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How to Get Your Small Business Through Tough Times

These days, there are three types of business, those that have had tough times, those that are going through tough times, and those that will be sometime soon, and the terrifying fact is that yours could be all three at once.

Running a business of any shape and size isn’t easy, and you’re going to face some trouble at some point. More often than not, this trouble is money-related, and, unfortunately, could ruin you if not dealt with properly. Most small businesses fail, so unless you want yours to join them, you need to take action. To help you with that, here are fourteen things that you can do to help your small business come through your troubles.

Make Sure You Do Something

Sometimes you can see a disaster coming from miles away, and other times it hits you suddenly, without any warning at all. Regardless of how your disaster presents itself, it’s vital that you take action right away. Of course, you’re likely to be shocked, and maybe even upset, but you’re of no use to your business if you run away or freeze like a rabbit in headlights. You need to leap into action as soon as you can, or your problems will only get worse, to a point at which you might not be able to fix them.

Remain Motivated and Productive

There’s no point in starting off productive and motivated to make a difference if you’re going to lose this motivation after a few days and start putting off important, business-saving tasks. You need to keep up your momentum until your business is in the clear and avoid distractions as much as you can. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be working every hour of every day; You’re going to need to take breaks every now and then. If you don’t, you’ll end up burning yourself out, which means you’ll be of no use to your business at all.

Focus on the Facts

When you’re dealing with something as stressful as a struggling business, it’s understandable that you might start to freak out a little bit. You’ll probably imagine how much worse things could get and ask yourself what you’re going to do if your business goes under. However, it’s vital that you avoid this as much as you can. Don’t get stuck in a downward spiral, and instead deal with what’s going on right now. Most of what you’re worried about won’t even happen, so focus on your current problems, and don’t let your imagination take over.

Maintain Relationships with Your Customers

Ironically, when times get tough, many business owners stop providing quality service to their existing and loyal customers. This is because they get themselves into a slump, which spreads throughout the entire business, and ruins the mood of every one of your employees. This is something that you can’t afford to do, so try to keep your emotions in check, and do what you can to build and maintain relationships with your customers. Show them that you care, and they’ll return the favor by helping to keep you afloat.

Figure out What Isn’t Working

When you’re struggling for money, it makes sense to start making a few cutbacks in a bid to save money. Because of this, it’s important that you use this opportunity to reflect on your business and figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Perhaps there’s a marketing strategy that isn’t providing the return you’d hoped for, or a product or service that isn’t selling as well as you thought it would. Whatever it is, it’s time to make some changes and get rid of it, because there’s no point in wasting money on things that won’t make the money back.

Ask Other People for Feedback

You aren’t going to be able to spot all of the issues within your business, so it’s important that you also ask for feedback from your customers, staff, and anyone else you trust. You could also invest some money in website and mobile application testing, to ensure that you’re getting the most from these tools that you possibly can. Improving your products and service will show your customers that you genuinely care about their experience with you, which should boost brand loyalty and sales.

Evaluate and Improve Your Marketing

There’s no point in wasting money on inefficient marketing tactics, but that doesn’t mean that you should make the common mistake of ditching marketing altogether. You may be doing all that you can to improve your business and it’s products, but no one is going to know about you unless you keep advertising. There are plenty of low-cost marketing strategies you can try, so don’t worry about shelling out loads of money. Just make sure that the tactics you use are measurable so that you can figure out what is working and what isn’t.

Invest in Your Image

Image may not be the most important thing on the planet, but that doesn’t change that fact that it can affect whether or not people buy from you. Because of this, now is a great time to invest some time and money into ensuring that your business looks professional. Something as simple as a lick of paint on the outside of your store can brighten the place up and make it seem more welcoming. You could also upgrade your website, tidy up your social media pages, and ensure that your staff are trained properly.

Learn Everything You Can

While you’re working on growing your business, it’s also important to remember to invest some time and money in improving yourself. This could include visiting seminars, reading business-related books, taking online courses, or paying for mentoring or coaching. You’re never going to know everything there is to know about the business world and running a business, but if you learn as much as you can, then you’ll be a lot more prepared, and should be able to deal with issues much easier.

Find Yourself a Mentor

Trying to carry your business through tough times is never easy, but it’s made a whole lot harder when you’ve got no one to help you. Of course, you may have people at home for emotional support, but unless they’ve run a business themselves, they won’t be able to offer advice on any of the challenges you’re dealing with. Because of this, you might want to reach out to a business person you admire and see if they can offer you any wisdom. If you’re honest and polite, they may be able to help you.

Prepare to Try New Things

If the way you’re running your business now isn’t working, then it makes a lot of sense to try something different. This will probably be scary, but it’s vital if you want to survive. So many businesses fail simply because the owner wasn’t willing or able to make changes, and instead sat back and watched things turn sour. Unless you want the same thing to happen to you, you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone and be willing to do whatever is necessary to save your business.

Focus on Your Team

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the same can certainly be said concerning your employees. If only one of them isn’t motivated and productive, then they will affect the entire team, which means that they’re wasting time and money. It’s up to you to keep them on task, as it’s your business they’re affecting. You can do this by offering incentives and benefits, and by ensuring they have the tools and training required to complete their work. You could also consider having them work from home.

Reduce the Risks You Face

When you’re going through a tough time, the last thing that you want is for something else to go wrong and add to your troubles. Because of this, it’s essential that you evaluate all of the risks that your business could face and do what you can to reduce them. For example, if you work in retail, then shrinkage could lose you a lot of money each year. To minimize this risk, you should increase the security in your store, by adding cameras and locking the back doors. You should also train staff on how to identify suspicious shoppers.

Learn from Your Experiences

When things go wrong in your business, it’s easy to beat yourself up, but it won’t help anyone, least of all yourself. Instead, take a step back and use what has happened as a learning experience. Figure out what you did wrong to lead to your troubles and decide what you can do to ensure that you never make these mistakes again. Rather than let your mistakes define you, allow them to shape you and help you to grow. Sure, things might be bad now, but this will help you to avoid things getting bad again.

Every small business faces trouble at some point, so use the tips above to help you get through yours.

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