How to Turn Around a Failing Business

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sinking shipYou’re ready for another year, and you’re armed with the data you gathered from your year-end review, but…well, the numbers aren’t very positive. In fact, you ended the year nowhere near where you wanted to be. And now you’re starting 2010 feeling anxious, frustrated and a bit shaken. What went wrong and how can you salvage what you have left?

Be Honest with Yourself

We all know that every business doesn’t succeed, but that doesn’t change the fact that you never want yours to be one of the ones that doesn’t make it. But pride and ego can’t be the only reasons for launching a rescue operation. Now is the time for some hard self-inquiry.

You need to ask yourself the difficult questions to make sure you’re in this for the right reasons and that you’re truly willing to do what it takes to turn the business around. Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:

  • Are you passionate about what you’re doing?
  • Are you qualified to do what you’re offering?
  • Are you willing to make sacrifices to reach success?
  • Are you stepping out of your comfort zone?
  • Have you invested the time, effort and finances necessary?
  • Do you want to continue being a business owner?

Be Accountable

If you look at the history of your business closely and with an open mind, you will probably be able to identify the mistakes that were made that led to the downturn. While this is certainly not time to beat yourself up over mistakes and bad decisions, you need to own up to the role you played. Identify what you could have done differently and learn from it.

You may even want to team up with an accountability partner or a mentor to help keep yourself on the right track and make the most of your new perspective.

Try Something New

Many businesses fail because they become static. Let’s face it – it’s hard to dedicate yourself to something when you’re bored out of your mind.

Sometimes it just takes something new to breathe fresh air into a stale business. And it can be anything: launching a new marketing campaign, offering new services, writing a book, teaching a class, joining a new organization, anything that gets you invested and excited again.

Watch the Numbers

You need to be able to make adjustments in how you’re managing your business in order to turn it around and to do that, you need to know your business finances inside and out. Rigorously monitor your expenses so you know where every dollar is being spent, and make changes immediately if necessary.

It’s also important that you’re watching your open projects, billing accurately and promptly, and following up on receivables. A key step in moving your business back on track is knowing the numbers and taking action quickly when a change is necessary.

Improve Your Attitude

At the end of the day, the success of your business is dependent on a million factors, some of which are beyond your control. But you do control your attitude, how you react when things don’t go the way you want them to, and what you do to overcome challenges. A positive attitude and an open mind can bring about positive change. Once you recommit yourself to your business, you’ve taken the first step towards a shift in attitude.

Whether your business lives on or not, a positive attitude will allow you to benefit from the learning experience of the entire journey not just the final outcome.

Do you have a turnaround story to share?

Image credit: notsogoodphotography

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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