Businesses have natural peaks and troughs, sometimes the troughs seem deeper and last longer, and whilst it’s important to quit while you’re a head, it is not always good to throw in the towel at the first hurdle – especially in the world of business. Here are some tips on how to keep your head above water when things get a tad choppy…
1) Money matters: A job many of us procrastinate on is finance, whether it’s bookkeeping, budgeting or simply popping to the bank to deposit a cheque, but it is often failing to thoroughly deal with money matters that lead us to the tougher stints in business. So allocate some time, and focus on your accounts. If you are really struggling in this area, it maybe worth bringing onboard an expert. The point is; give your finances attention, and reply to important letters or phone calls. Take charge again, and stay on top of your incomings and outgoings.
2) Make cutbacks: You may realise that after carefully analysing your finances that cutbacks are required. If it means downsizing, or going mobile to reduce overheads of rent and energy bills, then it is worth doing. You can always work from home, or return to a rented situation later down the line. Sometimes in order to move forward or to grow, we have to take re-directions, but that’s better than giving up. By considering other routes you could be led to brighter paths. Remember, that cutting back in certain parts of your business may be all that is needed to get you afloat again.
3) Put the record straight: Depending on your profession you will have to hold up-to-date records of your clients’ details for insurance and account purposes. When business travels through stormy weather, it is the paperwork that often gets left to one side for another day, and that day seldom comes – so dedicate a certain amount of time periodically; weekly or monthly, whatever suits you best, to ensure all data is accurate and current. This will avoid any potential sticky situations.
4) Avoid stress: Keep your stress levels down, even in times of adversity. These times are testing, but we always come out stronger, because we have the experience that we can share with others or apply to future situations – relax, and de-stress. This does not mean going in to a denial state, as work still needs to be attended too – it is about balance; so work hard, play safe, and rest well.
5) De-clutter: This is fantastic for business and for your personal life. Chuck any unwanted items or clothing in the recycle, or give to charity, or even sell it online. Clear environments allow for a clear mind. Again, allocate a certain amount of time to do this, do not do it as a distraction from business difficulties – use it as catharsis, and even listen to your favourite music to combine it with ‘me time’. You want to feel refreshed, with a sense of achievement and clarity, so you can battle the thrashing waves with full force.
6) There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’: Don’t suffer alone. If you have business worries, then share them in a productive way. Ask friends, family and experts for advice. People want to see you succeed, so ensure you don’t block them out. If you can financially validate keeping staff, shareholders or contractors onboard, then ensure you allow them to work with you to help the business to flourish once more; after all it is in their benefit to support you and your business.
7) Consider joining forces: You may know somebody in the same industry, or a complementing industry that could help you with your business. If another business is healthy, and they see the potential in your business, then you could come up with a mutual beneficial agreement. This could include sharing workspace, or a client base, or even merging into one bigger business and forming a partnership. If you sail this course, ensure you trust the other party, and that you are happy with the final deal. Remember to get any contracts looked over by a professional.
8) Look after your clients: A simple correlation is if you look after them, they will look after you. Avoid other unimportant distractions, remember it is your clients that allow your business to operate, so put in place inexpensive and effective ways to keep them coming back.
9) Exceed client expectation: This message really needs to sink in, because this is the key to gaining repeat business, and repeat business means calmer waters and smoother sailing. So still go the extra mile for your customers. Don’t take the regulars for granted, and continue to entice the first-timers to return by making their business exchange/experience memorable, in a positive way.
10) Remain Professional: Sometimes when things get tough, it is easy to allow your professional mask to slip. While it is vital to be sincere and open with your clients, especially in certain industries, it is a big business ‘no-no’ to show signs of despair. Do not share you fears and worries with your clients, just continue being professional and allow your skills to shine through.
Use these tips to help you sail out of rough waters and back in to the high seas for continual business #success.