The COVID-19 pandemic affected us all, but small businesses were especially hard hit during the throes of the lockdowns in 2020. In fact, over half of the American small businesses don’t expect to see a return to their pre-pandemic business levels for quite some time.
So in this precarious global situation, what is a struggling business to do? How do you go about fixing a business that’s been devastated by the ravages of the pandemic (or anything else)?
Well, you have to check out this list of 9 tips for fixing a struggling business, for once. Sit back and let us walk you through the basics of organizational change and everything else you could need to go about changing a business.
1. Meet With Employees
Let’s face it, management can often be divorced from the reality of the day-to-day work a small business goes through. When you live in a world of stats, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, it can be easy to lose track of what things are like in the trenches.
That’s why one of the first things you need to do in a struggling business has a chat with employees on the ground. What are their experiences? What’s going wrong? What’s going right? Knowledge, after all, is born of practical experience, and no one has more of that than your employees.
2. Spin Up the Marketing Machine
We’ve all been locked inside for months (or over a year, in some cases). You’d be forgiven for forgetting a few of your favorite businesses in those circumstances, which means your company might need to start fighting for mindshare once again.
So when you start fixing a business, take it as an opportunity to revivify your brand! Spice up the logo, buy some ads, go pound the pavement and meet customers one-on-one. It will all help you to reclaim that mental space that has been taken up by the pandemic for the last year.
3. Cut Costs
Every business accumulates ‘cruft’ expenses the longer it lives. The kind of things that you wouldn’t pay for if you were being ruthlessly efficient but which aren’t really worth your time to cut out in good times.
Well, these aren’t good times, and it’s time to cut out the cruft. Have a look around your business for any wasteful expenses or unnecessary expenditures that you can remove from your balance sheets. In a struggling business, every little helps.
4. Seek Outside Help
Some problems are just too big for a business to handle itself. Luckily, there are people out there who specialize in turning things around when your business is struggling. By reaching out to and working with these partners (like https://www.ignitena.com/), you can achieve results for your struggling business that would be impossible to achieve on your own.
5. Rethink the Fundamentals
Sometimes, you just have to reconsider the basic principles of your business. The world is changing in ways beyond just the recent pandemic, and there are types of businesses that might have thrived ten years ago that have no place in the 2020s.
So change it up! It doesn’t have to be too drastic: you don’t have to turn your mobile phone repair stand into a pet store, but it can be worthwhile to see if there are any adjacent but different business models you can pivot your struggling business towards.
6. Meet Up With Lenders and Tax Authorities
A struggling business makes less money by definition. That’s not just of immediate relevance to you, it’s of immediate relevance to your backers and the government, as well. The good thing about proactively scheduling meetings with banks and authorities is that both will be more willing to work with you if you come to them.
Play your cards right, and you can restructure loan repayments and taxation in such a way that takes some of the pressure off your business while you do the hard work of restructuring.
7. Make Some Hard Cuts
No one likes doing it, but sometimes you have to close down locations and make staff redundant. It’s an unhappy experience, but often a necessary one. After all, it’s probably better to let a few people go now rather than having to let everyone go later. Make sure you stay in touch with the people you let go so that you can help them land on their feet elsewhere.
8. Observe Your Competition
Are you in a crowded field? Are your competitors running into the same problems your business is having? Pay close attention to what they do and how they do it. After all, if they’re successful, you can adapt their tactics to your own business and right your own ship, too.
The reverse is also true. If your competition is going under faster than you can count, pay attention to the moves they’re making and make sure you don’t emulate them. A wise man learns from his mistakes, an even wiser man learns from other people’s.
9. Remember It’s About Survival
At the end of the day, in times like these the key thing is knowing your business will still be around tomorrow, next week, and next month. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to try to maintain the meteoric rates of growth you may have seen in the past. Just make sure you can still offer yourself and your employees a living while you ride out the pandemic and whatever other crises it’s entailed.
Fixing a Struggling Business is a Long-term Job
So there you have it, a few handy tips for rectifying the problems confronting your struggling business. It doesn’t matter who you are, we’ve all run into issues this past year and a bit. Hopefully, by paying attention and making use of these tips, you can get yourself back into fighting shape sooner rather than later.
So get out there and get fighting!
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