Running a business isn’t always easy and there are lots of things involved that can draw your attention away from where it really needs to be focused. In this post I share 6 warning signs that you need to look out for and take action on as soon as you notice them.
If you are running a business, I’m sure you have at some point wondered whether it’s going to work out, or whether it’s worth the effort and stress. Perhaps you’re unsure about whether your business is right for you or whether others will trust in your abilities. If so, don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.
We all have doubts, it’s natural, but it’s how we deal with them that’s important; do we just give up when the going gets tough, or do we pick up our sword and shield and fight for it?
These warnings signs that I’m going to talk about should not be taken as reasons for you to jump ship, give up, lay down arms or anything like that. They’re signs that mean it’s time to take action and fight for your business and fight for your vision.
# 1. Passion has gone out of the window
On a personal level, perhaps the biggest warning sign is when you just don’t feel passionate about what you’re doing. I think passion is incredibly important and so is the culture within a business.
I’m always inspired by the Zappos story, and the approach of its CEO Tony Hsieh. His idea was of a higher purpose that was simply to ‘deliver happiness’, and how that can make the world of difference in a business.
If passion is a problem in your business, take a leaf out of Hsieh’s book and try to make a move towards delivering something that creates a culture, with the help of a team of staff that would give everything to make things work.
# 2. Delivering to customers is an after thought
When the first warning signs start to become evident, delivering to customers can often the first thing out of the window for many businesses.
This is a problem that once it takes root inevitably only gets worse, and usually plays out something like this: your staff stop caring and delivering to your customers; your customers end up moving to your competitors; you get a bad reputation and eventually you have to close your doors.
If you start to notice this happening then you need to pull in the reins and fix the problem right at its source. Drum up some camaraderie so that your staff can get behind you once again and do everything you can to go beyond your customers’ expectations.
# 3. Marketing resources ignored
There is one huge asset that most companies forget they even have when it comes to marketing. It’s common practice to set up a department within the business that will focus on marketing, or otherwise outsource it to a marketing agency.
I’m not saying these are bad things, and either way can work very well, but the asset that I’m talking about here is every employee in your business.
The truth is that every employee has the ability to affect a company’s revenue, so whatever you do in your business, make sure you remember that “Everyone is in marketing”.
The strategy that you put in place to make the most of this can vary; it could just come down to your employees recommending your company’s services, or it could involve them helping in your social marketing campaigns.
# 4. Costs running wild
Operating costs can be a huge problem, especially in small businesses with limited resources. Problems arise when you start to lose your focus and it’s easy to forget that there is usually a better way to do something, whether it’s involving technology or IT infrastructure right down to how your product is delivered.
In a recent blog post, I wrote about 50 ways that you can start saving money for your business.
# 5. You don’t value customer feedback
I’ve had dealings with a lot of businesses, whether as a customer buying from them or a supplier selling to them, and the biggest thing that will put me off about a company is when they don’t value feedback.
I totally understand that customers can often have wholly unrealistic expectations, but I’m not talking about these situations.
I’m talking about genuine customer feedback that could really make a difference. I’ve been on the receiving end of companies getting back to me who clearly aren’t fussed about what I think, which doesn’t fill me with confidence that they take me seriously as a customer.
When you take your feedback seriously and you make that clear to the customer, you can earn yourself a very loyal – possibly even a lifetime – customer. When you do this all the time, you could really start to see a big difference.
# 6. You’re not working ‘on’ your business
Every now and then you need to stop and ask yourself the question: “Am I really doing what I should be doing in my business?”
There are a number of reasons people start their own business, one of the main ones being that it enables them to do something that they’re passionate about; but at some stage, people realise that they are not doing exactly what they should be doing in their business.
You end up working ‘in’ the business, rather than ‘on’ the business, to ensure that you deliver to customers or you can continue to do what you set out to do in the first place.
The truth is that this can present a problem when it comes to growing your business, but understandably you may not be at a point where you can easily make the transition; this may be down to resources or any number of other reasons.
So, when your business does have the resources, try to follow the advice of Brad Sugars and work towards a point where you’re able to work ‘on’ your business rather than ‘in’ your business; you might be surprised at the difference that it can make.
Running a business can seem easy in those times when things are all going right, but when the warning signs start to show, you need to take immediate action, because if you wait, then it could spell disaster.
There may be times when things seem overwhelming and you start to think that your business needs too much help, but when you fight for it and all is said and done – you’ll be glad you did.
Which warning signs would you add to the list? Have you had any personal experiences that you’d like to share?
We would love to hear more in the comments below!
Connect with Tweak Your Biz:
Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz?
An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.
Get Featured On Tweak Your Biz – #TYBspotlight