Before you quit… (Or, Putting up one last fight before calling it quits!)
Is your business really dying? What if it really isn’t? What if you are simply stuck in a rut and just need some fresh thinking to kick-start your business model once again?
Here are some tough questions to ask before you throw in the towel. After all, if you can still make an omelet out of your broken eggs (so to speak), then perhaps you should go for it!
Perhaps you just need a change of strategy?
Sometimes you could have almost the right mix of resources, but just need to revise your plans in order to make them work. If you are planning to sell your goods via retail consignment, for instance, but returns have been poor, why not try setting up your own sales network instead? Or maybe you’ve been selling your products at a low price, whereas it turns out that the market will respond better if you actually increased it because the higher price will add a perception of trustworthiness and prestige to your brand?
Fiddle with your business model first, and don’t be afraid to experiment here and there. Perhaps all it needs is a little tweaking in order to get your concept right!
Perhaps you need fresh blood?
It is possible that your business actually has the right business model to work with, but you just do not have the right kind of personnel in your organization. If your people are not performing, then perhaps it’s time to see what new blood can do for you. This is particularly true for sales teams, where it is all too easy to end up with lackluster performance because the people simply aren’t right for the job. Before you start thinking that your products might be at fault, see what a few fresh faces can do to help things along.
Sometimes the fresh blood may even be needed at the top. Companies that are stuck in a rut might benefit from a third-party perspective, and this is where hiring consultants can be useful. Third-parties can see things that insiders may no longer be able to see by virtue of their having gotten too used to the status quo.
Perhaps you need to increase your scope?
Some business models simply cannot take off if they stay too small, and actually benefit from reinvestments, expansions and even longer product lines. Usually this involves the dynamics of economies of scale: Have just one product but are nursing your own sales team? Then maybe you can make better use of your sales team by providing them with several products to sell instead.
See if your numbers will actually be better if you expand. It may sound counter-intuitive at the onset, but this can really be a useful strategy for when you are trying to make the most of your resources.
Perhaps you need to decrease your scope?
On the other hand, it is also possible that you have over-extended your operations already. Many new businesses make the mistake of launching far too many products or services at the start. This leads to a dilution of their resources, making them unable to handle the demands of any single product line.
If this seems to describe your company, then perhaps it’s time for a manageable contraction. Drop product lines that are not doing too well and re-channel your efforts to create flagship brands or services. Whenever you can, focus on one brand, product or service first, and build this up. You can then leverage any success that you have from this product to assist your other products or services later on!
Perhaps you just need time?
Sometimes, a business model is in fact workable, but that it just needs some time to grow to a proper level. Don’t abandon a strategy too soon because many strategies take time to generate sufficient returns, create market share and develop “legs.”
The same goes for your people, incidentally. Before judging your sales force for not being able to deliver, be sure to give them ample time to get settled and used to how things are done in the company. A critical mistake in many companies is that they end up with a very high turnover coming from judging performance too soon. The result? Nobody is able to stay long enough to learn how best to sell the products, and this ends up being a worse condition to have because there is little or no knowledge among the sales force.