You’re tired. You’re angry and frustrated. Employees keep leaving and those who remain are less than enthusiastic about staying. You are working your tail off to add new customers. You continue to cut costs, but just can’t seem to get profits up to where you’d like them.
You’re thinking about throwing in the towel, cashing out and starting over. If you truly have viable products and services, you might not want to go nuclear just yet.
Here are 5 things you can do that will add new life to your tired business.
Practice the ART of business
ART = Articulate, Revise, Track.
Articulate what you want. Revise your plans as you go. Track your progress.
So many businesses come and go without ever having practiced the ART of business. If nothing else, you should do so for these basic, foundational keys to success.
- Vision – How you see things out into the future
- Mission – What you do
- Purpose – Why you do it
Set value-based vs profit-driven goals
Are you doing it because you love it? Are you doing it because it’s a family tradition? Are you doing it for the money? It may be a combination of things.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing it for the money, but there is a wrong way to go about it – by focusing solely on the money. I subscribe to the school of thought that if you focus on the other things, like bringing value to your many stakeholders, the money follows. Here is a quick order of business to do just that:
- Focus on Social Responsibility – it leads to…
- Focus on higher Employee Engagement – it leads to…
- Focus on higher Customer Engagement – it leads to…
- Higher Sustainability and Profit
Define “Success” on your own terms
Don’t let anyone tell you what YOUR success should look like (unless that someone is me…kidding). Success is personal. Define it on YOUR terms. To do so, work on identifying:
- Long, medium and short term goals and objectives
- The actions necessary for achieving them
- A priority order for tackling them
Define employee incentives that they can control or influence
There is not much that is less motivational than defining incentive plans that are unachievable, either because they were right out of the gate or because you keep moving the bar. Equally as bad is defining incentive plan objectives that are completely outside of the control of the employees.
The goal is to incentivize behavior that will help the business or organization achieve its objectives, goals and vision.
That said, consider a 3-tiered incentive program that incorporates 3 major components:
- Individual targets
- Team/functional area targets
- Organizational targets
Up your social media and online game
The vast majority of U.S. consumers conduct some form of online research before making a purchase – no matter what kind of business you have. So, you have to have an online and social presence. The best advice I can give you is not to try to do this on your own and shop around for assistance. There are a lot of “professionals” out there more than happy to help you part ways with your money, so be careful.
Whatever you do, have a little fun with it. Here are a few online things you can do to step up your game:
- Run ads and specials online
- Conduct giveaways
- Recognize individual customers on a regular basis (with their approval)
- Write regular, informative blogs posts
- Provide links to valuable or interesting information
- Push quick “Did you know…” tidbits that don’t necessarily have anything to do with your business specifically
- Be personal – share things from your life and the lives of your employees (with their approval)
The good news is we have tools that can help. My book, Business is ART, gets in to all of this and more. Start with it, available at Amazon and several other resources. Then follow our progress on the beta test of Plan Canvas, the business planning software based on Business is ART.
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