By Telford Aduda
While every business is unique, no business person wants their business to fail. According to Michael Ames in his book ‘small business management’, some of the reasons business fail are lack of experience, insufficient capital, poor inventory management, over-investment on fixed assets, poor credit arrangement management and unexpected growth. Sometimes it can be traumatizing watching your business die and this has led to even some people quitting on their business ventures.
The good news is that it does not matter what the reason for the decline of your business is, but that it can still be resurrected. Here are some of the seven most important things to do in order to revive your business.
The first place to start is to re-evaluate the company. This is the process called self-evaluation. The logic is very simple, it’s like treating a sick person. First, you diagnose the patient. At this stage, you are looking for the issues that are causing the fall in returns so that you can take appropriate action. Reevaluation is the most critical part in reviving a business and it focus on the following areas;
Strategy; You must ask yourself the following questions; Does your business have a direction? Do you know why your business exists? What problem is your business solving and for who? Is your venture focused on the right things?
People; Are the right people running the company? Are these right people in the right place? Are your employees committed to organizational success? Are difficult policies, internal strife or behavior of certain specific employees driving down the collective spirit of the organization? Are there ‘bad’ people in your organization who are contaminating the whole organization?
Customers; Are your customers satisfied? Do your customers know, like and trust your brand? Are you targeting the right customers?
Product; Does your product bring satisfaction to the customers? Do your customers really need your products?
Systems; Things in place to get work done. Are things being done the right way? Are policies facilitating work or hindering work? Is the business structured for high performance?
Finance Are you competitive and profitable? Are the cash flows sufficient to sustain ongoing commitments and operations?
2. Re- definition
By re-evaluating, you are revealing what is wrong. Re-definition is putting the business back on track. It involves going back to the drawing board to set the overall direction for the company (creating the turn-around game plan). Failing in business is often as a result of not having a clear direction or losing the path you begun on. Visit the foundation of your business by touching these areas;
Purpose- why does the business exist? What needs are being met by the business?
Vision- what do we want to achieve using this business as a tool?
Mission- How do we intend to succeed in this business?
Values- these are moral principles that the organization must have
Brand- how does the general public perceive your organization and how do you want to be perceived by the public.
3. Employ new people
A business does not function by itself, hence the business cannot fail by itself, people make it function and also make it fail. To resurrect a dying business, get the right people on board and get rid of all the people no longer making sense to your progress.
4. New innovation
For a business to remain relevant in the market, it must be able to introduce new products because people’s needs keep changing. People’s needs change, markets do change and technology also changes, the faster you evolve with these changes, the better for your organization. You have to do something new to bring your dying business back to life.
Re-branding means giving your business a new meaning and a new identity. A dying business will automatically impact on the brand negatively; customers begin to lose trust in the brand as their satisfaction level declines. The only remedy to save this situation, is to do away with the old brand and create a new one. You have to come up with new marketing campaigns, new logos, new brand colors and new slogans.
Lack of money is one of the obvious signs of a dying business. When you run out of cash, it means that you are on your way out of business. To resurrect your dying business, pay close attention to your finances. It is advisable to seek funds from within by taking some of your personal savings, selling off some of your assets, cutting cost by reducing your operational expenses, seek alliances with your partners (like suppliers). Only after exhausting these internal funding options should you seek external sources such as borrowing from family and friends, angel investors, bank loans, factoring, hire purchase and equipment leasing.
7. Work it out again
This is the execution part. Break down your work into processes. Your work must have a goal and key indicators to track the performance of your revival scheme.
These steps can also be applied in other areas of life. As a wise man once put it, “Those alive are in the business of living.”