Lisa Robbin Young

How to turn your struggling business around

Building a business the first time around can be challenging, but turning a struggling one around could even be more daunting if you don’t do it right. According to Investopedia, although 45% of businesses fail in the first five years, less than half of that percentage actually make a comeback or turn things around.

2% feels like awful odds, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you've managed to ride out the pandemic, but are still struggling to keep everything together, here's where I suggest you start.

Identify the root cause of the problem

As a certified Fix This Next advisor, I work with my clients to help them "find their fix" - which is a fun way of saying we look at what the REAL problem is in the business. We use the Business Hierarchy of Needs as a way to pinpoint what the exact problem of the business is, but it's usually inadequate lead generation, poor profitability, or inadequate organizational support.

Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. That's when you need an outside set of eyes to take a look at your business and help you see what you may not be able to because you're just too close to it. The only way you can develop an appropriate strategy is by having a clear picture of what’s wrong and what you need to do to check the problem.

Give your digital platforms a facelift

Your website is the digital or online face of your business and plays a vital role in how others perceive your establishment. Unfortunately, though, when companies begin to struggle, it impacts negatively on online platforms as well. By refreshing or redesigning your business' website, you create an opportunity to rebrand and attract your target market to the new outlook. There are easy to used and reliable web builders, such as JAMstack, and others that help your team build sites that are well-structured and enhance performance. 

Keep in mind that customers are often attracted to new businesses to see their products and services. Even though yours may not be necessarily new, a revamped website creates a fresh impression and gives you the lifeline to garner trust from your old and new customer base. Additionally, giving your online platforms a facelift can progress into implementing new marketing activities, especially when you're dealing with a business downturn.

Regarding your social media platforms, it’s best to find creative ways to re-engage your followers. Post new and interactive content that suits your demographics perfectly. It can be a unique and well-edited video that speaks to the positive change happening within the business. Be as candid as possible without resorting to gimmicks that your followers can discern. It’s essential to remain authentic and inspiring without exaggerating your brand story. 

Re-evaluate your existing marketing and publicity activities

This strategy is primarily aimed at your customers. There's nothing worse than tone-deaf marketing and PR. Find ways you can add value to your customers without necessarily affecting revenue.

Additionally, you might consider hiring (sponsoring) an up-and-coming influencer who is gaining traction on social media. That will cost you less than an already established influencer who may charge an arm and a leg. Referral systems are also a great way to boost your business activities.

More importantly, increase your business' publicity on websites with massive traffic but charge less. For example, The LaughingSquid and Startup Curated have an expansive reach yet don’t charge much for ad slots.

Inspire your employees to stay motivated 

I've said it many times before: you train people how to treat you. That includes your employees. They can make or break your business, so it pays to treat them well! It helps to see your staff as your internal customers who drive the business with you.

As you turn your struggling business around, you’ll likely experiment with several strategies to arrive at the desired outcome. Do what you can as you are able, and if it ain't working, don't be afraid to let it go. Your business can't survive if it's more important to you to keep doing things in the old ways that simply don't work.

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