Ok, we all know that we are in a difficult economic climate right now but is that the only reason that your business is not doing so well? Let’s be honest, there are still a handful of businesses out there that are still doing very well.
I know you’re going to say, “Paul, it’s my product or service. It does not do well in a down market.” Ok, I get that but is that the ONLY reason that your business is struggling right now? I will venture to say no.
So what are you going to do about it?
The first step is to accept responsibility for the problems that your business is having. Yes, it is a difficult climate. Yes, your competitors across the street lowered their prices again. But the true question behind all of that is how do you handle change? How do you adjust to the ever changing market and outside influences that impact your business?
I suggested in one of my earlier blog entries that each business owner have a business plan to govern the direction that their business will take. Well it’s time to dust it off. We are in uncharted territory. Wait, you didn’t take my advice and develop a business plan, did you? Well for those of you that did, turn to the section that has your business strategy. Is it still relevant? Does it still make sense? If not, it’s time to tweak it. It’s ok to make adjustments when necessary. Your business is a living breathing entity and you are entitled to make adjustments as necessary to keep it healthy. For the rest of you, now is a good time to get your business plan together. I would suggest that you implement a strategy that allows for adjustment approximately every six months due to the rapid change in market conditions.
Next, I would suggest that you focus on your most important customers. The age old 80/20 rule is still applicable. It is usually about 20% of your customers that provides you with 80% of your business. It is extremely important for you identify who these customers are. These customers are loyal. These customers are the ones that will advertise for you and drive new customers to your business. These customers are the ones that you should focus on and reward (if you don’t think a rewards strategy works, check your credit cards. You are probably already signed up as a rewards member on at least one of them).
Finally, I would focus on your employees (assuming you have any). It’s time to get rid of all your “C” rated employees and keep the “As.” What exactly is the definition of an “A” employee? It may differ slightly from industry to industry but this is an employee that needs little to no motivation and or supervision to get the job done. This is an employee that continuously exceeds set goals. This is an employee that rates high in customer service. In short, this is an employee that drives your business. By definition a “C” rated employee is almost the polar opposite. Your “C” rated employee is slowly but surely damaging your business; get rid of him/her.
So in closing, I was once told that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Don’t be insane. Don’t think that you have to wait for things to change to do better. Do better now and watch things change.
Paul Smith is the Center Director of NYC Business Solutions, Bronx. If you have comments or questions for him, please drop him a note in the comment section below! And, don’t forget to share this post with your network via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.