Each month I have the privilege of writing for the Microsoft Modern Biz Blog. There is a lot of support and information for business owners starting businesses but not as much for those looking to stay in business after your initial growth and buzz may have fizzled out. How do you stay competitive in a busy, ever expanding market… especially when you might be burning out as your business is slowing down? Here is some advice on how you can recue your business.
Do you need to rescue your small business? This post explores one of the big reasons small businesses fail and then offers three proven ways to turn things around.
Starting a business is exciting and wildly satisfying, but running it? Maybe not so much. The honeymoon phase of entrepreneurship is short and sweet. We cling to lingering memories of when the possibilities seemed endless. But staying in love is tough, especially when you struggle to make ends meet. Running a business can challenge you in ways you had not imagined…
Slow or no growth?
You need to make more sales—fast. A common way of dealing with a slowing business? Try new ideas, praying, and hoping that this one solution will save our skins. We tell ourselves that if just one of these beautiful ideas sticks, then the business will make it. But generally, no one marketing tactic, like distributing a postcard or a putting up a new sign, can save a business. And because they demand your time and (much-needed) money, too many of these ideas can spread you thin and make you lose focus.
Stop second-guessing yourself
After the energy of the launch wears off, even the most passionate and prepared entrepreneurs can find themselves in unknown territory. Forced to work in a variety of areas within their business, we learn new skills on the job. That takes time. And a person can only work so many 80 hour weeks. When we ask for help, we get plenty of advice. Friends and family will tell us what we should do. But somehow, we wind up getting mixed messages that only erodes our confidence.
Keep moving forward!
To survive in business requires an openness to risk, comfort with vulnerability, and great determination. Entrepreneurs require self-belief, flexibility, and tenacity to move through difficult times. First and foremost, never give up!
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter
Then implement time-honoured business strategies that work:
1. Find a mentor
70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more—mentoring doubles the rate of survival for business when compared to non-mentored entrepreneurs.
2. Focus on sales
Focus your talents on sales and business development. Outsource items that consume time and don’t generate revenue. Tip: Look carefully at what tasks could be cut completely. Hire only those that outperform you in time, skill, and energy.