How to Get Through a Tough Business Year
Your new product hasn’t resonated with your target customers and your revenue is falling short. Your top employee decides to quit overnight. A major client leaves you for your competitor. These are just some critical situations businesses may face over time and they will certainly impact the morale of your team and their performance.
Now, your employees are looking at you and it’s your job as a boss to lift their spirits. Your staff members need a strong leader that will make immediate decisions, spread positive vibes, and get them back on track.
Here are a few vital steps to take.
Demonstrate leadership and be honest.
When facing tough times, never mislead your employees. The news about the crisis is going to get out and it’s always better for your staff members to hear it from you. Consult the board, as well as your HR and PR teams to make your public statement straightforward and honest.
Don’t forget that you’re leading by example. If your employees see you panicking, they will panic, too. Stay calm and sound confident. Propose new business ideas and ask your staff for opinions. Your staff members will see your capability of making right decisions in critical moments and leading them towards reaching new business goals.
Learn valuable lessons.
In times of crisis, it’s important to keep your employees happy, preserve a unique corporate culture and improve the collaboration among your team members. Try to minimize animosity among your employees and don’t inspire them to point fingers at their colleagues. Remind them that making mistakes can happen to anyone and that placing blame won’t make things any better. Inspire them to work as a team and learn valuable lessons from these mistakes so they can cope with them effectively in the future.
Nurture customer relationships.
Ironically, when times are hard, many companies decide to stop servicing their customers. Unfortunately, this can only make things worse. Disappointed with the poor service and the lack of your respect for them, even your most loyal customers may decide to leave you. So, instead of avoiding them, you should focus on engaging them, communicating with them regularly, and providing them with valuable services.
One such example is Youi NZ. Despite facing lots of negative press and a great money loss recently, Youi reduced their loss by 41%. One of their greatest moves was to provide affordable insurance options, improve customer experience, and boost their credibility in the industry. Its representatives claim that they’re now focused on “customers, business simplification and continuous improvement.”
Set clear goals and share them with your team.
The fact that you’re going through a tough business year means that something’s wrong with your business strategy. And, when revamping it, you need to set clear objectives. They will give you a clearer vision and make it easier for you to achieve better results. You could use the SMART goal-setting principle, meaning that your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
The next step is to put these objectives into action. This means setting a clear time frame, choosing recovery tactics, and determining who can help you achieve these goals. Knowing where they’re heading, your employees will know what their roles are and be inspired to achieve these goals.
Focus on your revenue.
An effective turnaround usually boils down to one thing and that’s cash flow. This means paying attention to all your investments, clients, and processes and see whether they’re generating or burning money. This means keeping track of your bank balance regularly, measuring return on investment and earnings before interest and taxes, as well as making detailed, long-term predictions that will help you keep your finances healthy and prevent additional cash flow problems. Once you perform the analysis, you will see which strategies to stick to and which ones to improve or eliminate to get back on track.
Find and retain stellar employees.
Let’s face it, chances are you’ll have to change out some of your managers. Such radical changes aren’t caused by their lack of knowledge, authority, or competence. It’s about their inability to accept the changes the company’s going through and give up on the operating philosophy they’ve applied and believed in for years. Even though they’re not doing so on purpose, may block your company’s progress and lessen its chance to overcome the crisis.
Now you need to focus on hiring and retaining ambitious and talented people. It could be those with lots of experience and institutional knowledge that understand your business’ strengths and weaknesses and the importance of making changes. You should also pay attention to those staff members that are not sitting around the table right now, and yet constantly bring value to your organization. Those are ambitious people patiently waiting for their opportunity to express themselves and you need to turn their passion to your business’ advantage.
To retain top talent, you need to keep them satisfied. This means praising and incentivizing them for doing a good job, offering them the opportunity to improve their skills and advance their careers, and creating a friendly and pleasant workplace atmosphere.
Over to you
When running a business, a failure is a part of your life. And, it’s your positive attitude and the willingness to change that determines whether you will survive or not. Just like Winston Churchill said: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
How do you overcome tough times in your business?