Starting your own business doesn’t guarantee success as there are a variety of factors that go along with being successful in business.
A great idea without a good marketing plan can be quite useless.
The same is true with having an amazing staff but not offering an amazing product. A successful business has so many variables involved that it can be difficult to even start a checklist.
There are corporations that are household names that have struggled but it is important to remember that the reaction to unforeseen circumstances can be the difference between going out of business in a year and celebrating 25 years of the company being open.
The following are some things that you can do as a business is sinking to help it stay afloat and even thrive in the future.
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Do a Thorough Inventory of Staff and Costs
There might be some costs that can be reduced immensely as some startups can spend quite freely in the months immediately after getting investment money. With technology allowing many people to work from home it can be wise to downsize the office and designating people as those who will work from home. Layoffs are a huge part of a company struggling as staff can be the largest cost a company has.
Times of struggle should clear out all of those people who are not producing in the correct way. This might take letting go of a well-liked person in the office instead of another employee who simply delivers results month after month. Find the positions that do not serve a function in making money or reducing liability on the company and either let these people go or let them move to some production based position.
Outsource a Department
The fact is that large amounts of money can be wasted on in-house staff when the job can be outsourced to another country for a fraction of the cost without sacrificing quality in work. Obviously, there will have to be a cost analysis done for each department versus what the outsourced department would cost.
Departments to consider outsourcing:
- Marketing can be outsourced for a fraction of the cost that it takes to build a competent in-house team. Not all marketing companies are created equal so looking at reviews and asking for references is extremely important.
- Manufacturing is far less expensive in eastern countries than it is in the United States. The only cost that has to be figured into this is having the products shipped from whatever country the manufacturing is taking place. One risk associated with this is the conditions of the factory can reflect badly on the company if they are poor. It doesn’t matter if people at the company were aware of this or not as this will be a PR nightmare that the business might not recover from.
- Outsourced HR departments can help keep costs down while having no problems in staying compliant. These companies will take care of employee benefits, payroll, and can take care of problems in a direct way as they do not have to worry about negative feelings from in-house staff.
Take Advantage of All Free Marketing
Many companies that are failing have a few things in common. They do not take advantage of free opportunities and their marketing plan isn’t established or is failing miserably. Plenty of startups believe that marketing has to be a huge part of the budget when in actuality there are free ways to drive sales, traffic, and leads.
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How to market for little to no cost:
- Use the blog as the incredible tool that it is. Generating great content on the blog and promoting it via social media can be free. Not only will this drive traffic but it could help turn the struggling company into a thought leader on a subject which will help with future sales.
- Take every opportunity to be a part of a podcast or even be interviewed by another company in your field. This will not only build brand awareness but it is also free. Offering large publications guest posts to try to get the name of the company out there is another tactic that is free.
- Engage with followers on social media as this is free but it can do so much more. This can build brand loyalty but it can also help humanize a company rather than it being seen as a nameless faceless entity.
Consider Taking Out Loans or Another Round of Funding
Many startup founders can be too proud to seek another round of funding when they are in need of cash. This can be because they will have to give up a larger portion of the company for the money and getting funding after an initial flop can be extremely difficult. There is a multitude of different types of business loans that can be taken out. Not all of these are beneficial to the business as some interest rates can be extremely high.
There are installment loans that are vulnerable to economic downturn which might be too many variables for a founder to agree to as paying the loan back already might be in question but to have interest rates increase because of the economy is too much to account for. There have been founders who have taken out personal loans as well. This is usually the last resort for many as there are a large number of founders who would never consider this. Find a loan that has beneficial terms as far as what you want to accomplish as a business then shop around for the best rates and payment plans.
Take a Look at Your Systems
The fact is that many people do not actually realize what a scalable business model is. There are models that can be stressed to a certain point with large amounts of work that finally break. Then there are the models that are actually scalable and have little to no problems when it comes to production. Find a scalable model that you can test when the busy season comes then see how much it can really take. Optimizing workflow can have a huge impact on production as automation can take multiple steps out of a process.
For this reason, it is always important to continually try to make all of the processes as easy as possible. Take advice from staff when they have an idea that will help them become more efficient. Make sure to poll the most productive staff to see what they think will help boost efficiency. Their answers could change the way that everything is done in the office in the future.
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Refusing to panic and putting a new plan in place is necessary for a company that is struggling immensely. The fight to become a successful business isn’t over until you’ve exhausted all of your options. The great entrepreneurs do not quit until they have nothing left that they can try.