When your business is struggling, and especially if it’s been struggling for a while, there are some hard questions that you need to ask yourself to figure out what to do next. Have you taken a hard look at your business? Have you looked at your customer lists? Or your Google analytics? The answers for why, and how to get out of it, are likely right at your fingertips. You simply have to know what questions to ask.
10 Important Questions for the Struggling Business Owner
If you’re trying to determine your next steps, ask yourself these 10 questions to create a new plan for business success.
1. Why are you still running your business?
If you are a struggling business owner, it’s first a good idea to ask why you are still in the game. The reason why you started your business might be very different from why should still be running it now. Think about it. When your business is struggling, you need to reconnect with your purpose and your mission to lead it out of its current state.
2. Why do your customers do business with you?
How do you attract customers? Repeat business is what sustains a business. Do you have repeat customers? If not, do you know why they don’t come back for more or why they aren’t giving referrals?
3. Are you charging enough to grow your business?
When is the last time you reviewed your pricing strategy? Have you raised your prices? It’s important for you to make sure that you understand all of your costs, and that there’s some profit in every sale.
4. Do you have a strong value proposition?
Investigate ways you can add more value for your customers. Make sure there’s something special about how you deliver your product or service. Brainstorm ways you can add more value for your customer, with minimal cost to you.
5. Is your business in the right location – or should it be in a different state?
Trends in the industry might lead you to consider a move to take advantage of more favorable tax and business regulations in a nearby state. What do you need to do to set up shop in a new state? It could be that your original legal business structure is no longer the best fit and a new legal entity might work better for your business.
6. Are you clear on your target customer?
Who is your customer? What do you know about them? How often do you talk to your customers? Has your customer changed their buying patterns or found a new solution? Perhaps it’s time to develop a new customer profile.
7. What are the trends in your industry?
You need to stay on top of the trends in your industry. Is your industry growing or shrinking? Is there technology that is changing your industry or allowing you to save time and money on how you deliver your products and services?
8. How are you generating sales leads?
Sales are what drives a business. Do you have specific lead generation activities going on? How are your following up on those leads? Are you running Google Ads or Facebook Ads? Blogging? Attending trade shows? Making cold calls? Following up with recent customers in email? You must be doing something to generate interest in your business.
9. Do you have a process to nurture leads?
Lead nurturing is the process of engaging your target audience by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. This process builds trust. You typically use a sales funnel to actively move your prospects through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become paying customers.
10. Are you ready to fix your business or shut it down?
When your business is struggling and you have had year after year of negative growth and constant cash flow challenges, it’s time for drastic action. It’s time to reinvent yourself and your business OR shut it down. Are you ready to change things up?
When your business is struggling and stops growing, there are lots of places to look for answers. If you are a struggling business owner, I suggest that you start with these questions, and then take the time to figure out a new strategic plan for your business. Your leadership will be critically important to change things, so don’t forget to work on that too.