In my 30+ years working with small business owners, I have found there are two main reasons that a business ends up struggling to survive.
The first is a failure to understand that everything the owner hates or is going wrong in their business, they caused! Most business owners pay lip service to this but don’t truly understand it.
They are quick to give excuses because that is much easier than taking responsibility for their struggles and failures. During good times, like we had before 2007/2008, money was easy to get, people were spending, and just about everyone was making money. Since then, I have spoken to many clients who have seen their sales drop to the point where they can’t survive any longer or they are just barely holding on, hoping for a miracle in order to survive. They all have excuses. The two most common excuses are:
- Customers aren’t buying! True, but I have clients in every industry who are doing well. For instance, 10 out of the 13 truckers I did tax returns for in 2007 are out of business now. But three did survive, and two of them are making good money. What did they do differently? Why did they have time to develop a new market in this economy?
Most of my retail clients have experienced a loss in sales of about 30 to 50 percent. Yet I have other retail clients who are showing steady increases and making a nice profit. What did they do differently? Why are they expanding their marketing in this economy?
- I can’t hire good employees! A variation of this is, “I don’t have time to do the things I need to do to improve my business! I am too busy!” My answer to this is always the same: Your competitors do! They have good, well-trained employees. They have time to develop new product lines and increase their marketing, which has replaced their lost customers.
The clients that are doing well all have one thing in common: They take responsibility for their actions and don’t accept excuses! When the rules change, they react. In fact, many of them anticipate and plan.