Recently I read a report that said nearly half of all small business owners say it’s the economy that’s preventing them from growing their businesses. Really? Come on folks, get over it. The economy is what it is and if you want to use it as an excuse, shame on you.
While the economy is showing some positive signs, there remains much concern. As we out of the woods, yet? I don’t have a crystal ball to give you that answer. I do think most small business owners would agree that it’s still tough out there. But no one ever said it was going to be easy. As they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So……get going.
To get geared up for growth, carefully evaluate your current business situation.
Should you continue to stay the course or is it time to shake things up a bit? What’s working well? What areas of your business don’t seem to be as profitable as they once were? What new opportunities do you see? To thrive in today’s business environment you need to be constantly innovating. You can’t stand still and rest on your laurels. And don’t get married to your current business strategy. I’m sure you can name several big brands that failed to make necessary business adjustments and paid the price in the past few years. Flexibility is a critical factor for success.
Compare your business to other similar businesses in your industry and geographic area. Are they holding their own or perhaps even starting to grow again? If other similar types of businesses are beginning to rebound and you’re barely able to keep your head above water then that is a sign it’s time to make changes.
Don’t Throw Good Money After Bad. I learned early in my career that you can’t save yourself into prosperity. Let’s face it, there’s only so much fat you can trim from a budget. And if you’re constantly throwing money into your business and sinking farther and farther into the hole, then you need to take a step back and analyze what’s happening. There comes a point in time where sinking more money into the business isn’t going to fix the problems. That’s when you should acknowledge it’s time to make dramatic changes.
Step back and look at the way you’re doing business with a fresh set of eyes so you can discover how to do things differently. Sometimes shaking things up a bit– in a large or small way — can ramp up revenue opportunities. Has the market changed? If so, have you changed your business accordingly?
Here are some tips to help you reinvent your business so you can go for growth this year despite an unpredictable economy.
1. Give Yourself Permission and Time. You can’t think about reinventing your business in the midst of the day-to-day turmoil of running your business. Schedule time to review and analyze what’s working and what’s not.
2. Start with the Obvious. Review your current operations. Are there ways in which you could operate more efficiently? For example, have you thought about collaborating with another company to share office or warehouse space? How about joining together to create a purchasing pool to enhance your economies of scale? Even joint advertising campaigns or marketing efforts may increase your reach and bottom line. And don’t forget about technology. Are you leveraging technology to become more productive and profitable?
3. No Sacred Cows. Challenge all assumptions about your business. Look at everything you’re doing and drill down. Why are you doing what you are doing? Should you be doing it that way? Is there a better way?
4. Invent New Revenue Streams. Look at the way you make money now. Are their other revenue streams you could create that might be more appealing to your customer base? For example, if you currently sell a certain type of equipment, could you offer a rental or lease program?
5. Price Differently. Sometimes people are willing to spend less more often than make a one-time large commitment. Think about how gyms price their memberships. They give you the choice of paying for a year or more, but they also allow you to pay as you go.
Reinventing your business may be just the boost you need to rebound from the recession. Pledge to go for growth and take control of your business success.