Every entrepreneur has been there. The latest and greatest idea that has ever entered into your mind is not doing so well. You have put your heart and soul into something that you just knew was going to make you rich. But, things just are not working the way they are supposed to.
Despite all your efforts to get your business going, it looks as though you are going to have to give up on your latest idea. What went wrong?
Before you start planning your next venture (because that is what entrepreneurs do), take a while and analyze everything that you did in your business. Many times, there are circumstances that are beyond your control that affect your business that you may not have been able to foresee.
A few years ago, a business owner had a profitable dollar store in Tennessee. He had already bought shelving to open a second store but had not found a location that was suitable. But then it happened. The gas prices increased dramatically. And to top it all off, Tennessee voters approved a lottery. Within a few months, the profitable store sales had dropped to less than half of what it had been. The owner ended up closing that store and never opened the second one.
This is one example of how unforeseen circumstances had a major impact on the sales at one store. However, I am confident that during the severe rise in gasoline prices this scene was repeated throughout the country. Could the owners have done more to sustain the business that was already there? I do not know, but sometimes a businesses sales decrease through no fault of the owner.
However, that is not what I want this article to be about. Are there things that an owner could do to improve the sales at his company before he makes the final decision to close his business? Or are there things that could be done before he opens another one.
I know that everyone that has ever owned a business believes that they did everything possible to insure success. But that is not necessarily the case. There is always room for improvement in any business whether we want to see it or not. But your duty is to find out what went wrong and fix it before you make the same mistake with another business. Because one thing that separates successful business owners and unsuccessful ones is that even though they may fail in one business does not mean that they are going to quit. A successful business owner will go through many hardships also, but will not give up.
When you are lying awake at night analyze the following topics and see if you can improve on these items on your next venture.
- Product: Was I trying to sell the right product or did I need a different model, a less expensive model, a more expensive item, or should I change products altogether? Make sure a market exists for the items that you want to sell.
- Pricing: This goes along with the proper product. Do not price yourself out of the market. Price is not always the determining factor when making a purchase, but all else being equal, it is a major concern.
- Hours of Operation: In order to attract customers, you must be open for the hours that the customer requires, whether that necessitates opening early or staying open late. This is especially true in rural areas where many people work out of town.
- Employees: Employees have a major impact on whether a customer returns or not. Are they friendly and helpful to the customers? Handle complaints immediately and if they continue get rid of the employee because they may be hurting your business. And customers will tell their friends how they were treated in a particular business.
- Expenses: Every business has expenses that must be paid. Keeping them under control effects the bottom line. From the price of the lease to leaving lights on during the night will effect whether or not your business is successful.
- Office supplies: Do not underestimate the costs of equipment and supplies. Ink cartridges are expensive and perhaps you could save money by refilling them.
- Wholesale Prices: Do research to make sure that you are getting your items at the best wholesale prices.
Most of the time it is not just one item that will doom a business to failure, but a combination of several. Be realistic when you are analyzing any business, whether you are opening a new one or trying to save one from closing. Every business has room for improvement. Now find it.
Paul Taylor is a business owner that helps other business owners and entrepreneurs locate wholesale distributors and dropshippers. Visit his website http://www.WholesaleMap.com for information about wholesale sources or opening a business.