It is very likely that your business could fail. Half of all businesses fail within their first five years of operation.

So, it’s important to accept that your business might fail and learn to recognize the warning signs. It is possible to turn it around and save your business, but doing it incorrectly could just hasten your business’ demise. Here are some tips to save your business and what to do when you do accept defeat.

Warning Signs

Always be on the lookout for signs that your business is slipping. The earlier you can catch that something is wrong, the more time you have to correct your course. Deciding to be ignorant of this just puts your business more at risk.

The biggest warning sign is a steadily decreasing profit margin. If you are making less and less money on a consistent basis, clearly there is a problem. Small dips occasionally are expected to happen, but consistent loses are a cause for alarm.

Another major warning sign is when you start having major failures in your business. These are things like a big project failing to launch or losing a major client. These kind of major problems can be a last-ditch wake-up call that something is wrong with your business. It’s possible to recover from these failures, but it requires instant action.

Identify What Has Changed and Fix It

The first step to fixing the problem is knowing what is wrong, and that can sometimes be the hardest thing to do. It requires taking a hard look at your business and delving deeply into the data you have available.

Look through what information you have and try to deduce what is happening. Compare different data sets, like your sales against the traffic on your website. Play the part of the detective and try to figure out what is wrong.

This is going to require some experimentation and time, but once you find out what is wrong, you can make a plan to fix it. You need to consult with experts, work with employees, and do all you can to save the sinking ship. Hopefully, you’ve caught the mistake early enough that you have enough time to fix it before all of your money dries up.

Innovate Your Business

Successful businesses take risks, but for some reason, many business owners think that when things go wrong, they need to play it extremely safe. They fall back to old tactics that use to work, but might actually be the problem.

If your business is falling apart, it’s time to innovate and shake up the industry. It’s time to try something new, either by providing an all new product, or by readjusting your current product for a new audience.

To figure out how to innovate, turn to your data, like from your website and sales. By analyzing your data, it’s possible to predict future trends, both for your business and the industry as a whole. Look for how consumer behavior has changed and what you can do to get customers back to your business.

Throwing in the Towel

Not every business is meant to last forever, and at some point, you might need to just decide that it is over. There is no shame is deciding that your business is done, especially if you’ve worked hard and built something to be proud of.

Handling any kind of job loss is hard, since you built your business from the ground up. Once you’ve made the decision that you can’t save your business, you need to start making preparations for what is next.

Losing a business isn’t an easy thing, but it is a part of life. Do all you can to save it, but be willing to take a step back and look at it. If it is going to fail no matter what, let it go and be willing to move on.

 

Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.