Sticking with a struggling business is a tough call. What are the pros and cons of staying in the ring if your business is taking a beating? If you quit, do you have to go back to a nine to five? Will you need to sell your house or maybe your car? Is a temporary move with family or friends a strong possibility? Will you go into credit card debt? Starting a business, and reaching a successful plateau, isn’t easy in the least bit. Challenges come up at every turn: employee issues, vendor problems, supplier delays, and even unhappy customers. But don’t quit, and going out of business will not apply to your company!
A great scene from the Rocky Balboa movie has the following line:
“Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give… it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.” Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
If being a successful business owner were easy everyone would jump on board, right? It’s up to you to roll up your sleeves during tough times and make something happen. Have you explored all other options? Have you reached out to a mentor, a competing business (not as counter intuitive as it may sound), The Small Business Administration, your bank, family, friends, your ex? It takes a village right? Going out of business is not an option!
Have you lost track of your company or personal vision–your reason for starting your business to begin with? Some motivational videos and books may seem cheesy, but surrounding yourself with positive people and ideas is always a good thing. Check out the Ted Talks channel on YouTube. You’ll find short, succinct talks about all kinds of business topics. If none of these options appeal to you, perhaps you should consider joining a business group. Facebook, Meetup, BNI, or your local chamber has a host of events that you can benefit from. If you’ve got the networking down, perhaps other areas of your business require your attention.
Have you looked at your sales numbers, and operational procedures? Years ago, I started and ran a very successful moving business. Year one, two, and three were all fantastic. Year number four and five were extremely difficult. So what happened? I stopped going out to jobs–preferring to work from home. Giving quotes and following up with customers from the comfort of my desk had become the norm. I fell behind on our site optimization too. So customers couldn’t find us on search engines. Our phones were still ringing, and we now had repeat customers so nothing to worry about I thought. In competitive service businesses, the owner needs to stay aggressive 24/7. Once again, going out of business is NOT an option!
Has your phone stopped ringing, have you changed a fundamental part of your business that got you customers in the beginning? Going back to basics, like visiting customers face-to-face, has a way of freshening up your view of things. If things have just become too stressful for you to handle on your own, why not hire some help? Interns and part-time assistance can be found at very affordable rates. Taking things off your plate can give you the time to think about and act on the big picture: Keeping your doors open, and growing your small business.