How to turnaround your struggling business

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TurnaroundWould you prefer to listen to this week’s article? If so, click here to listen.

One of the biggest questions I’m asked is “Why isn’t my business doing better?” or “Why, after 3+ years in business am I still struggling?”

The answer is often the same:  The business is built on a weak foundation of excuses:

  • “I don’t enjoy writing” or “I can’t write”
  • “I don’t have time to do all that”
  • “It’s overwhelming”
  • “I don’t like technology”
  • “I can’t afford to hire anyone right now”
  • “The economy is horrible”

It doesn’t matter if your business is a coaching or consulting practice, an artist’s gallery, a service provider or a pizza maker, if you’re not doing consistent things to market your business each and every day, you’re not going to be successful (on any terms).  Period.

As a quick example, I remember creating a plan with a client to grow her list — step-by-step: 

  • “do this on this day”
  • “call these 5 people and say this”
  • “follow these steps in this order”

Note that the plan was created “with” the client.

The client didn’t follow the steps (“too busy”, “didn’t get to it”, etc.) and then complained about the lack of results.

We tried it again.  This time the client followed most, not all, of the steps we outlined.  Want to guess what happened?

Her list more than doubled.

Why am I sharing this?  Quite simply, as inspiration to stop making excuses and start taking action.  If we spent a quarter of the time actually doing things as we do making excuses/complaining about doing them, we’d be far better off, as individuals, families, communities and a species overall.

Ready to turn around your struggling business?   And if you’re not struggling?  These tips will help keep  you on track towards reaching your next goals.

First, you need to answer this question: 

When it comes to your business:

  • Are you committed to it or
  • are you convinced you should have one?

Committed business owners find their way up, over, under, through, around any obstacles.

Convinced business owners stare at the obstacles, come up with reasons why they’re there and why they can’t do anything about them and then tell everyone.

Let’s assume you’re “committed”.  The following will help you turn around your business:

1.  It’s a business, not your life.  Know what your priorities are and create your business goals within the parameters of those priorities.

a.  Assuming everything else is equal, if you’re committed to work 20 hours/week, don’t expect the same results of someone committed to working 40 hours/week.  In summary, be realistic about your goals.

2.  Why should clients invest with you versus everything else they could do with their time, energy and money?

a.  Again, whether widgets, coaching, consulting, services. . .the “what” doesn’t matter here.

3.  Review your marketing activities.  Are you doing enough of the right things consistently?

a.  Hint:  If you’re not happy with the revenue coming in and the number of transactions (clients, customers, widgets, hours), the answer is likely “not yet”.

4.  This isn’t popular, but forget what people say about “don’t trade dollars for hours” or “that’s not leveraged enough” and focus exclusively on getting clients in, giving them a great experience and asking for referrals and recommendations.  The rest will come.

5.  Do the work.  You likely identified several items from the above that you’re not doing or could be doing better.  Do them and do them consistently.  This will make the biggest difference in your business success.

If you’re “convinced”, it’s time to reassess what you mean by “having a business” and whether or not you truly want one.  There’s nothing wrong with getting a job if that would be the best solution for your personal situation, ambition and willingness to make things happen.

My Request to You

Having a successful business takes work.  Not “4 hours a week while tangoing your way through Central America” work (unless you have a large team to do everything for you), but rather you, in the trenches, doing what you do and educating others about it (aka “marketing”).

Are you ready, willing and able to do what’s required to meet your goals?

Always remember:  “Ordinary things, done consistently, create extraordinary and consistent results.”