It’s not something that you, as a business owner, likely want to consider: The idea of your business faltering for some reason. It feels like tempting fate if you work on contingency plans for your business going through a rough patch; you don’t want to consider how you will cope as you’re so determined to ensure that coping isn’t ever going to be necessary.
However, this is a short-sighted and somewhat superstitious view. The simple reality is that all businesses go through phases where they struggle. Customers have less money to spend; advertising doesn’t deliver the results you were hoping for — it happens. There’s no point burying your head in the sand and pretending it’s a problem you’re never going to experience; even healthy businesses go through quiet phases.
If you’re relying on your business as your sole income, going through a quiet period with your business can have serious ramifications. If your income is being dented by the business’s performance, then you need to make changes — fast. So if your business is going through a faltering patch, here are four ideas to consider that can help you get back on track.
1) Change Your Strategy
If you’re determined to make your business a success, then a slow period might be a sign that you need to switch your business strategy. Look particularly at your marketing and promotional budgets: Are you doing enough? Do you need to incorporate digital marketing techniques? Is your SEO good enough? All of these areas can make a big difference when it comes to bringing customers to your (digital) door.
If you’ve never looked into online promotion before, then there’s a good primer at https://marketingland.com/21-ways-market-business-online-shoestring-budget-127277. Try a few different techniques and see if any elicit an uptick in customers and revenue.
It’s not just marketing and advertising that might be the cause of your current woes, though they are top of the list of considerations. You should also look at what your business is producing. It’s not a pleasant thing to contemplate, but there’s a chance you’re producing a product or service that there isn’t much demand for. To help eliminate this possibility, you could organize a focus group and get some consumer feedback on what your business is offering. If you receive negative feedback, then that’s a good thing; it shows you where you need to correct.
On the other hand, if the feedback is good, then it’s definitely worth re-examining your marketing and advertising strategy in deeper detail.
2) Move Into Employment For Awhile
The truth is that sometimes, you might need to go back into employment to help bump up your income. This doesn’t need to be permanent, but it can be a good strategy to get you through a tough time.
It’s a good idea to try and opt for employment close to your business niche. If you’re in the fashion business, you could look at http://www.jobsatbelk.com/manager-store-planning/. If you run a store, then try becoming a sales clerk for a big retail outlet. If your business is in healthcare, look for health assistant jobs — and so on and so forth. If you stick within your niche, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to earn some extra money and learn some tips that you can apply to your business in the future.
Going back into work can feel very jarring, especially if you have been self-employed for some time. However, it doesn’t have to be a permanent change. You can earn some extra cash, hopefully pick up a few tips, and re-energize yourself ready to focus on the business once more. Employment can be a stop-gap that helps you get your business back on track; don’t see it as a defeat, but as an opportunity.
3) Take A Holiday
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a fortune on the beach holiday of your dreams– though that’s a good option if you can take it. However you do it, taking some time away from your business can help give you the clarity you need — even if you just spend the week off in your pyjamas, binging Netflix shows.
The reason a break from your business is so effective is because of how entrepreneurs tend to work. As an entrepreneur, you likely live and breathe your business; it’s your sole focus, a labor of love that dominates every day and your every waking thought. This is good — and is a sign of a dedicated entrepreneur — but it also means you can be too close to the business. You’re so close that you can’t, to borrow a common phrase, see the wood for the trees. There might be an obvious reason that your business is going through a quiet patch, but you simply don’t have the separation from the situation that will allow you to see it.
So take some time off. Notify your existing customers, broadcast the message on social media, and then switch the laptop off for at least three days. Indulge in a little self-care, try not to think about the business, and try and restore some calm and order into your thoughts. When you return from your business exile, you will be better equipped to see the issues that are holding you back — and you’ll have the energy in reserve, ready for you to act on them.
4) Look For Freelance Work To Supplement Your Income
If you would prefer to continue working from home, then you could always hire yourself out as a freelancer in your chosen profession. There are plenty of sites that can help you do this; look through https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245953 to find one that suits you.
There’s every chance you won’t ever need to implement the strategies as mentioned above. However, if you do go through a quiet period with your business, you’ll be glad to have considered how to cope, rather than being forced to come up with solutions on the fly. File these ideas away, then continue on with your business — that peace of mind will stand you in good stead.