Owning and operating a business always comes with many challenges. For different reasons the current recession seems the worst we've ever experienced. Whether that's true or not, this particular recession is marked by how low the economy has gone, high rates of unemployment, but I think worst of all, how it's taken so much longer than normal to work its way through the economic system.
Perhaps it's a good time to remember that things don't always flow smoothly and that bouncing back to get on with it is part of an entrepreneur's tool kit of things to do. Here are some things to consider that will put a little spring back into your step.
1. Failure is not an option!
I think most business owners are familiar with Colonel Sanders of KFC fame? If you aren't, search the web and find his story and read it. It is inspiring. Over 1,000 people or companies told him his idea wouldn't fly when he was in his early sixties. Giving up wasn't an option. If he didn't give up, why should we?
2. FEAR - False Education Accepted as Reality.
Fear can be a part of what every business owner needs to deal with. Equally, not giving up is why we fall down but then get up again. Remember; fear will linger as long as you let it. It's no more complicated than that.
3. Keep it real.
I think one of the healthiest approaches to the current recession is to keep it real and accept that it's tough out there. Talk to other business owners to get their perspective, and use this quiet time to get your business ready for the inevitable return to growth. Make a list of things to do and then do it. Seeing and feeling yourself accomplish things will help sustain you.
4. Disappointments are part of the journey; not a destination.
I'm sure you've heard the expression - if it was this easy, everyone would do it. If things are not going as planned, look for positive options or outcomes. If you have spare time, look for someone to help that's worse off than you; it enables you to keep your problems in perspective. Also, don't forget. A problem is an opportunity to resolve; but it doesn't need to be resolved immediately.
5. Keep your Dream alive.
I'm a great believer in a written business plan. It's a collection of thoughts that you build over a period of time and if used properly, help keep you focused and on target. If you don't have a business plan, create one now. If you have one, dust it off and give it an update and put it to work. It will help keep your dream alive. And make sure your business plan includes some of your dreams; as that's what helps sustain us.
6. Leap then look.
Analysis is good but perhaps not at the moment. As Lee Iacocca says Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don't just stand there, make it happen.
If you're an entrepreneur but are currently unsure what the next step should be consider the following.
If your business has sales revenues of at least $1,000,000 and you are motivated to keep going but need help or advice, talk to support groups such as family and friends or trusted advisors. They can provide emotional support; which is critical. You will then need expert technical and financial help for your business and you can find trade associations a great source of ideas. Alternatively, there is the Turn Around Management Association. This is a group of professionals that will assess your business, decide if it can be saved and execute a plan with you. Each situation would be different, but you may find they will partner with you to fund the cost of their service or charge fees to get the business to the next level. The bottom line is that you have to be willing to make the time, emotional and financial investment to get the business stabilized and successful.
If your business has sales revenues between $500,000 and $1,000,000 also start with your family and friends for emotional support to decide if you want to keep going. If you need expert help or technical advice about your business and its outlook, look to trade associations or industry experts for guidance. You will almost without exception have to fund any costs yourself. Bank loans including SBA loans may be available but you will need to clearly explain the current strengths and weaknesses of the business including its financial position and build a business plan to explain why AND how the business can be saved and taken to a more profitable level.
If your business sales are less than $500,000 you can explore the last option described but it will be on a case by case basis what solutions will be available to you. The bottom line is that any solutions will emanate from you with the vision, leadership and financial resources you possess to make things happen.
If you are interested in additional steps to take, visit my website and buy a copy of my book, Successfully Sell Your Business: Expert Advice from a Business Broker.
About the Author:
Andrew is a 5-time business owner that loves helping entrepreneurs exit or enter business ownership. His services include business brokerage; helping owners sell and/or buyers purchase a business. He also provides consulting on purchasing a franchise, certified machinery and equipment appraisals and business valuations. To ensure this is done to the highest standards, Andrew carries the CBI designation from the International Business Brokers Association and the CBB from the California Association of Business Brokers. Appraisals for Machinery & Equipment are certified with the CMEA designation from the NEBB Institute. Andrew carries a Brokers License from the California Dept. of Real Estate, is a member of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Chair of the California Association of Business Brokers. Andrew is available for speaking engagements. How can I help you?