SAN ANGELO, Texas — Sadly, sometimes we get to meet talented entrepreneurs only when it’s too late to save their failing business.
Often, when business is going smoothly, there is no strong motivation to reach out or ask for help. However, when business is going strong is actually the best time to look for assistance. At that time, you can take steps that take full advantage of your success, and continue that success for as long as possible.
Here are three suggestions for what to focus on when things are going good in your business:
First of all, take a look at pricing. When business is strong is the perfect time to think about your pricing strategy.
Are you actually making enough profit or are you undercutting yourself? Should you charge more or less for certain items? Could your inventory use work? All sorts of pricing issues are best handled before things go south.
Once your business is struggling it might be too late to change prices, and then drastic price changes might only hurt business more. It’s best to be able to change your prices gradually (if needed).
Second, work on your marketing. Get creative! This is a great time to try new strategies and also to take a hard look at the strategies you have in place.
Something must be working, right? You can work on pinpointing those practices that give you the most return on investment and cut those that aren’t giving the results you want. Also, this might be a great time to work on building brand loyalty to keep new and existing customers coming back.
Lastly, in good times, you can plan for growth. Surprisingly, many businesses fail not only because of lack of business, but because of too much business.
Not preparing for growth can lead to unhappy clients, missed opportunities, loss in product or service quality, and overworked and unhappy employees. Planning for growth can be one of the most valuable steps you can take as a business owner during good times.
So who should you look to for help? There is a common misconception of who the Small Business Development Center helps. Let me say for the record that we are here to help all stages of businesses. This includes the business “seed” (or new, developing business idea), newly established businesses, existing businesses, struggling businesses, growing businesses, businesses at the buy/sell stage … you get the idea. We’re here to help businesses at any stage.
We know it’s not easy to start or run a business. Entrepreneurs and small business owners should take comfort in knowing they’re not alone. The Small Business Development Center and many other local economic partners are devoted to helping our local businesses succeed.
Even when business is thriving, consider meeting with an ASU Small Business Development Center business adviser (did I mention it’s free and confidential?) or searching out other business assistance. Sure, you can celebrate. But don’t forget to take this time to focus on business planning so you can continue to see your business succeed for years to come.
“Business Tips” was written by Jessica Lambert, Business Development Specialist and Certified Training Coordinator of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at Jessica.Lambert@angelo.edu.