Being in business can be challenging. All businesses go through tough times. Those that endure typically see such periods as learning opportunities.
Analyze the Problem
There are a lot of moving parts to a business. If the business is struggling, analyzing what the pain points are is the first step to finding effective remedies. Maybe market conditions have changed. Maybe there are internal issues that need to be addressed. Whatever the problem, fixing it starts with figuring out what has gone wrong.
If necessary, get outside feedback. Find a mentor or hire a consultant if need be, but figure out where things went wrong. It is an essential first step in course correction.
Things That Can Be Controlled
All businesses have internal and external factors impacting their success. While it is valuable to understand external factors and work to accommodate them, internal factors are generally more controllable. As such, they deserve immediate focus to get through the crisis.
Cutting costs is always a good first step for weathering any economic downturn and, when done right, will make the business more viable long term. Reducing waste also helps the bottom line. If a lot of product is going in the trash, figure out why and revamp processes to see more sales and/or less waste.
The Mental Game
Entrepreneurs tend to be living with a lot of stress, and it’s stress most people won’t understand. Obviously, if the person at the top decides to throw in the towel, the show is over, even if it has good odds of success. So making sure the person in charge is dealing with the mental aspects is critical.
Some best practices include listing what’s going right and revisiting past positive reviews. Also, track objective business metrics and get the facts. Hard numbers can be a strong antidote to feelings of gloom and doom on stressful days.
It can be easy to feel like other businesses know what they are doing and are not struggling. That’s just good public relations. Don’t be fooled by the rosy pictures they paint.