Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Are You in Business … or Enjoying a Hobby?

I’ve been helping businesses attain challenging goals for years. Often the challenge is to orchestrate and accomplish a “turn-around” because the business is declining or has stalled. At other times, it is to implement a new program, product or deploy a new channel or “make rain” for a new start up.

Although there are themes in all businesses that cross industry, size and locale, there is a definite trend in SMBs that I saw 20 years ago and unfortunately, I still see today.

We have all heard of the glorious stories of idea–folk who start in their garage and end up with a multi-billion dollar corporation. There are also some SMBs that started this way and appear to look successful…

·      A competitor comes in and takes away customers
·      A cash flow issue “appears”
·      The tax person comes calling and the business is in arrears
·      One disgruntled (or justified) employee files a lawsuit and puts the business in danger
·      The “tried and true” form of gaining customers dries up or a new way of attracting customers comes along and you missed the early boat – but your competitor didn’t
·      The founder of the business is the business and s/he is getting older, ill or ready to retire so sales are declining
·      Focusing on providing superior product or service has always worked for the business before but now the “numbers” are declining
·      Technology has moved ahead of your business processes and costs are degrading margins or the business is not readied for the technology changes

These are just a few of the trends that I have seen but they are real and they happen all the time. And, this is when a business either asks for help or eventually declares defeat. I urge you, even if the above “untils” loosely describe your situation to ask for help. A good business and marketing consultant can help you and your business to get ahead of the issues but you cannot wait until the problems are dire. One too many businesses I have tried to help, waited too long. It saddens me terribly to see people’s dreams crumble, especially when they could have been saved.

If any of the “untils” are in your business you are a hobbyist and that is a wonderful thing. However, most of you wanted to run a business so get an advisor/business couch/consultant to help identify and resolve these “fixable” issues for you and learn the nuts and bolts on running a business not a hobby.

Happy Marketing!

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