It’s hard to admit to yourself and to others when your business isn’t going well. You don’t want to let down your employees, your customers, and yourself. Closing your eyes to your problems isn’t going to help, however, and the good news is that recognizing your business is stagnating or failing is a crucial step in reviving it. Though about 70% of businesses with employees fail within 10 years, that doesn’t mean yours has to be one of them.
You can start effecting change by focusing on the right value propositions. Here are 7 more ways to revive your business this year.
1. Evaluate and Embrace Change
These days, the market is changing rapidly. This is due to the speed at which technology is evolving, and it means that businesses have to be prepared to adapt and embrace change, particularly when it comes to meeting customers’ needs and marketing tactics. Businesses that aren’t in the habit of reevaluating their practices and operations on a regular basis are much more likely to fail than those who regularly evaluate and make necessary changes.
While making drastic changes in response to market changes every few months is not going to help you succeed (you need to maintain a certain amount of consistency), you might have to make some big changes to revive your business. Look at every aspect of your business—the product, your unique selling proposition, customer service, etc. What needs an overhaul? Once you’ve worked out your biggest problems, you can go back to a maintenance schedule of review and change.
2. Implement Strict Cyber Security Protocols
Cybercrime is on the rise, and it costs business millions. Healthcare organizations, which are some of the most common targets for data breaches, face average costs of $2.2 million per breach. While businesses in other industries may not be targeted as often, they are by no means safe from cyberattacks. Costs of a data breach go beyond initial damage control—although those can easily sink a small business. Reputation costs can be enormous, as a breach can make customers lose trust in your business. This is why it’s so important to shore up your cyber security and lose the attitude of “it’ll never happen to me”.
3. Perform Intensive Market Research
All companies should have a good idea of where they stand in the marketplace. However, many stop ongoing market research efforts after identifying their initial audience and competitive analysis. This is a recipe for disaster, since your audience’s preferences change, new competition enters the market, and market conditions shift, changing your place within it. If you’ve been neglecting market research, it’s time to make it a priority. Think like your customers—what do they want, and what can you do to deliver?
4. Pay Attention to Digital Tools, but Don’t Let Them Distract
With the mobile revolution well underway, even small businesses can’t ignore digital tools and a strong digital presence. Unfortunately, this necessity has caused many small businesses to lose focus. Many business owners believe that it’s important to focus on all social media platforms and take part in every type of digital marketing. Unfortunately, these fragmented efforts nearly always fall flat, as they yield lack of consistency and poor quality.
Instead of trying to use every digital tool and social platform, take some time to figure out which of these tools makes sense for your business. If your audience is on Facebook, why would you market on Twitter? There’s only so much time in the day, and focusing your marketing and digital presence toward your ideal customers will ensure better content and improved engagement. Digital tools are key to success in our modern world, but they can do more harm than good if they’re not leveraged properly.
5. Make a Habit of Hiring Top Talent
Hiring is a difficult business, and making the wrong decision can be costly. Your business is only as good as the people you employ to run it. This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re bringing in top talent to further your business goals. You’ll want to look for specific qualities, which can include:
- Commitment and passion
- Adaptability and resourcefulness
- Ability to collaborate and be a team player
Hiring a team of people who are invested in your company’s success is key to reviving your business. If everyone just comes in, does their job with minimum effort and collects a paycheck, your company is going to have problems. Hire people you’d want to work for if they were running a startup.
6. Take Tips from Those Who Have Done it before
When you’re trying to revive your business, theoretical tips are all well and good, but sometimes you learn the most from those who have come before you. Many well-known brands have declined due to changes in the market and lack of adaptation and innovation while competitors flourished. For example, the bookstore Border’s, hurt by the burgeoning ebook market and declining sales, shuttered in 2011. Its competitor Barnes & Noble, however, adapted to the market’s demands and created its own e-reader to cash in on the ebook market.
Not all these stories of decline have a sad ending, however. Some brands have come back from the brink. Two examples of this are Marvel and Lego. Both of these brands saw declines in their revenue and reevaluated or brought in new leadership with fresh ideas. Marvel began to make more money through licensing, while Lego went back to the basics and focused on what their customers really wanted: the original creative Lego bricks. These successes show that reviving a business is truly an individualized process, heavily influenced by the current market.
7. Reevaluate Your Products and Services
Why do big candy companies constantly innovate and create new products? Sure, some of these ideas fall flat, but they’re offering new products to stay relevant and generate buzz. Everyone would be upset if Mars stopped selling the classic Snickers bar, but almost no one is unhappy about a new option like the hazelnut Snickers. If your business is struggling, it may be worth reevaluating your products and services to see if they are still relevant and speak to customers’ needs. You may need to add new services or revamp your existing offerings. Take a look at which of your competitors are doing well. Find out what your customers are talking about. Business is all about smart trial and error—and always being willing to innovate.