It’s the nature of business that some will succeed, and some will fail.
But one of the unfortunate realities for many is that there was no real reason for them to fail – they had game-changing ideas which could have transformed the lives of many. They just didn’t have the know-how to pull it off. As a result, finances, sales and staff members suffered, extinguishing the innovative spark in countless entrepreneurs.
It’s a fate that many business owner’s fear throughout their working lives. Regardless of how successful you are, or how many contracts you have in place, nothing can prepare you for the future. But rather than live in constant fear, learn to identify the warning signs so you can stop and jump-start your business before something goes seriously wrong.
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Spot the red flags
One of the biggest red flags? You struggle to pay your bills.
Never lose track of the cash going in and out of the business account. If you start taking out more than you put in, profit margins have been missed and you need to acknowledge the fact that you’ve entered the danger zone.
Many business owners also forget take themselves into consideration when evaluating profit by not including their own salary. If your take-home pay starts to shrink, even if it’s just by a small percentage, stop and evaluate why.
But one sign business owners tend to overlook is the problems raised and harboured by their teams.
At the heart of your business is your employees, and that’s a fact you should never forget. So, if your staff are unhappy, then something has started to go wrong. If this continues and you start to lose team members or develop a high staff turnover rate, it’s a key signpost that you need to jump-start your business.
Hit the brakes
Once you’ve acknowledged that there’s an issue, it’s up to you to turn it around. It’s time to stop putting plasters over any minor problems and focus on what’s causing them. Shut out the noise for a day and give yourself space and time to really consider this and start to consider potential solutions.
Start by conquering any overlooked admin and face those dreaded accounts head-on. Get your ducks in a row and acknowledge where funds are going missing, what you need to pay, and where the most successful avenue of profit is coming from. The real key here is not being afraid to ask for help. Find a reliable accountant who can provide all the support you need to understand the issue.
During this process, it’s also important to not lose your motivation. Dealing with money can be one of the worst parts of owning a business, but without the drive to solve a problem, you could struggle to get to the real heart of any issues.
Now you know your issues, reflect on them. Specifically, identify with each concern exactly what the root cause is and how you can mend it. Now is not the time for pride, be honest with yourself – what do you need to jump-start your business. Is it your team, your finances, your sales or is it you?
Don’t take any problems with your leadership personally, this process is a time to better yourself and your business. It’s also important to be wary that your personal life can affect both your team and the company, so be sure to leave any problems at home.
Invest in your team
As you start to make changes, don’t overlook your team. Re-investment can be crucial to success as it will not only make staff feel valued, but they’ll have more knowledge to contribute to your business.
But don’t stop with training and development. Take the time to care for them as individuals. Sit down with every team member to get a wider understanding of their ambitions, whether they feel valued and how they perceive you.
Set up and nurture an environment where 360-degree feedback is achievable. Without it, you’ll struggle to get responses that are completely honest as these can have huge benefits for bettering your workplace.
Change public perception
When addressing issues with their business, some owners find rebranding a necessity. If faced with issues such as falling sales, changing the perceptions held by your target audience can be a great way to turn things around.
But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s as simple as changing your logo. From customer service expectations to even just the way you type your emails, ensure those branding changes are implemented across the board.
At the heart of the rebrand should be you and your company values. Whatever changes you make, be sure that they represent not only your ideas, services and products but also the philosophies of your entire team.
Push yourself forwards
To make sure you don’t feel like you’re still fighting an uphill battle, put in place workable time frames. Decide exactly when you’re going to do something and when. This will ensure that you don’t move things along too quickly where mistakes or rash decisions could take place. But it will also keep push things along, ensuring that you don’t drag your heels and leave your business in a worse position.
The top line? Don’t overthink it. Stop yourself from just talking about it and implement changes.
Another effective method of ensuring you don’t hang about is by asking someone to hold you fully accountable. Whether you pick your accountant or your business mentor, finding someone to keep you on track can force you to follow through with your plan.
So, if you think you’re heading towards the red zone, have faith. Have faith in your talent, have faith in your team and have the faith that you can carry this off. And above all, don’t lose the motivation to change. You can jump-start your business.
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