In the wake of the recent recession, business bankruptcies rose by more than half, forcing quite a number of brick and mortar stores to close their doors. Some are still fighting to keep their business afloat, hoping that they will still be able to pull through while there are those who were unable to recover from their losses and had to shut down. When your company is shaken to the core, you might arrive at the crossroad where you have to choose whether you save your company or shut it down. You need to reflect thoroughly what would be your next course of action. Before you make the big decision, we’d like to share some tips on how you can revive your company so that you’ll at least know you did everything you could.
1. Find the Problem
There are many factors that can cause a thriving business to fail. For instance, competitors could lure customers away. This is what happened to US automakers when foreign contenders came into the picture. Other times, markets change and some businesses might not be able to adapt. It’s often difficult to examine your business from a different perspective. The best way to start is to go back to the times when sales were strong and profits were good. You might want to reflect what changed after that. Was there a new competitor in your line of business? Did you somehow fail to update your product offering? Or was it simply a lack of customers due to hard times? If you can narrow the probable causes then you might be able to focus on what revival efforts you need to take.
2. Revive your Market
Another reason why some companies fail is that of altruism. Some companies try too hard to accommodate customers by always giving in to their demands. Before giving up on your business, engage your customers and ask them what they need then reflect whether you are capable of supplying those needs without any losses. If it is not possible then you need to change your marketing strategy. This is very a sensible practice for any business.
You might discover that some of your customers are willing to continue buying your products but you aren’t making it available to them in a way they can do so. For example, your customers are unable to see your advertisements in a local newspaper since most of them get their news online. If your advertising channels and other aspects of marketing are no longer feasible then you need to re-target then in order to revive your business. One of the easiest and cheaper techniques of reviving your business is to turn to email marketing. Sending out emails is free. All you need to do is invest in renting a new list that you can use to reach out to new markets. Other cost-effective methods that reach new or existing customers include engaging search engine marketing, developing relationships via social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram or by using geographically targeted offers with the likes of discount websites such as Groupon. Flyer printing and distribution could be helpful in reaching out potential customers as well as large format printing for posters to be displayed at the retail location.
3. Rejuvenate your offering
Assessing your customer’s needs can help you formulate action plans and ways to improve your products or services in order to meet those needs. Take, for example, a struggling child-care business could benefit from new colourful attractions or improved facilities. Or for less drastic modifications, they could offer a new range of services from all-day care for very young children to after-care programs for school-age kids.
However, understanding the areas for improvement of your business does not guarantee instant makeover. When you are in a difficult position, it is still best to seek expert advice. You can try to consult a business coach or entrepreneurs whose similar businesses are thriving. Find out what they are doing to make their business stand out. It may just be something relatively minor that you can try to incorporate into your own business.
It could also be possible that your product or service has not changed but the potential customers in your area have. Take for instance; you only serve American cuisine in a neighbourhood that is now dominated by immigrants who are not familiar with the menu. Adapting to the needs and desires of your new demographic would definitely increase your profit and attract more customers. Another situation is when the customers are still the same but due to the latest trends, their needs might change dramatically. This happened with the laptop market. With the development of Apple’s iPad tablet, laptops fell out of the limelight, compelling manufacturers and retailers alike to reassess their products.
Getting help from banks or other lending sources to come up with the cash needed to keep your business might not be easy. The last resort for many struggling businesses that were unable to recover is filing for bankruptcy. Constructing a successful retail commercial enterprise is tough and sometimes doesn’t work out and exiting the market would be the least costly exercise.
6. Slash costs
Sometimes, it is necessary to shrink a business to save it. Some ways to cut costs to keep going would be closing other branches or temporarily closing the business itself. If labour costs take up the majority of the overhead cost then you can let go of the unnecessary manpower and monitor worker productivity for those who are retained. You may also contract, hire temporary employees, or outsourced employees to replace higher-cost, full-time, permanent workers.