Let’s face it; the current climate is very tough for small businesses. Those that perform well have greater opportunities than ever before, but the facts show that very few startups live beyond year five. If your venture is currently struggling, you need to find a solution ASAP.
Identifying the reasons for your failings is the first step to repairing the damage and putting your business back on track. Focus on the following elements, and you won’t go far wrong.
No Clear Brand Image
Manufacturing or sourcing great products to sell is one thing, but it isn’t enough to achieve success in the modern era. People want to be associated with winning brands that reflect their own personalities and tastes.
First impressions count for everything and a poor one could cost you sales before you’ve even had a chance to showcase what your business is about. Therefore, the right logos, colour schemes, and slogans are essential. Likewise, shop signage and your website design elements deserve a great deal of attention. Falling short is not an option.
Firstly, it helps you create a better first impression. Moreover, establishing the winning foundations offers guidance for the entire venture. Without a clear brand image, everything else can quickly become disjointed. This is why your sales are currently struggling. Revamp the brand, and you will see big results.
No Defined Audience
Whether you’ve recently started the business or have been operating for some time, it is tempting to chase the biggest audience. In reality, though, it’s far better to swim in a small pond than drown in the ocean. You can’t appeal to everyone, and attempting to do it may alienate the target market.
As such, defining your niche and building the ideal consumer profile is crucial. While you will still gain some sales from outside demographics, your core audience is what will drive you to success. Stats show two-thirds of consumers feel connected to brands when they feel cared about. Creating products, content, and services that resonate with the customers is essential.
When you have a defined audience, it becomes far easier to interact with them. From using target marketing on social media to using the right forms of customer care, the small changes translate to success. Similarly, you can show that your business shares traits with your clients. This could mean opting for greener technologies or support a charitable cause.
Low Online Traffic Figures
Most business owners now appreciate the need or a well-designed website. However, even the most attractive websites that offer a great UX are redundant without visitors. Worse still, online traffic isn’t only a barometer for potential web sales; it can impact offline selling too.
The reality is that most people now use the internet to find local businesses. Thus, gaining the visibility needed to draw people to your company is one of the most important aspects of the entire marketing process. Aside from increasing the brand awareness, this is an essential feature as you look to gain their trust.
Millions of internet users spend several hours online each day. With a strong online presence behind you, there is a fantastic opportunity to interact with them. The ongoing engagements keep your business fresh in their minds. Not only does this boost your hopes of turning them into clients, but it crucially enhances the hopes of securing their loyalty.
Lack Of Team Consistency
Employees are the greatest asset at any company’s disposal. Most business owners will naturally invest a lot of time, money, and energy into the recruitment process. Unfortunately, the commitment can’t end there.
A team that works with consistency will provide greater productivity and customer experiences. Moreover, it’ll make the management process far easier. There are many ways to encourage a consistent approach, starting with staff uniforms and onboarding. Meanwhile, regular team training and away days for team bonding can support the cause too.
Additional steps such as using sales scripts can have a positive impact on the business, particularly for the consumer. When you use tech to create a digital trail of all client communications, employees can pick up colleague interactions with ease. A team that works together, succeeds together. Do not forget it.
Everything you do in business ultimately links back to the financial health of the company. Still, it’s vital to accept that the figures sitting in your profit and loss accounts won’t always line up with the money sitting in your bank or cash tills.
You could be awaiting for payments from clients while other capital may be tied up in assets. An invoice finance package can provide relief at this important time. However, you can also make significant improvements by reducing your overheads. Whether it’s finding cheaper business insurance or energy suppliers, each saving is a positive step.
Without available funds, it becomes very difficult to grow the venture. The stress caused by failing to establish that emotional security and stability can be very detrimental too. This is coupled with the fact that late payments and other costs are going to harm your finances. As such, it becomes obvious that paying attention to the finances should be a priority.
Poor Use Of Time
Time is a hugely important resource in business, particularly if you have a small team. Finding ways to maximise the time efficiency allows for far faster progress while also keeping customers happy. Wasting time is one of the worst things you can do.
Technology can be very useful in this way. After all, automation through smarter machinery can increase speed as well as accuracy. Meanwhile, any device or software that encourages smarter communication is advised. This can include project management systems as well as team messaging Apps or standard email.
The last thing you want to do is waste hours of the working week through unnecessary team meetings and travel. As for other tasks, if they do not improve the company’s presence or bottom line in some form, it’s time to lose them. Streamline the venture in these ways and you will see a significant transformation.
Not Embracing Outside Help
It’s easy to assume that it’s you versus the world. Or at least your team versus the world. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. In truth, outsourcing a number of admin and design jobs can work wonders. Likewise, external IT solutions can save valuable time, space, and money.
Perhaps the most significant type of support, though, comes through marketing. The power of recommendation is truly incredible and can completely transform your venture. Whether it’s asking for customer reviews or running an affiliate scheme, the impacts on generating new leads are huge. In addition to being your most powerful tool, it saves you a lot of energy.
Your existing customers aren’t the only key form of support. In truth, the growth of social media influencers is another aspect that should be appreciated. Find a social star that shares a similar key audience to yours, and their public support of the brand will be telling. It will bring new people to your company while building excitement from existing clients too.
Allowing Others To Take Advantage
Building a business is hard work. So, when you do achieve any level of success, you should be aware that people are waiting to pounce. Thieves, fraudsters, and other businesses will capitalise on any vulnerability. As such, you need to shut those doors ASAP.
The obvious forms of security relate to physical and digital elements. CCTV, alarm systems, access points, online firewalls, and data encryption are all key. However, you also need to protect your intellectual property from copyright infringement. Counterfeit goods are harming your sales. Perhaps more worryingly, the inferior products will reduce the trust that people have in your business.
Preparation and precaution are the best forms of protection. Take out the right documentation to protect yourself right away. Support this further with the right insurance plans and getting employees to sign contracts to stop them stealing leads. Above all else, it’ll let you conduct your work in confidence.
Even if you build a successful business, there will be tough times ahead. Therefore, it’s far better when you actively enjoy the work that you do. If you have lost the passion, every day can feel like another battle. And this isn’t the only problem.
Customers want to buy from companies that are passionate about what they do. After all, they are passionate about the products themselves. Moreover, 86% are happy to pay more for a greater customer experience. Again, it becomes far easier to provide this when you truly have a love of the brand. Likewise, your feelings and reactions set the tone for your entire team.
If you have lost the passion, it’s vital that you find a way to inject a new lease of life into the firm. While you cannot abandon the identity, a new product or additional service can help. Sometimes, though, you simply need to step away from the warzone before returning with a clear mind in a few weeks. You’d be amazed at how refreshing the mind can change everything.
Doing Too Much, Too Soon
Last but not least, you need to analyse every aspect of your business to see what elements are working. While expansion and growth are crucial, you cannot afford to attempt it too soon. Establishing success in the area of expertise is far more rewarding.