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It’s never an easy thing to admit to yourself. If you’ve been growing a business and put your heart and soul into the whole process, you may choose to put off the inevitable for as long as possible. When your business isn’t doing well anymore, you know deep down. And while there are so many different factors that contribute to a business officially being the equivalent of a dead horse, there are always the same warning signs…
A Lack Of Creativity and Innovation
When was the last time you introduced a new product or service into the market? If a lot of time has elapsed and you’re still relying on your name or past successes to see you through it doesn’t work, not even for the big name brands. Soft drinks companies have had to introduce new flavors and keep rolling with the times, and if you’re coasting right now, where you’re classing your business as “steady,” this is a dangerous frame of mind to be in. The company will inevitably regress, and, what’s worse, you aren’t pushing yourself. You’ve become complacent. Not to be confused with differentiation, which is about making yourself unique, but with the combination of innovation (being new) and differentiation (being unique), you will keep pushing forward in the best possible way.
Consistent Financial Issues
Apart from low sales, the other financial issue to look out for is poor management of cash flow. Look at your account receivables and cash payables; can you see any gaping holes? If so, are there any telling signs of poor cash flow management, such as poor invoices or an overstocking of items without any orders to back it up? And while this can be resolved by better bookkeeping and ordering fewer products, the other thing to be concerned by is if you are starting to struggle to pay your lender or lenders, which can lead to insolvency. The information Dissolve have put on their site shows the indicators of when a business is insolvent, and this includes an inability to raise capital as well as matters that are far more serious than cash flow problems. Financial issues are a common problem in every business, but take this as a lesson to get your cash flow in order.
Your customers are leaving you, or not renewing contracts. This is a sure sign that bad times are on the horizon. Perhaps they have found a better alternative (cheaper, faster, more reliable). Or perhaps their Customer Experience (CX) is not up to their standard.
It can start with one (so big deal, right?) but this can soon escalate, if you don’t know why they’re leaving.
So find out. It’s a hard question to ask. Discover why customers don’t want to do business with you anymore and you have a chance of stemming the loss of your revenue.
Morale can often take a back seat to more immediate business issues, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t address the morale in some way. After your customers, it’s your staff that you need to look after. If morale is low for a specific reason, this will spread throughout the company and will turn toxic. If a staff member isn’t happy, it’s time to drill down and identify the root cause of the problem. Is it easily remedied? If it’s something you are able to fix, then you are obliged to do so. While a mass exodus is unlikely to be on the cards for your company, if you lose the one staff member that you’ve been relying on, will your business crumble? Learn to delegate properly, and this is pertinent for startups!
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