About the Author (Guest Post): Jack Rivera is a Business/Marketing Blogger and a Digital Marketing Consultant for HostingFacts.com. A proud father to two sons, He also loves playing Chess, Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering.
It’s a fact of life that there’s always a beginning and an end. Even things that are so big that they seem monolithic and indestructible can be slowly eroded and turned to dust over time. This is true with us and it’s true with all things, including businesses and ventures.
There is death to businesses, whether it’s just a halt to operations to give way to other things or a complete and utter collapse due to mismanagement and financial disaster.
When the seemingly inevitable does loom, the very least that entrepreneurs want is some sort of warning in order to brace themselves for what could be like an asteroid impact for them.
Many would think that a failing business feels like the end of the world, while there are some who see it as something they just have to learn from and move on with.
If you happen to be someone who’s worried about what’s going on with his/her business, then here are 4 sure signs of your business being about to take a nosedive. Take note that seeing one of these signs shouldn’t send you into a panic, but perhaps seeing more than one of them may be a cause for concern.
1. Declining Sales Over Long Period of Time
Of course, this is perhaps the most telling sign of a failing business. If it can’t do what it’s supposed to do, which is to make money, then it’s pretty much packing up. But then again, all businesses get their dry spells, when revenue takes a dip all of a sudden.
It’s when there seems no end in sight to the deficit that you’ll have to take drastic action, or at least come up with a solution that can keep you afloat until the next surge.
A big way to prevent this kind of periodic slump or at least minimize its impact is by fostering customer loyalty. If you have a good number of loyal customers, you have a nominally dependable source of revenue that you may be able to depend on.
When you’ve already marketed your business consistently over a period of time and have a good number of customers, you should have a base you can work with.
Engagement is what lets you gain loyal customers. If you’re able to cater to their needs well and attend to them when they ask you something, then you’ll gain their trust.
It takes quite a while, but with consistent positive engagement, you’ll earn loyal customers who will serve your business well.
2. Low Employee Morale
Are you familiar with that sense of foreboding that seems to hang in the air whenever something is going really bad? If you sense that in your business, then there’s low morale.
It’s pervading, it’s infectious, and it can snowball and drag everyone else down.
Things slow down to a crawl, everyone does things begrudgingly, and overall productivity takes a plunge. It’s like a disease that seems impossible to cure, and you might be out of ideas on how to remedy it.
As with a lot of solutions, this one takes some sacrifice. It could use some meetings and team-building activities to see what happens and hopefully lower tensions and restrengthen ties.
If it’s not caused by financial downturn in part of the company or the market (very likely to cause low morale), then maybe a bonus can get spirits up. However, there has to be a longer term solution to problems.
The main factor that affects employee morale is the office culture itself, and communication is the key to fostering a good culture in the office.
Through leadership that is authentic and human above all else, you can cultivate a friendlier working environment that makes sure that if people have problems, they speak up and get commended for their honesty. In the long run, that’s what really makes a workplace more like a second home than a hell.
3. Stagnant Marketing
When you’re not doing well, it’s easy to say that you should push harder and be more aggressive with marketing. However, you may not be able to have the resources to start a marketing campaign to reinvigorate sales due to decreased revenue in the first place.
If you’re going to do it, then something needs to change first. If it’s with a product you’re selling, then perhaps you should change something in the product that’s making it not sell in the first place. That would require a lot of research to work out then.
If you’re actually willing to take the risk to push with a marketing campaign to liven things back up, then you’ll have to identify, assess, and strategize while doing your best to mitigate risks.
This is something you’ll have to talk over with the board, your team, or whoever else helps make decisions happen. It’s a process of problem solving and risk assessment that should let you decide better on whether to go for it or move on to something else if it’s not viable anymore.
4. Increased Competition
This is something you can’t really control on your own; it’s a variable that you can only prepare for at a certain level. When you get competition, you should see it as a challenge and a fight for survival at the same time.
Never assume that you won’t get competition at any time, even if you’re the biggest dog in the yard.
It’s a battle of perception, focus, and marketing. It may be offering something extra that can put you over the competition, or it could be narrowing things down. Whatever gets customers to come over to your side, what gets you that answer is paying attention to your customers, even in the toughest of times.
Once again, it must be noted that when you do see one of these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean your business is about to fail right then and there. These are just common problems that tend to arise in the best and worst of times.
When you do encounter one, address it accordingly and implement an appropriate solution. It need not be tough, but it can take a while, so patience is indeed necessary.
Mistakes and failures are a part of life, and that holds true to business as well. If you happen to be on such a path, see it as merely a lesson you must learn the hard way.
But if you aren’t near that just yet, then treat this list as a guide to know what to avoid and what to look out for.
Please share your thoughts below in the comments.