How do I turn around a struggling business?
Hey, my name is DJ and I own a small shop working on cars in a small town. I opened three years ago. With $200 dollar left to my name, it's been hard on me to keep going. I do good but I get bad months where it eats up my profit. I've been working two jobs to keep my business going, 95 hrs per week. Can you tell me anything to help me out?
Danny, the fact that your business has survived for three years is already a success story. Working in a small town limits your customer base, but there are certain steps that you can take to increase revenues and profits:
1. Align yourself with a garage that also sells gas, either through a merger or mutually convenient association that steers business to your repair shop.
2. Get an internet savvy friend to help you build a simple website where you can promote your services and offer weekly specials.
3. Print a small-sized, single page brochure advertising your services and get someone to stick it on car windshields in different neighborhoods.
4. If you have the means, buy yourself a tow truck (second hand) and align yourself with AAA or other car manufacturers that offer their own roadside services. You may be able to get a loan from your local bank if you make a good business case for the purchase.
5. Your existing customers are often the best source for additional business. Establish an e-mailing and phone list and have someone call them on a regular basis to remind them of required oil changes and other regular car maintenance. Entice them by offering a free estimate or some other non-costly service.
If you don't have the time to do this marketing related activity, hire someone on a part-time basis or on commission. You may be able to get a friend or family member to assist you.
Did this business ever really give you a good life or profit? If not then you may need to sit down and make a big decision. This is not about turning around a struggling business as it looks like this business was never established with good ground or bases. You probably like working on cars and this is your passion and that's a good thing :), your hard work and your commitment is your cash flow now. You are working two jobs to keep this car shop opened and pay rent and so on... I'm sorry to tell you this but at this stage, you need to just shut down this shop and find a better job where you can apply the skills you have acquired from running your business and working on cars. Do this for 1-2 years and within that time, try to explore your life and your goals and answer these questions:
1- What do you want to be known for?
2- What makes you happy?
Life is about balance, you have tried your best but the town, the people, the cars, or whatever in that little place your shop in is NOT WORKING. It may never work, why waste your energy and your passion on something that is burning you! You can do much better elsewhere, do NOT think this is a failure as this is the first step for a success: when you accept that this is NOT WORKING.
Business 101 - You must build EVERYTHING on your own from the ground up! Do not hire anyone to do anything for you, much like the cars you have a passion to work on, if you do not have an understanding of the entire system for your dream business, you'll never meet your goals whatever they may be.
1) Relocate to a metropolis of at least 100,000 people, the small town isn't going to cut it. Can't afford it? How bad do you want this? Live in your car if you have too!
2) Eliminate every single expense that you possibly can. If it is not 100% vital, get rid of it immediately.
3) I understand working on cars isn't exactly a social media marketing sales funnel, but the whole no picture, 0 content filled in profile has got to change IMMEDIATELY! The person who sees your profile and the image of yourself that you're showing to the world could potentially be the one capable of enabling you to climb to the heights of a millionaire in what would seem like an instant! Always ensure the image of you in all aspects is impeccable!
You will fail many times, and you will fall many times, if you do not, your goals are not big enough. When you do fall always remember:
“The secret of life, though is to fall seven times and to get up eight.”
Turning around a struggling business requires a lot of dedication and revamping the marketing strategy, which means you have to create a map of your total business layout and check where is it lacking. Marketing funnels are very important to understand what exactly are others doing that you are not. It may not look that easy, but yes you have to understand where your business is lagging behind and improvise accordingly.
Wow, that's a lot of hours (and stress!) which likely, by now, has you on the brink of a burn-out. Be sure to take care of yourself throughout this hurdle in your life. I learned that lesson the hard way, too.
First of all, whenever life becomes very challenging, like pushing a boulder up a hill, rather than it rolling down the other side, that's just as good as a neon sign screaming at you, "You're going the WRONG way!" We all encounter bumps in the road and challenges to face - that's simply a part of living life and growing/changing (helping us step or stretch outside our comfort zone to reach a new level).
However, if you hit rock bottom, as it seems, by your description of your current circumstances, you indeed have, it's not too late, but instead, a time to put your goals, plans, beliefs, perspectives, under the microscope. There's something amiss or out of alignment with a part of the bigger picture here.
Now, DJ, I want you to remember one thing, though: You are not a failure, even if your business does fail. There may be a multitude of factors that lead to its potential, impending demise. Although we have the power of choice and could view that ability as a way to "blame" ourselves for making bad decisions or wrong choices, etc., remember there really aren't any "mistakes" or "bad choices."
I have a good friend, whom I met through another good friend that "rescued" him. He had a computer science programming degree and was previously in school, studying to become an Engineer. This man is brilliant, a genius. Yet, when he decided to take the leap and begin living his truth, not his family's truth (they wanted him to go to school, do the "right" thing), his family (particularly his mother) shamed and ridiculed him, labeling him a "failure" for dropping out of school to pursue his love of the guitar and blues (he's a natural at it and from Texas).
Long story short, he tried to commit suicide twice by the time I had met him. He was homeless and had become an alcoholic to mask his emotional pain, despite his potential to snatch up any high-paying computer programming job of his picking, in an instant. He was crippled, immobilized by both his family's inflicted beliefs and societal beliefs (from which the family and/or mother obviously derived their beliefs from).
I was astonished at how this brilliant man, with such limitless potential, standing in front of me, could be so shattered on the inside. All from believing someone else's truth and losing faith in his own. He truly viewed himself as a total "failure" and didn't value his life or existence any longer.
I laid it out for him, like this: "We're all unique snowflakes. No two the same. How can you be a failure, if there is not another person like you to compare to?" I went on further to explain that, what his family was telling him, had nothing to do with him. That was their beliefs, their truth, their perspective, shaped by their own life experiences.
I told him that, no matter who it is - your friend, co-worker, mother, father. If they don't give you respect, they don't deserve respect in return. His mother shaming him was absolutely disrespectful and wrong on so many levels. We aren't here to push our truth onto others, forcing them to believe your version of what's right/wrong, but to find your own truth, stand tall in it and share it with others. If they resonate with it or not, that's not your concern. Not everyone will like what and/or how you live your life.
In closing, DJ, what patterns do you think you might be carrying, from the past and/or present, that are pieces of someone else's view of how you should live your life or run your business? Do you have the ever-popular, "I'm not good enough" broken recording playing in your head, do you live to please others (people-pleaser)?
You certainly get an A for effort in trying to make a success of your business, but glaringly obvious is the fact that this is a situation most likely created by one of two things: 1. You're not living life for YOU (100%) caused either through allowing the influence of what others think/feel your business should be to dictate your choices. 2. You simply need some business coaching/guidance to align your business with your truth, your vision and learning to restructure your business model to begin attracting the customers its meant to attract (proper branding, marketing to the right target markets, etc.)
I know this was a long answer but as a 20+ year entrepreneurial veteran, I've been up, down, sideways, backward, upside down and inside out, before I finally discovered the right path for me to walk and how I wanted to walk it. Admittedly, I was a total people-pleaser in my younger years - until I stepped down from my head and began living my life through my heart. My decisions then came from a place of "how does it feel?" rather than "What's the logical choice?" The heart doesn't operate on logic or reason. It simply knows what it feels and will never steer you wrong - ever.
Society claims our feelings are "irrational", not to be relied upon. We need to "calm" down before we can make proper, rational decision. Yet, the truth of the matter is, emotions are life's built-in navigation system.
I'll leave you with this: Think of the last time you regretted a decision you made? What do you remember most about that experience? It wasn't what you thought at that moment, it was how you FELT that stuck with you (I knew I shouldn't have signed that!).
Just a lot of food for thought, kiddo :) xx
#1 Celebrity Numerologist Michelle Arbeau
Jon Taffer always says to focus on revenue instead of cutting costs. Businesses rarely fail because they've increased revenue, but if you cut costs, it's a slippery slope. I'm a staff writer for Business.com, and my colleague Adam Uzialko covered this topic for our sister site, Business News Daily. There are some great answers on this thread (George Mikituk's points are excellent), but if you're looking for other, more high-level information, give this article a read: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/11179-bar-rescue-jon-taffer-failing-business-solutions.html
Hope this helps! Hang in there
It's all about your marketing strategy. Chances are with so little resources to start that you have not spoken to any advertising and marketing agencies. I would like to encourage you to call us and we can give you a couple of ideas that will meet any budget. 530-575-0545, we would be happy to extend a helping hand.
Turning around a suffering commercial enterprise requires dedication and revamping the advertising and marketing approach, this means that you need to create a map of your overall business layout and test wherein is it lacking. Marketing funnels are very essential to understand what exactly are others doing which you are not. It might not appear that easy, however, sure you need to recognize wherein your business is lagging behind and improvise hence.
Instead of advertising - Do SEO for your website.
If you are on the first page of Google for DJ in your city, the more clients you will get.
When I typed DJ in Pageland - no local business comes up in the top 3 results- I only see directories like these:
If your SEO game is on top, you will be the first rank of Google for your city. It's your chance to dominate the first page.