No one likes to admit that they’ve failed. Whether still stuck in the denial phase or refusing to accept that it was their own fault, the staunch refusal to admit to failure is one of the follies of man. But like death and taxes, failure is inevitable in our lives.
Sometimes it’s on a small-scale. Perhaps you didn’t fulfill your childhood dream of being President of the US, scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl or being the first man or woman to walk on Mars. Those feats, while damning in childhood, are easily overcome once we’ve blossomed into adults. The same can’t always be said for failures in business.
Business failure, while not a definite, can be just as damning as any other failure, big or small. Sure, there are ways to avoid failure, as I have covered in the past. But sometimes a business can take a wrong turn in what seems like a split-second, causing failure to become not only immanent, but unavoidable.
Recognize When It’s Happening
Before you can turn around a failing business you have to recognize the signs. If sales and income is steadily dropping, don’t let that information fall by the wayside. Are your employees complaining, bickering or generally exhibiting low morale? Is your business remaining stagnant, content with falling into its place rather than growing and innovating? As a business owner, CEO, executive or director, these are the exact signs that you should be constantly monitoring.
A drop in sales is the most obvious and perhaps the most significant sign to watch for. Without a regular revenue any business will fail. If your sales, client-base or investors are dropping out or expressing disinterest, it may be time to consider that your business might be failing.
Recognition of a failing business is a significantly easier task than many make it out to be. This is due in part to negligence or outright denial, more often than not, which brings us to the second tip to turning around your failing enterprise.
Accept That It’s Happening
Stop telling yourself that revenue is dropping due to forces outside of your control. Stop claiming layoffs won’t happen, and stop deluding yourself into thinking that, without intervention on your behalf, these problems will just go away. Though the fault of the failure does not always lie in your hands, accepting that you’re failing (or have failed) is a necessary step in regaining your footing in the business world.
Jason Saltzman of Entrepreneur offers six tips on accepting failure: accept the situation, realize you’re not alone, screw it, prepare for battle, be realistic and learn lean. Each of these can and should be applied directly to accepting a failed or failing business.
Once you’ve recognized that you or your business is in trouble and accepted that it is indeed happening, it’s time to take action.
Turn it Around
Once you’ve recognized that it’s happening, it’s time to identify the source of the problem. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen the executives of a company have the right idea of what the problem is,” said Grant Cardone, the “Turnaround King” in an interview with Inc. “It’s like talking to a drug addict about his problems: He’ll blame everything but the drugs.” Make a positive identification of the problem is imperative to turning around a failing business.
Next, an owner or CEO needs to take the initiative in changing whatever has been deemed the cause of the issue or issues at hands. As I mentioned above, low employee morale is an indicator of a failing business, but helping turn around the morale of the company can be a huge step in turning around the success of the organization.
If you find yourself in a scenario that calls for change in business, you may be on the verge of failing. By taking the right steps to recognize your situation, accept the failure and make positive change, you can save your business before it’s too late.