4 Not So Easy Steps to Beat the Small Business Slump
By Bradley Stockwell
Marketing Director Merchant Capital Source
All businesses have slumps. Slumps separate success stories from failures and it is all dependent upon the way you, the owner, react. A small business is like a marriage. It requires hard work and dedication; it has its honeymoon period, its struggles and successes and like in a marriage, you may find yourself growing apart from it. First and most importantly, you must ask yourself if your heart is still committed. Whether struggling, or succeeding your business should bring some sense of happiness and fulfillment. Success doesn’t come to the half-hearted and neither does change.
If you believe there is still a future between you and business follow these four not so easy steps to getting your business back into tip-top shape.
1. Draw on Your Past for Inspiration
Every business starts with two basic things, a business plan and mission statement. Find them and remind yourself of why you started. Was it to help people? To get rich? To advance the industry? Whatever it may be, you need to start with the foundation and work your way up. Reflecting upon the road that led you to this slump is important to finding out how to change its direction.
When in a slump, it’s easy to dwell on what you did wrong, but you must also remember what you did right. Remembering milestones and successes can give your entrepreneurial libido a much needed boost.
2. Get Your Ducks in a Row
Now that you’re feeling a little better about yourself and your business, it’s time to face what you did wrong. Don’t look at mistakes as mistakes, but as opportunities to learn. Mistakes make you a wiser and a better business owner, but only if you’re open to learning from them.
The first culprit of your slump can be your finances. If your finances have gotten out of control you need to reel them back in by doing a full audit yourself, or hire an accountant to do it for you. Regaining control of your finances gives you a sense of power and direction.
3. Find and Strengthen Your Company’s Voice
Next is to examine your marketing plan. Marketing is where a lot of business owners fail to educate themselves and leave it in the hands of a third party company. However you have to remember this is your voice to the outside world, what brings in new business and no one believes in your business more than you, so who better to sell it? You need to invest time on educating yourself on how to best market your company. It is absolutely crucial.
When it comes to a marketing budget, don’t choke-hold your voice. Marketing is about perception and if your company’s presence disappears it just tells the outside world you’re failing. However this doesn’t mean throwing a lot of money at it will solve your problems either. Advertising is like gambling. There’s no way to guarantee a return on investment, but there are ways to increase its odds. Traditional methods of advertising such as print, radio and television are great if your company is healthy; it creates top of mind recognition among consumers, but online is really where your dollar stretches the furthest. This reason being services such as Google AdWords and Facebook advertising don’t charge you for impressions (the amount of people who see your ad) but actions (clicks) on your ad. Also online advertising makes it much easier to reach your target audience. Google AdWords show your ads to consumers that enter specific searches, or “keywords” that you define while Facebook advertising allows you to target by very specific parameters and interests. If you’re not digitally savvy, it’s time to learn to be. YouTube is a great resource for online tutorials and if it’s tech related we recommend Eli The Computer Guy’s channel.
4. Find Funding
With any revamp or major change to your business, it’s realistically going to cost you money. With the current market, getting a business loan from the bank can be like pulling teeth and can be a long tedious process. Also people who would most likely be approved in the past, are now being turned away because of stricter requirements.
Another option is using the growing number of online fundraising sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe.com. Each site is used for different purposes and you should research which one is best for you.
However when money is needed immediately and the banks can’t help, Merchant Capital Source is here for you. Our qualification process for a business loan is much less stringent than the bank’s and much faster! We welcome those with bad credit. For more information, please contact us at (866) 969-7878, or firstname.lastname@example.org. To fill out an online application please click here.
We wish you luck on your on your business venture and truly want to aide and preserve the American Dream. As our tagline states, Long Live Success!