When you have been doing what I do for as long as I have, you frequently run into business owners that are at the end of their rope. Their business is struggling with sales and income being REALLY down, employees are running to new and more secure jobs, payables are climbing, they have used all of their life savings and now they are ready to close the doors.
As I am writing this, I have at least two clients that are in this situation - well they were. So what did we do to begin turning things around??? Before I answer that question let me address the other group that is reading this. Perhaps your business is going great, and you want it to excel even more. The four principles that are shared below will also work for you - but obviously you will apply them differently.
I am going to explain each of these four principles with a real life example. To protect the people that I am referring to I am changing the details but the results are the same. The client is an automobile dealership where they sell new and used cars, do repairs and sell parts to consumers.
Four Problems and Four Principles
Sales Volume is down - Increasing sales volume with NO budget is tricky. To do this you have to spend money in the right way, acquiring clients with the least amount of cost-per-client as possible. I walked my client through the following three questions: 1. Who is your ideal client that buys your cars, gets repairs and purchases parts at your dealership? 2. Where do these consumers hang out? Places, social media sites, music they listen to, etc. 3. What are their needs?
After answering the three questions they discovered the following: 1. Social media is a great avenue to reach new clients and 2. Word of mouth can be effective if they give each client a way to tell their friends and family about them. Both of these ideas have worked extremely well, kept the cost of acquiring a client very low or even free at times, and within a couple of months boosted sales by 50%. Sometimes the best ideas are the tried and true ones.
Employee issues - You can’t blame an employee for wanting to take care of themselves. And when a business is really struggling they will be looking for a parachute. To correct this I coached my client to do three things: 1. Hire like crazy. 2. Fire those that are not committed. 3. Train everyone to do their job and reward them financially when they do. They are now building an incredible team of employees.
Payables and debt issues - With income almost non-existent their payables and debt started to rise; actually getting way out of control. They got behind on their bills and the stress was killing them. I have always found that knowledge is power and knowing what is happening in a business is very important. I asked them to do something difficult - make a list of everyone and every company that was owed. We broke it down and began to pay off these people and debts gradually. I kept reminding them that this mess didn’t happen over night and it will take some time to fix. But with consistent work all of the past due bills are starting to be paid off!
Life savings is all gone - This is the thing that made me engage with this owner and the company. They were all in. The circumstances that caused this mess were not the owners fault but they didn’t run from them. They faced the challenges head on and kept making consistent progress.
With all four steps/actions in full swing they are now seeing sales increase each and every week, new employees are coming on board, the debt is going down and everyone is working their butts off. Stay tuned for a future update and for more testimonials as to how they are continuing to turn things around.