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Your business is struggling.
Your once exciting job is starting to feel worthless and unrewarding.
Your stress levels have sky-rocketed and placed strain upon your important relationships.
In this time of turmoil, it is vital that you take care of yourself: professionally and personally,
Change your product and marketing strategy
Let’s face it – what you’re doing isn’t working.
It’s time to get creative about your business direction and try something new. Maybe you could release a new product or start a Facebook competition. You could even look at changing your branding to appeal to a different target market.
A good starting point for this business analysis is to look at your competitors. How are they successful? What are they doing that you aren’t?
Once you have this knowledge under your belt, think about what sets you apart. How can you use these proven strategies in a way that reflects the identity of your business?
Don’t be afraid to roll the dice with a new idea. At this point, you have nothing to lose.
Build your network
If you are struggling to maintain a consistent client base, why not tap into someone else’s?
Invest serious effort into reaching out to businesses whose values align with your own. Go on an email spree to connect with like-minded organisations or join a networking community that resonates with you.
Forming strategic partnerships gives you the opportunity to co-market and gain credibility simply by your affiliation with another recognised business.
Connecting with other businesses will also allow you to learn from the experience of others and give you ideas for expanding your own offerings.
Evaluate your personnel
It goes without saying that if there isn’t enough business to support your current level of staff, it’s time to let an employee go.
But there may also be areas of your business that could benefit from the addition of team member. Are you spending excessive time on a task that you could outsource? Maybe admin duties keep you chained to the desk rather than out in the field drumming up business. In this case, a virtual assistant may be an affordable and efficient way to free up your time and maximise your income.
Although it may seem illogical to take on another expense, the right people for the job will quickly pay for themselves.
Talk to your creditors and service providers
Ignoring an outstanding repayment won’t make it disappear. In the event that you will be unable to cover a bill, contact your lender or service provider to negotiate a payment plan.
This is particularly important if the creditor has security over an asset, like your car or your house. Defaulting on your repayments may entitle them to collect that asset as compensation.
When it comes down to it, honesty is the best policy.
Most reputable companies have an appointed hardship officer who is available to arrange an alternative payment agreement. You may agree on a “half now, half later” payment plan with your electricity provider or negotiate a postponed loan repayment with your bank.
At the very least, there is no harm in asking.
Visit the ASIC website to learn more about the role and abilities of a hardship officer.
Get some mental distance
You are pouring every ounce of your energy into keeping your struggling business afloat.
Now more than ever, you need to create some downtime to refresh and re-energise.
Rather than staring at that excel spreadsheet for the third night this week, close your emails, set your phone to voicemail and make a cup of tea. Spend time with family or head to a friend’s place for a drink.
Stepping away from your business concerns mentally will give you a fresh perspective and increase your ability to problem solve.
More importantly, it will remind you that there is more to life than business and money. While a struggling business is a huge concern in anyone’s books, it certainly could be worse.
Lean on your support network
Excessive stress is unhealthy – both physically and mentally. Although you may feel that your business shouldn’t be another person’s problem, you don’t have to face it alone.
Ease the burden you are carrying by talking to the people you trust about your feelings and insecurities.
They will provide you with sympathy, inspiration and give you the strength to push through.
Don’t take it to heart
At the end of the day, business of all shapes and sizes experience slow periods. You aren’t the first person to face this obstacle, and you certainly won’t be the last.
Don’t let a struggling business destabilise your self-esteem. It’s not a reflection on you or your value as a person – sometimes things just don’t pan out.
Stick to your guns. Believe in yourself. Always remember that you are more than your work.