Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons, most businesses at some point find themselves in decline. Sales are decreasing, or profits are decreasing, or both. The biggest issue (and the one that probably consumes the most energy) is declining cash flows. It could be a lack of foresight that causes a business to miss a shift in customer needs, it could be an unanticipated technological change, it could be the unplanned, unexpected loss of key people with no one having been prepared to step in – the possibilities are endless.
There are just two things to remember: First, don’t blame it on some outside force. With the economic turbulence of the past few years, many business owners have become masters at blaming someone or something other than themselves for their businesses problems. They create an environment of excuses. If you are an excuse maker, then the downhill slide is probably irreversible and you need to start considering how to get exit your business. The second thing to remember is that you can choose something different.
So if you decide to choose something different, what can you do? How do you pull yourself out of the slide? We could (and probably should) write a series of blogs about that topic, maybe even a book. But in the interest of time, let’s keep it brief.
First, examine the way you do things. All things. Internal, external, everything. Look at your processes – where is there waste? Where is there excess time or money being spent? How can we cut that down?
Second, if we’re as efficient as we can be, then what are our opportunities to grow? How can we move ourselves back into the Growth & Expansion stage? You need to understand where the marketplace is going – what do customers need? More importantly, what will they need tomorrow?
Hopefully, it’s not too late and with honesty and a willingness to confront the brutal facts, you can reverse the downward trend.
How about you? Is your business in the downhill slide? If so, are you blaming the decline on everything and everyone else or are you choosing to do something different?