If you lead a business challenged by shrinking sales, employee turnover/compliancy or operational inefficiency you are in good company. With 50% start-up failure rates and over 10% further erosion in each of the following 4 years, most business owners are struggling. But, the good news is, most struggle for the same reasons, and these factors can be corrected.
The reason businesses struggle is due to a handful of factors:
• Underfunding – generally a result of not clearly understanding the time and resources required to get to sustainability
• Lack of efficient processes that underlay every business. These start with a weak customer finding process followed closely by inefficient operational systems
• Management isolation
• Misunderstanding competitive factors.
• Misreading prospective customers
Turn you fortunes around by embracing these 4 factors;
1. Perspective – Almost every problem, even money problems are fixable if you break them down into manageable parts. If you are too close to the matter get help. Do it as soon as you can. Find a knowledgeable friend or trusted advisor that can help you chop it up and examine each piece. Above all, be honest with yourself by keeping your emotional attachment to the business in check.
2. Identification – Start to examine the business through its operating functions. Almost every company requires a marketing function; an operational platform, that controls whatever it is that your company does; the culture, generally very unique; and a management hierarchy. Understand the processes involved in each of these disciplines as specialties, learn or hire the skills required to improve each one. Note: implementing change in a functioning company usually requires skills that do not reside within that organization.
3. Assess weaknesses and strengths – everyone that starts a business feels they have the skills required to make it. If you are the founder, be honest in undertaking an immediate self-assessment. If you are still convinced of success, find help to shore-up your weaknesses.
4. Lead – The most important lesson that small business owners continually overlook is communicating objectives. A big part of building a dedicated, willing workforce is letting your people know your vision for the future. Reporting on progress toward your goals, and doing it frequently generally motivates ordinary workers to step-up and invest the extra effort.
A robust business development process brings in customers, but it is the rest of the organization, the people and the systems that keep these customers. To get the help you really need, find a consulting leader with a marketing-led perspective, operational skills and a willingness to get involved. Search terms include: turnaround specialist, small business turnarounds, business growth expert and distressed business management. Or, just contact Steve Lauterback now, at 973-889-9393.