Once upon a time, a sweet girl decided that it was time to make her passion into her life’s work, and start her own business. She eagerly put together a website (it wasn’t perfect, but it would do!), and began telling everyone she could about her new journey. She landed a few clients, and the people seemed happy, but she never had that moment where everything clicked. The inquiries were minimal at best, and she didn’t know how to turn her dream of running a successful business that she loved into a reality. Check out one disenchanted entrepreneurs story, and learn how to revive a failing business!
Right before I left for vacation, I got email from a overwhelmed business owner. It went like this:
“I’m feeling really frustrated with my catering business, and I just don’t know what to do anymore. I was so ambitious when I first opened my business, but a year in, it hasn’t really taken off. I’m comfortable with my prices, and I think my skill level is on point, but I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to the business side. I guess I didn’t think it through very much, so I think I need to do some back tracking. What can I do to build the business side of my business, and create some buzz?”
This email can be about any business; it’s something SO MANY entrepreneurs struggle with. Often, the first year is the one that makes or breaks a business. The determined business owners push on, and ask for help, while the majority of people give up and go back to working a boring 9-5.
You know that time Kevin Costner said “if you build it, they will come”? It may have worked for baseball, but it certainly does not work for business owners. Reviving a failing business isn’t easy, but don’t worry, having an empty stadium is something we can fix!
Many times, people don’t realize how much work goes into running a successful business, and it can all wind up feeling super overwhelming! Rest assured, you haven’t struck out, not even close! Take a deep breathe, you can do this!
Analyze the situation objectively
If you want to revive your business, it’s important to figure out what aspects of your business are lacking, and why. Many times, the answer lies within working out issues in your personal life. A bad relationship, health issues, a fear of failure…truth is it’s hard to run a business if your mental health is off. If you are in some way holding yourself back from success because of roadblocks you’re not addressing, you absolutely must address those issues. Once you’ve determined that your issues have nothing to do with your personal life, or you’ve worked any kinks out (the best way to do this is to find someone to guide you!), you need to really analyze your business objectively if you want to discover the root of the problem.
First, look at your branding
This is the foundation for your business! What do you want your clients to feel when they work with you? If they visit your website, how can you connect with them in a way that makes them eager to contact you? What type of voice do you want to have on social media? What extras will you give (and how will you package them) that will blow your clients away?
- Find two or three colors that you want to use in your branding
- Choose two fonts, one that you will use as an accent, and one you will use for everything else
- Create a professional, appealing logo that matches your branding
- Make sure every element of your business is aligned. Everything from your voice on Twitter to your email signature should have the same feel!
- Create packaging that reflects your branding
Want me to look at your branding and give you a few hints? I’d love to take a peek! Click here to shoot me an email and we’ll put together a plan!
Next, work on your copy (aka your writing!)
You need to get specific when it comes to who your ideal clients are, so that you can be strategic with the way your copy speaks to them! Writing is hard for a lot of people, but having quality copy will make all the difference in the world.
- Decide who you want to attract, and design your copy around them. What would appeal to them? What are their pain points?
- Copy doesn’t need a lot of fluff. Keep things relatively straightforward, personal, and easy to understand.
- Always be respectful. Sounding like a know-it-all always rubs people the wrong way. Aim to be helpful, not boastful.
- Create attention grabbing headlines, and use larger fonts for the important stuff!
- Break up text into small paragraphs, and bold the things you REALLY want people to read, to make sure they’re getting the best information if they skim your copy.
Make a Marketing Plan
Marketing is something that many people do halfway, and it’s the most important part of running a successful business! You could have an AMAZING website, and wonderful products, but if no one knows they exist, you’re out of luck!
- Let everyone know what you do! Update your work information on your social media pages, and shoot an email to your friends and family reminding them of what you do, explaining a little about your target market and how you can help them, and tell them how much you appreciate them spreading the word! If you’re involved in the community, find ways to work what you do into conversations (when it’s appropriate) and get active in communities where your ideal clients hang out!
- Find a few other business owners that run complimenting businesses and reach out to them about working together. Maybe you just leave some marketing cards at their business, or perhaps you collaborate on a project. Get creative, just be sure you’re providing value to the people you approach.
- Deliver killer customer service to your existing clients, and consider offering a referral program. Clients that bring in more clients are basically the best thing ever.
- Get strategic. You should only be spending time on things that bring you more clients, so if you’ve been using Linkedin but it’s getting you nowhere, consider investing time into learning how to use the platform differently, or move on.
- Always be evolving. Using the same marketing campaigns can get stale to potential clients. By keeping things fresh, you’ll keep that wow factor going, which is key!
Click here to learn how to promote yourself without feeling uncomfortable (because no one likes feeling like a pushy sales person!).
If you just can’t seem to figure out how to make your dreams a reality, investing in your business is key. Take a course, check some books out from the library, hire someone to come in and help you design the business you’re dreaming of. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it! In fact, that’s a sign of strength. The business owners that are too afraid to admit they need help are the ones you’ll see closing up shop and working at the bank teller job that they swore they’d never go back to. Reviving a failing business is something most entrepreneurs are forced with at some point, and in the end, it’s an experience that can greatly boost your success!
In my opinion, it’s always important to be striving for more. So, if you’d rather spend time nurturing your business than reviving it, consider keeping your fingers on the pulse, often! Sit down at the end of each month and look over your numbers. Pay attention to what is working and what isn’t, and always be making adjustments to your plan. It will make a huge difference in the long run!
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