Where are the problems in your business
Work out what's going wrong
Don’t put things off hoping the problems will go away. Look at the situation, ask your staff, analyse what’s happening and why, and brainstorm some potential solutions. To do this you'll need to identify what the problems are and then assess each one’s impact on your business. Then get creative about how to get your business back on track.
Consider your options
The solution could be very straight forward, for example making your business more accesible for your customers by getting a freephone number or changing your opening hours. To improve your profit margins you might consider raising your prices, or renegotiating costs with your suppliers, or adding a small delivery charge for example. However the changes might need to be more fundamental such as lowering your cost base by changing suppliers, reducing the number of staff you employ, or investing in some new and more efficient plant and machinery. You could consider making changes to the way your product is sold, or where it's sold, or changing your target market.
Consider the financial impacts
You’re in business to make money so don’t lose sight of this. Consider the financial implications of reacting to challenges, compared with the impact on your bottom line of taking no action. It may make more sense to carry on as you are.
Set yourself measurable targets
If you're going to make changes create a plan of action that sets clear activities you'll need to complete and a firm date they have to be completed by. Make sure you set measures of success though, so you know when it's worked.
Give your solution time to work
Don’t forget the time-lag between action and reaction. Things you put in place now may take a while to have any effect so don’t expect immediate results.
Trust your instincts
You're the expert in what you do and on a small scale you’ve been adapting to change ever since you started in business. So trust your own judgement, get enough information to enable you to make a decision, and then go do it.
Be prepared to make mistakes
Most successful business people have made heaps of them! If you do make a mistake the most important thing is to learn from it. Be constructive rather than despondent, think about why you made certain decisions and what other options were open to you . . . . and vow never to make the same mistake ever again!