I’ve seen people who will stay in a small business like a bad marriage. The signs of divorce are clear years before but many business owners are determined to make what is clearly failing work, even when the odds are completely against them. It’s as if they are playing the lottery putting up their last money for a magical turn-a-round that will put them back on track but in actuality, they are digging themselves deeper into a hole. Here are some signs your business may very well be in trouble.
You No Longer Enjoy The business/Loss of Passion
Remember the days in the beginning of the business when you leaped out of bed with a smile on your face ready to take on the day. You may not have been making money at the time but you were driven by your desire because you saw a need and/or you had a passion and you were fulfilling it. There is a reason the old saying “Do what you love and the money will come” rings so true. It’s not an idea or a need to fill a hole that is the driving force for a small business, it’s the PASSION to do it that drives it. If a person who has a bakery only made cakes because there was no bakery withing 5 miles, they would probably be in business for about a year unless they are fortunate enough to find someone whoLOVES baking cakes and even then, the owner’s lack of passion for what the company does will eventually reflect how the employees feel so the bakery is still setting itself up for failure.
If you are not rolling out of bed eager to take on the day, full of joy and hope and passion like you once were, this is the first and a MAJOR sign it’s time to seriously think about selling the business or doing something else. Your lack of drive and desire will start to affect the company from the top to the bottom including sales because you can’t convincingly sell a product that you yourself don’t believe in anymore.
—————————–Your Industry Has Changed but you have not
Unfortunately, businesses, consumers and demands change all the time. It would be great if this were not the case but it happens. Most vets in certain areas of business are very set in their ways and refuse to change with the business tide. it’s not because they are stubborn, many times it’s because they feel inadequate, too old to learn the new industry or they fear being obsolete so they are stubborn. If you refuse to change, your service becomes antiquated and your customers will start looking, if they even HAVE to look, for someone who can adapt to the current trends. Competition is fierce and other entrepreneurs, who may have better resources, are always watching our progress (or regress). We’d like to think our current customers will be loyal but they also have to follow trends and if your company is behind the times, there is a great chance that you will lose money and eventually the business. If you run a record store in 2012, for example, you better be offering something totally unique in your market and beyond that drives the hardcore vinyl consumer to purchase from you amongst other things. Most record stores are out of business today but there are some that still thrive because of what they offer. Amoeba Music in Los Angeles, Berkley and San Francisco is a great example. They thrive because they buy records from customers for pennies on the dollar than sell them for much more. Many of the records from even 50 years ago are still in the rappers because many former music industry people still live in Los Angeles and surrounding areas and they had an abundance of product that they kept stored for decades and now they want to get rid of it. Amoeba sells product online as well, something many record store franchises refused to do which is why they are out of business, but Amoeba also has auctions of music memorabilia, in store performances and they sell used music as well as videos. Amoeba is a FULL SERVICE record store that also employes hardcore music lovers and the store in Los Angeles is almost always packed. How is it that this record store can stay alive and prosper when all the rest have died? They knew the industry was changing, they did their research and they are passionate about what they do.
—————————–You Don’t Trust Anyone to Help you Build the business