How to save a business
“My business is failing. What do I do? I need to know how to save my business from closing.” These are not words any business owner wants to say, but if you find yourself in the position of holding or folding, they’re questions you must ask. Whatever the final outcome – whether you decide to save your business or move on to your next endeavor – there are strategies you can employ to reach a decision with confidence.
As you work to get to the bottom of what’s really holding your business back, you’ll discover what you need to move forward, whether it’s overcoming your fear of failure, revising ineffective business operations or another solution.
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1. Be honest
To answer the question “My business is failing, what do I do?” you must commit to absolute honesty. It’s understandable that your business is important to you, but you must resist putting a positive spin on its state because you’re not able to deal with the fact that it’s failing. At the same time, don’t see it as worse than it is. Being realistic and objective is key to how to save a business.
2. Determine why your business is failing
Starting to think, “My business is failing?” Make a list of the reasons you think are contributing. Then go through each reason and counter it. If you reason that a competitor is stealing your clientele, ask yourself for proof. If you don’t have proof or if your proof is weak, it’s possible that you’re operating out of your fears or making excuses to avoid progress. Fear of failure is common in business, but you must overcome it if you want to be successful.
3. Consider your limiting beliefs
Fear of failure is a product of limiting beliefs – the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, which hold us back from becoming the best we can be. Go through your list and find ways to replace your limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs. As you evaluate your business objectively, you’ll find that asking yourself how to save a business launches an uplifting process of discovery.
4. Recommit to your vision
As a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations or focus on driving revenue and growing quickly. These are important, but they can cause you to lose sight of why you started your business in the first place – and that’s the most essential part of running a successful company. Take a deep breath and get back in touch with your vision for your business and the passions that inspired you to entrepreneurship.
5. Invest in your team
Your team needs to be your strongest ally and asset. Prioritize staff morale, and embrace policies for recruiting and retaining an all-star team. Commit to finding and hiring the right employee for every job – from human resources to warehouse managers and inventory specialists. To save a failing business, every person needs to be operating at their peak. Look at transforming your company culture as well. Toxic cultures lead to high turnover and lower productivity. With a positive culture your company will grow in strength from the inside out.
6. Listen to your customers
Make use of your existing customer base. Conduct market research and ask for positive and negative feedback on your product, sales, advertising and marketing strategies. The better you know your client, the more relevant your brand becomes. Then, commit to addressing your clients’ real needs. With a crystal-clear view of your company from the customer’s perspective, you’re able to map out a strategy for making improvements without taking excessive, unjustified risks.
7. Start from scratch
Flexibility is an essential survival skill and a trait of great leaders. The ability to stay agile can be the difference between knowing how to save a business and letting it fail. Starting over might mean changing your business model, narrowing or changing your target market, rebranding your product or changing industries altogether. If you opt to pivot, it is critical that you look before you leap. Thoroughly validate your business idea and product before relaunch, using your current struggles to create a newer, better product or service.
8. Improve your marketing
Think of your marketing and sales as a living being in need of constant attention. Evaluate and refine these systems continuously and create a list of tactical strategies for reaching your target audience. First, get to the bottom of your X factor: what distinguishes your product from the rest? It’s your branding that will attract your target market. Don’t implement a marketing idea without testing it first. And instead of promoting your company alone (i.e., more than your product), promote both. Work on getting a direct response from customers using strategies like direct response advertising.
9. Make a plan for your assets
Trading your business’ assets may be the lifeline you need to stay afloat while reordering your business. You might consider leasing out buildings or machinery through a rental or leasing arrangement. If you must sell assets, retain some proprietary rights. These strategies provide an alternative to the knee-jerk temptation to sell and rapidly lose everything.
10. Get outside help
To prevent your own bias from muddying your progress, take a comprehensive approach and solicit outside feedback (positive and negative) on your product and operations. Consider hiring an independent consultant to review your company’s salary structure and accounting procedures. By remaining impartial in your review processes, you’ll get the clearest view of how to save a business.
11. Commit to CANI
You don’t necessarily need a business education to run a successful business. You just need a growth mindset. Successful business owners are able to bounce back from failure because they find the lesson in every mistake. You can develop this mindset by committing to CANI: constant and never-ending improvement. Learn from your peers and mentors, and include client education in your marketing and sales processes. Feed your mind with inspiring material and practical advice. Always be learning, and you – and your business – will always be growing.
Case studies in saving a failing business
You’re not the first business owner to say, “I need to know how to save my business from closing.” Take encouragement in the struggles and successes of others. The famous chewing gum brand, Wrigley’s Gum, started out as a soap company but pivoted to selling chewing gum in response to customer demand.
As soap merchants, Wrigley’s incentivized soap purchases by offering a free can of baking powder per bar of soap purchased. When demand shifted to reflect a greater interest in the baking soda than the soap, the company pivoted to sell baking soda, offering free chewing gum with each soda purchase. Now, Wrigley’s has achieved a modern-day brand identity well-known around the world.
If you need to learn how to save a business, you’re not alone. Get the support you need and hone new skills with Tony Robbins’ 7 Forces of Business Mastery, a content series full of empowering information to help you make smart business decisions.
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