you are here to deliver the best uniforms and the best service the customers have ever seen. Make sure they know it’s not just about making money but more importantly, it’s about making the customers ordering experience amazing while giving the athletes a uniform that will make them confident every time they hit the hardwood or the field. Your employees should be proud of what they do and sell and have the right reasons for working there. If someone does not get on board with your vision, let them go. No matter how good they are at their job you can’t have a cancer destroying your vision.
2. Do the things you did at first. What was your niche, what made your company unique? whatever it was get back to doing it. Maybe you own a bakery and when you started you stressed that anything your customer wanted, you could make it. This made you prosper but as you got bigger you realized the profit margins were better with simple or cookie cutter products that didn’t require as much customization so you went in that direction. That’s great, but you have to remember what made your clients loyal in the first place and make sure you still offer whatever it was that got your business off the ground in the first place. Before you know it your customer retention while be skyrocketing once again.
3. Start over with your personnel. I eluded to this in point one, but it’s important enough to mention all on it’s own. Everyone has to be sold out on your vision and where you’re going. Hiring good people is a constant need so you should always have an employment ad out with one or two people in waiting in case a current employee leaves or loses the vision of your company. Get rid of all clock watchers and unmotivated employees. An unmotivated employee is a like a virus in your company that can spread from one person to another and undermine everything you’re trying to accomplish. When you do have a good employee lift them up, pay them what they are worth and keep them in the loop so they stay a good employee. If you’re struggling with paying people more, just think how much it will cost you to lose one of your best employees and train someone new. I’m sure you will find it’s better to just pay them a little more money to keep them happy.
Your business can be great again and will be great again if your remember your first love and do the things that made you great in the first place. Don’t let the thought of quitting enter you mind and have faith in what makes you unique. Before you know it you will be back on your feet and loving what you do all over again.
By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan