Starting up a business is tough, however, keeping it running as a going concern is even tougher. Once you’ve managed to reach breakeven point and beyond, you have to work hard and work smart to move it to the next level. Whether you’re looking to make a profit or increase it, it will require some effort on your part.
1. You Don’t Have Enough Products
Clients want to buy your products but continuously have to go onto a waiting list. Your competitors, on the other hand, are able to churn out products at double or triple your speed. It will only be a matter of time before your clients notice this and decide to make the move. Firstly, you need to figure out whether you lack a sufficient range of products or whether what you have is just not coming out fast enough. In this case, improving your production chain is the first step. This will mean employing more staff and getting more equipment and stock. To avoid the risk of overtrading, gradual growth is always better.
Sitting with empty floor space while paying rent is also something to avoid. Every inch of your shop floor that is not dedicated to walkways should be advertising stock or products. If not, the space is redundant and a total waste. Fill the space up and ensure that you are using it to its full advantage.
2. The Market Is Saturated
This is the last thing any business owner wants to hear. When you started your business, you could count all your competitors on your one hand. Now, a few years later, there are more competitors than customers. Keep your products at a good price and a high quality. This is also the right time to involve a market specialist who is able to accurately gauge the market trends. By keeping your product relevant, it will always be a front-runner in the market.
3. Your Product Is Redundant
Along with number 2 in the list, this is possibly one of the worst realities for any business. Being too busy to keep up with the times has left you in the dark where technological advancement is concerned. In order for this not to happen, make it your duty to know where your industry is going. Holding onto old methods and refusing to budge may cost you your business.
4. Your Customers Are No Longer Happy
When you started off, you were able to entertain every customer and meet their needs personally. You now have a fleet of staff members working under you and the only time you deal with a customer is when there’s a complaint. This is a dangerous oversight for any business owner. Having direct contact with your clients is imperative, especially those who fulfil certain criteria:
• Influential clients
• Loyal clients (patronage of a certain amount of years)
• Big spenders
• Clients who have been referred by the above
If you only see customers when complaints arise, you may need to investigate customer service or product quality. These types of complaints will force your clients to seek out your competitors. Avoid the leaking bucket by investing time in the problem areas.
5. Your Prices Are Too Low
You’re the type of business owner who will give some of your stock away for free if you see your customer is needy. You also feel terrible when it’s time to increase prices and your customers know it. They’ve been paying the same price for items for the last five years. Your suppliers have put their prices up and this means less profit for you.
6. Staff Do Not Know What The Expectation Is
If you happen to have staff members who need to be told what to do every minute of every day, you are wasting two staff members at the same time. These staff members will put you under pressure as you won’t know what the full potential of your output is. The best thing to do is to set a timesheet in place after testing the various processes. If it takes the average staff member five minutes to stitch a buckle on a shoe, it shouldn’t take another ten minutes unless they’re training. This is a great way to monitor and coach those who are lagging behind. A business needs every staff member to pull their weight in order to grow.
Growth in a business is imperative in order to keep it alive. Without growth, profits will dry up and eventually production will be impacted. The purpose of running a business is for profit and when this isn’t achieved, there simply is no purpose continuing with it.