Most businesses go through rough periods. Weathering the ups and downs of any business sector can be difficult and affect the business in numerous ways. Sometimes a slump is something that’s out of the company’s immediate control; a new technology might have made yours obsolete, or a change in customer attitude about products (for example, fur coats or Beanie Babies) could dampen enthusiasm for your products or services. Sometimes, however, significant problems in your organization could be causing your business to falter. Learning to effectively examine the causes of your company’s most problematic issues can help you successfully resolve them–and possibly even save your business from hitting the proverbial skids.
1. High Employee Turnover Rate
If you’re consistently losing good employees, you or your managers are likely spending considerable time recruiting and training new personnel. If your new hires are leaving after a short time, you should address why this is happening. How is the health of your office culture? Is the mood pleasant? Are your policies regarding staff too fussy? Do you pay on time? Do you provide a competitive wage? Do you demand a lot of overtime? How do you and your managers treat employees?
A happy organization is often a healthy one. If your business is struggling to keep employees on board, it’s likely suffering from the chaos that nearly always occurs as employees come and go. A struggling company needs dedicated staffers to support it. Address the reasons behind your high turnover rate so that you can make practical changes that will keep staff on your team.
2. Poor Financial Management
When a business’s finances are in trouble, the company is in trouble. The easiest way to evaluate your financial picture is to perform an audit. How is your cash flow? Where has your money gone? Does your money difficulty arise from a few bad decisions or a series of unfettered spending? By conducting a review, you can take steps to eliminate wasteful spending and to make the hard choices about what to do next to get your financial situation back on track.
Related article: 7 Ways to Improve Positive Cash Flow for Your Business
3. Poor Planning
Poor short- and long-term planning could be hurting your business. Without a clear and actionable plan, your company may be without a direction. Even if your business is struggling to stay afloat, you need to create a program focused on a path that will lead you out of the current upheaval. Your plan should likely include measurable goals and deadlines. When creating your business plan, take care to add other viewpoints from your managers and key staff to ensure that you have a full picture and broad assessment of the issues at hand.
4. Social Media Crickets
These days, many customers find their way to business websites via Facebook and other social media platforms. In many ways, the social media giant is like yesteryear’s Yellow Pages. If you aren’t active on social media or, banish the thought, haven’t yet made a Facebook business account, you’re missing out on an efficient way to engage customers and build your brand.
Similarly, if your blog is inactive or non-existent, you’re not using a significant channel for communicating with clients and customers. An occasional post on social media or blog article do not represent a sound social media strategy that will actively engage your target demographic or drive traffic to your website. If you can afford to hire a professional social marketing professional even on a part-time basis, you could benefit from the increased exposure that social provides.
Related article: Getting Started with a Social Media Plan
5. You Aren’t Changing or Diversifying Your Offerings
Many businesses suffer from stagnation. If your company has plateaued, it might be because its offerings are no longer appealing to your target demographic. Not all changes require substantial investment. By diversifying your products or services, you demonstrate that your business is healthy, that it’s tuning in to what customers want, and that it’s reaching out to entirely new demographics and new customers. Take time to see how your competitors approach updates to services and offerings. Once you do decide to offer something new, you have a great reason to launch an email and social marketing campaign that could give your company the customer boost it’s seeking.
Typically, it’s not bad luck that causes a business to fail. In most cases, failure occurs for obvious reasons, many of which are even preventable. At the first sign of a slump, it’s essential for business leaders to take off their rose-colored glasses and make an accurate assessment of the situation. When leaders view these problems clearly, they are more inclined to find the best solutions to support their business. Success in business may not be an exact science, but actively addressing problems sooner rather than is likely to increase your chances for long-term success.
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