Is Your Local Small Business Growing or Dying?
In today’s episode: We discuss why you want to identify if your local small business is in a dying stage or a growing stage. We walk you through the 5 things to look for in both stages
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 27 of the Local Small Business Coach
5 Ways Your Local Small Business is Growing or Dying
Is Your Local Small Business Growing or Dying?
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast, I am your coach Tammy Adams.
Hopefully your week is going strong with lot of business. I also hope that after our last episode you have been putting some thoughts into what you want your 2017 business goals to be. So, have you set those target sales and profit goals for next year? Which processes you will improve and what are your plans to develop your team? Don’t forget, you have one more month to finalize those goals. Don’t procrastinate, do it now.
Not only is this time of the year a great time to think about your goals for the new year, but it is also a great time to analyze your small business and ask a very important question:
Is Your Local Small Business in a Growing or Dying Stage?
I’m going to assume that some of you had an immediate answer pop in your head. Maybe your business has been going bonkers so you know your business is in the growing stage. Perhaps you’ve been losing customers and sales have been sliding so you are facing a dying business.
For the rest of you, I’m going to wager that you are landing somewhere in the middle. Neither dying nor growing. The problem is, you can’t be stagnant. While it might be very subtle, you are headed in one direction or the other. You challenge is, you must identify which way you are headed.
Let’s take a closer look at the signs you should look for.
If your business is starting to die, you are going to see these 5 warning signs:
- Word of mouth for your business is not positive. You are seeing some negative online reviews or maybe your customer complaints are higher than normal. Folks are sharing with family, friends and neighbors that they should use or go to other businesses.
- Sales are flat or dipping – If your year over year sales are flat or sliding backwards, then this is an obvious sign. While flat sales still might be good sales, there is no growth going on, unless of course profits are up. Don’t get a false feeling of growing business if your sales are strong yet are same as the month or year prior. This is an early warning sign that is often missed.
- Lack of Innovation or New Ideas – When you started your business you had a lot of great ideas going on. You were probably trying stuff to see what worked and what didn’t. You listened to new idea. Over time, a business can stop creating new ideas thinking that what they do is good enough. Problem is, this just isn’t true. There is a reason that Nike has a new line of shoes each year, why Coke & Pepsi still put out new flavors or takes on their sodas. They know they must always be looking for the next big thing.
- Morale is low – Not just yours but more importantly your people. Remember, your team is the first line of contact for your customers. If your team is negative and unhappy, your customers will feel it. And no one likes to shop or use a business that is depressing and just not fun to visit.
- Poor Cash Flow – Believe it or not, there are businesses with great sales yet they are poor at the end of the month. Just like a doctor who makes $200,000 can still be broke, so can a $200,000 business. It is only a matter of time before something can happen and poof, it is all over. Just like that doctor who can go bankrupt even though they have a great income, so can a business with great sales.
Now that we know what to look for to identify if you are in a dying stage, let’s take a look at 5 ways a business in a growing phase has going on and how you can go from dying to growing!
- Growing businesses are trying new things. They are trying new products or services. They are adding on related items to not only grow sales but profits as well. Maybe they are trying new ways to market their brand. They might be stepping out of their comfort zone and trying social media.
- Encourage your team members to share their thoughts, their ideas. Ask them what they think the customers are wanting or asking for. Let’s face it, they are the ones that are belly to belly with the customers and they are experiencing it every day.
When I worked at Home Depot, the founding father, Bernie Marcus, was a master of this. Every store visit he would break away and just talk to the customers. He would not only find out things about that particular store, he was also looking for trends from store to store, market to market. It was fascinating to find out the things he pick up from this exercise he did from day one and long after he left as our CEO.
- Hire talent that “isn’t like you”. One of the worse things you can do is hire people that are just like you. Now, before you even say it, yes, you want passionate people that love customers. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about hiring people that have different experiences and perspectives. You want new ideas and different ways to look at things. You will be amazed at the ideas that come from fresh perspectives.
- Stay as debt free as possible. Control your cash flow. Grow at a pace that allows you to fund as you grow. Do not take on debt that you can’t repay quickly. Never trade debt for sales. Taking on $500 in a debt payments makes no sense if it doesn’t bring you way more in profit. Grow at a pace that you can bootstrap along the way and make sure you set aside a portion of your profits to reinvest in the business vs taking on this debt.
- Keep your customer service your #1 priority. Make sure that you take all feedback seriously. Especially any critical feedback. Your customers are trying to tell you something. React and show them you are listening. Make sure your team is on the same page. Talk about customer service during the interviews, talk about it during orientation, talk about it daily. Hold people accountable to it. Make it fun and enjoy. Remember, great customer service will be shared over and over with family, friends and neighbors. On Facebook and in the grocery store. Your customers will keep your business growing for you as long as you give them a reason too!
Ok, this is a shorter episode but I do want you to put some thought into where your business is today as you head into the new year. Then when you sit down to create those business goals, you can incorporate some of these ideas in so that you ensure that your business is continuing to grow. No one wants a dying business. So you must ensure that you are pushing forward these growth tactics we discussed.
Don’t forget, if you are looking for a possible free coaching call, all you have to do is leave a review or leave a question for the show. Each week I’m picking someone to win a free one on one coaching call. Just shoot me an email after you do either one to be entered to win.
As we wrap up feel free to leave comments on the episode shownotes at localsmallbusinesscoach.com/episode27. I’d love for you to share your thoughts and ideas.
So until next time, remember, if you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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Our Training Materials for Local Small Business Owners: TrainingforLocalSmallBusinessOwners.com
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My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
Why? Helps you invoice quicker and more importantly, get paid quicker. Let’s you know when your clients have opened the email and they even help send reminders. Clients / customers can pay right from their phone or computer. Give it a Try: Freshbooks
**Freshbooks is an affiliate link. This costs you nothing. I only recommend due to how much folks have loved it. I am paid a small commission but trust me. Even I use it. Try it for free for 30 days and see if you don’t love it too!
Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
And if you are Thinking of Starting a Local Small business, over at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com we have lots of free tools and resources to help you get your local small business started. Plus, we now have a more in-depth course to Help Get you going. It has 12 modules, 50 mini videos and 13 downloadable tools a person can use to start their local small business. You can find the link once again at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com. I also have set up a special discount code for listeners of the podcast. At checkout, just add the code PODCAST to save 25%.
See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.