It has been said that firms don’t fail – their managers do. In other words, a business will sink or swim, depending how it’s steered, so if you run a business, its success is all down to you. This may seem unfair, considering that hitches and hurdles can crop up out of the blue. But business is a flexible phenomenon and can survive change, so all you need to do is be flexible yourself. If your venture hits an obstacle, just lead it around another way. Here are some common problems where flexibility is key to survival:
If money’s running out, don’t panic and give up. Look for ways of replenishing your finances, or making do with less. Review every aspect of the business for possible money-saving opportunities. Look beyond it, too, for potential assistance that could save the day, such as grants, cost-sharing arrangements, low-interest loans and new markets. Think about your product, as well. Would it fare better if you altered it or diversified for a broader base? Sometimes there is no clear way forward, but even if you had to sell your business, you could set up another with the proceeds, reinvesting your skills and experience.
Changing consumer preferences
If market trends are changing and causing a drop in sales, adapt your product in line with the latest consumer preferences. Suppose you made cookies, for instance, but people were developing a preference for savory snacks over sweet ones. In that scenario, you could offer a savory variation, perhaps fading out the original version and developing the new one. Think outside the box and answers will come.
Hitches and hazards
If your plans encounter an obstacle, take a different route. If, say, your chief selling outlet is due to close, look out for an alternative or set up one yourself. With one eye permanently on the horizon, you’ll see such problems coming, giving you time to prepare for them. But suppose there is no way around the obstacle. Then sell something different that won’t be affected by it.
If your premises are hit by a natural disaster, such as a flood or hurricane, it may seem like the end of the road for your dream venture. But look at the situation in a different light, and you’ll spot new openings. If you really can’t get operations going again, put your profits and business acumen to a new use. You could draw from this unusual experience, too, perhaps setting up a recovery service for future victims or making a product to protect against such dangers. Another solution would be to carry on your business elsewhere. There might even be funding available in the circumstances.
Getting too cozy
Don’t get too attached to your product. See it as a source of income, and let it shift and change with the tide. Provided it’s of genuine benefit to your customers with no detrimental effects on the community or environment, it will do fine. Similarly, don’t get too set in your ways. Be prepared to alter your methods and arrangements as need be, even if that means changing your lifestyle, too. Just think – the whole business world has successfully adapted to the rise of the internet, so don’t be afraid to give your corner a little shake-up.
If personal circumstances prevent you from continuing in your managerial role, consider taking on a deputy or partner to ease the burden. But if you can’t carry on at all and need to sell the business, don’t view that as a failure. Remember, it will still be up and running, if in new hands, and you can take pride forever in being its founder.
Many businesses fail, so if yours is still going strong, you’ve clearly got the requisite vision and flexibility. It may be a struggle at first, but you’ll soon be cruising along.
What are some critical tricks you use to stay on-top of your Business?