When your small business is sinking fast, you have to act even faster to try to get it afloat. Without some quick action, all your dreams of being your own boss could go out the window – along with the hard-earned funds you put into the business in the first place.
When you’re aiming to revive your small business, start by assessing what’s not working.
1. Poll your customer base
If you collect email addresses, send an online survey. If your customers are mostly walk-ins, have a simple form on hand at the cash register. Wherever you place it, the point is to poll your customers about what they like about the business and what they think could be improved. Sometimes, you might be surprised to find that something as simple as a lack of parking or a storefront that’s not well-lit enough is the thing that’s keeping customers away. To sweeten the deal and get even more people to participate, offer a freebie or a giveaway for one of your products as incentive for participating.
2. Review your business plan
If you’re a smart small business owner, you created a business plan before you opened your doors, covering things such as market research, how you’ll market your products, and where you’ll turn to get the supplies you need for your business. If your business is not thriving, it’s a signal that some piece of this puzzle is no longer working. Go over the market research once again to find out what your competitors are doing and why they’re the ones getting the business. Then look for a way to top the competition.
Look at your marketing efforts and find out where you’re spending your money and what rates of return you’re getting on that investment. Also find out whether your customer base has changed during the time you’ve been open, and whether their needs have changed. If you’re in a neighborhood that used to be filled with low-income families but is now home to artsy young couples, for example, you might need to adapt your offerings to meet the needs of the new clientele in the neighborhood.
Basically, you’ll be picking apart every last detail of your business plan to find the holes that are causing you to fail.
3. Think outside your box
You might have dreamed of owning a shop that sells only cupcakes, but if that’s not working, you have to be willing to change the game. In that example, adding gourmet coffee or allowing groups to use the space for meetings might infuse the business with the cash you need to keep going. In short, don’t limit yourself to the business idea you started out with. To keep your business afloat, you have to be able to adapt and to look for new ways to earn money.
4. Announce the big change
Once you’ve determined the things you need to do to change and then implemented some of those new strategies, it’s time to tell your customers about it. Hold a public event to celebrate a new product or a new business process. Post a banner outside which talks about your new offerings. Write a thank you note on your website or social media feeds, letting customers know you listened to their concerns and you’ve implemented the changes they wanted.
The old adage goes: "energy out is energy in". With the new burst of energy you’re giving to the cause, you may just find that you’re back in business.
How have you revived your business? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!