If your sales are struggling and revenues are falling, it’s essential to conduct a full review of your business to understand where things have gone wrong and where the opportunity lies for turning things around.
Conducting a full review of your business is essential to understanding where things have gone wrong and where the opportunity lies for turning things around.
Here are some steps to help get you started..
1. As the Owner and Manager, It all Starts and finishes with you
Be honest, are you running your business as it should be run – holistically, with an eye on strategy and a finger on oversight, but without being buried in the day-to-day minutiae?
This is a toughie, especially if you are new to business or have experienced sudden growth. Running a business is not like having a job, unless you provide a very niche service to a small group of clientele, it’s rare that you can do everything yourself.
If this is you – try to step back and understand where you need help, whether it’s with accounting, marketing, building a better Web site, or empowering your team, do it, it’s worth the investment.
If you can’t afford help in these areas, consider outsourcing certain functions.
2. Embrace, rather than Retreat from Market Forces
Understanding and keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry is fundamental. Ask yourself – has the industry changed, do you still have a full grasp of the market and goals in place to go after that market? What is the competition doing? If they are doing well, take a hard look at what it is that you think your business is doing wrong, in the light of what your competition across town is doing right. Next find a way to re-connect with your target market using those lessons learned – whether it’s diversifying your products or correcting your price points. Embrace, rather than retreat from market forces.
3. Give Your Customers What they want
One of the hardest parts of running your own business, is giving customers what they want, not what you think they want.
It sounds obvious. Use the Gordon Ramsay model. When Ramsay reviews failing restaurants on his show Kitchen Nightmares, he frequently finds that the reason so many restaurants fail is that the restaurateur lacks a clear vision for his or her market, is not really in tune with his or her customer needs, and ends up trying too hard to keep everyone happy by offering hundreds of dishes but invariably fails because the restaurant can’t prepare a single dish well.
4. Manage your Inventory
Retail stores have to manage inventory. If it doesn’t shift, it quickly becomes money ill-spent and dated. Your accountant can offer guidance on finding new and better ways to handle your inventory, including re-stocking, and its impact on cash flow and profitability, reporting inventory for tax purposes, warehousing, and how and when to take inventory.
5. Review your Pricing Policy
Review your cost base (constantly). Do you need to adjust pricing – how will this impact your customer relationships? In reality, a low pricing strategy may increase customer interest but result in lost revenue, while a high pricing strategy may alienate customers.
6. What’s Your Image?
Perceptions are created based on several things – your product, price, your service, ease of doing business with you, your location, merchandising, and of course your marketing (signage, ads, Web site, etc.). Keep a good eye on your image, and don’t be afraid to streamline if required.
7. Revisit Your Business Plan and Plan Ahead
What were your original goals and how did you plan on getting there? Have market forces changed? Is there a new competitor in town? How is your budget? If it’s going to take a new approach to get where you need to be, make sure you revisit your plan, benchmark your goals, and outline the elements that will help you get there (staffing, new markets, etc.).
8. Manage Cash Flow and Keep Good Records
Do you know where your money is going? Are you budgeting wisely so that you know the interval of your monthly income and outgoings? Do you have a Comprehensive Profit & Loss Monthly Spreadsheet? Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. If you need to get a grip on your cash flow to help you ride the highs and lows of business, make sure you underdtand your Cash Flow.
9. Help Your Staff Help You Succeed
There are many ways of building successful teams that deliver exceptional customer service and ultimately help add to the value of your brand and improve sales – from employee incentive programs and empowerment activities, mentoring team members, hiring motivated employees, and more.
10. Get Help
Getting outside help, whether it’s in the form of free guidance or mentoring from an expert consultant , they can help you objectively assess the state of your business and build an approach for turning it around.
REF: Allbusiness.com Written By Caron Beesley