Cami Powell, MBA (Ph.D. 2024), is the Business Development Director at The Self-Employed Journey where she guides businesses toward success.
As a small business owner, have you ever found yourself struggling and perhaps wondering how you may continue to survive with all you’ve been dealing with? If so, you are not alone. Business ownership is one of the toughest jobs out there and the pressure to thrive is rough.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports only 25% of small businesses will surpass operating for more than ten years. Unfortunately, this statistic hasn’t changed for over 20 years. If you do not want to become part of the 75% of failures, there are five things you can do today that can increase your chances of success.
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when your business is struggling, but try to stay calm and focus on finding a solution. Fear of failure may rush in, if you let it. Trust your gut. A positive change is needed, and figuring out what that is will be nearly impossible if your mind is consumed with negative thoughts and feelings about your situation. Believe in yourself, and you can turn this around.
Take a step back and figure out where things went wrong.
What were your original goals for the business and how did you plan to achieve them? What obstacles have you faced, and did you pivot accordingly? Sit down and reassess your business and personal goals. Get a clear picture of what you want, assess where you are at currently, and then make a new plan for moving forward.
Reverse engineering your long-term goals into short, actionable goals will get you where you want to be. Remember to always keep in mind what your dreams and goals are when making business decisions in order to stay on track.
Evaluate your expenses and see where you can cut costs without sacrificing quality or service.
Even if your business is struggling financially, you can still save it. Managing the business’ spending is vital for success. When was the last time you looked over where the business’s money was going? If you do not use an accounting system for tracking your expenses, go to your bank statements and review every single expense over the last few months. You may find that you are still paying for subscriptions or services that you no longer use.
Look at your overhead expenses and ask yourself the following questions: Do you need that office space? Are you paying too much in administrative labor that you might need to take over yourself for a while or delegate differently? Can you negotiate new contracts with vendors for a lower cost? Are you paying for software licenses that you are not using? Dig in and find those money leaks so you can prepare a patch for financial survival.
Reach out to your network of contacts for help and advice.
You’re not alone. Many other entrepreneurs will be happy to share their own experiences and offer suggestions. If you do not have a network, find one. There are multiple ways to connect with other like-minded business owners. Join a networking group in your area, find groups online that are in your niche, find a small business development center or a similar office near you for one-on-one support. If you can, find a mentor who can guide you through the trenches and up toward your dreams.
Lastly, don’t give up!
Most businesses experience hardships at some point, but through perseverance and smart planning, you can get things back on track.
Remember: You are in charge of your victory. If you don’t like the path you’re on, you have the ability to change it.