How to create a business turnaround
Before your think about selling your business, is it the right time sell? A buyer wants to see the potential of your business, which is why the best time to sell a business is often when it is performing at its best, not when it is feeling tired. Just like renovating a home before selling, there are ways to create a business turnaround that will lend it more attractive to potential buyers.
Identifying the source of the problem
It is common for a business that is seeing more money going out then coming in for it to seem like every problem that the business has is linked to another problem, like a fishing line that is hopelessly tangled. Identifying the source of that fishing line can seem impossible.
The best way to approach this problem is the same way you would if you lost your keys. Work backwards.
Trace each problem to its source. If there are customer complaints relating to your product, look at the product, not your marketing. Throughout this process you will be thrown with opportunities to look elsewhere. For instance, while trying to source the inherent issue with your product, you may be told that your product is suffering because of a lack of effective management. It is at this stage that you risk trying to put out too many fires at once and you end up trying to knock down more problems than you can possibly handle, like a whack-a-mole.
At some point, you need to be sure that the issue you are solving is the core issue. Once identifying it, then you have the clarity to address the smaller issues affecting your ability to improve. For instance, if you identify an issue with your product but need the funds to fix this, then you can look elsewhere and other potential issues in which to save money.
Getting outside help
An outsider’s viewpoint can be an invaluable asset in identifying the areas in which your business can improve.
A business consultant may see things you cannot see. This is sometimes called the Elephant Effect. If you stand right up close to an elephant, you lose all sense of perspective and can only see grey. Being a business owner means you risk being so steeped in the management of the business that you cannot identify where management might be failing, where your product is failing its customers or your marketing is not effectively communicating your key branding message. A business consultant can help with the previous issue of identifying the source of a problem and setting this out visually, providing you with a roadmap to follow.
A business consultant may simply tell you that demand for your product no longer sustains any reason to keep the business continuing, but this is rare. On top of operational issues, you may not be effectively getting your message out to potential customers.
Approaching your marketing differently
Marketing is not a one-fits-all solution to growing your customer base. For example, the use of particular social media channels suits particular business types. Instagram is an effective tool for businesses that can rely on visual merchandising, such as retail or hospitality businesses. However, Instagram is a waste of your resources if your product isn’t a tangible, physical object.
Reassess what your marketing strategy has been so far, how it has adapted to changes in your business (if it has changed at all) and consider seeking outside help to formulate a stronger approach to your marketing and see a real business turnaround.
Identifying opportunities for growth
‘Growth’ can mean expanding upon what your business offers, or it can mean improving upon what it is your business already offers. A flailing or tired business is often one that has ceased to find more efficient ways to function and more innovative ways to improve a customer’s experience with that business.
A business turnaround may mean shaking yourself out of a complacent attitude and finding the sort of hunger that drives a business owner to always look for opportunities to improve their business. This does not mean sacrificing on the fundamentals of what your business offers, but quite the opposite. It means consolidating the strengths of your business through the process of constant evolution, like the gradual effects of a sculptor’s chisel. The chisel has no effect on the core or internal structure of a piece of marble but affects only the surface, gradually shaping what the sculpture is intended to be.