Entrepreneurs put their hearts and souls into their startup business. You work hard, so you expect results. However, life does not always work out that way. Sometimes, no matter what you do, things will not go the right way for you. When do you need to change your approach? In addition, when should you give up and tackle a new challenge instead? Perhaps you just need to give it a bit more time.
It is difficult to know the best course of action. It does not necessarily mean you have done anything wrong when a business fails to take off. Timing and other environmental factors will always pose a risk to your success. There is a chance that the success or failure of your business is the least of your worries right now. You have invested your time and cash into this startup. If you are not earning money from other sources, you might be running out of funds to keep going.
If you are finding you are now struggling to make ends meet, then it is essential you take action now. Whether you continue to push on with your business or not, you still need to put food on the table and keep the roof over your head. You need to complete several tasks to help you to cope when things are tight. Start with these first ones, and then you can decide what to do about the business when you are more secure:
How Much Do You Spend?
Start by analyzing how much money you are actually spending right now. You might choose to find the average over a number of months. If you know that your current spending is pretty close to what you’re likely to spend next month, then you could just start with that. Compare the figure you’ve got to your actual income. If your only income is from your business, then you need to be honest with yourself. What are you actually bringing in? Forget your forecasts and look at the cold, hard, figures you have so far achieved.
The amount you spend can be found on saved receipts, bank statements, and credit or store card statements. Using these can help you identify what it is that you buy. You might find purchases for clothes and shoes. Perhaps you buy a few coffees out each week. Do you go to the movies or the bowling alley? There might be a gym subscription, stationery purchases, TV and broadband packages and car costs there.
Avoid shopping for non-essentials. Photo source
It’s worth making a spreadsheet and categorizing all of your spending. This helps you to clearly see where your money is going. You’ll be able to clarify what you spend on food and heating. You’ll be able to tally up all those salon bills and healthcare services. This exercise might take you an afternoon, but it will offer you greater clarity of your finances. It is also essential for the next step.
Now you know what you spend, and where that cash is going, you can stop. Anything that isn’t essential needs to be cut. Things that could be done cheaper should also be introduced. You might make your coffee and lunch at home to take with you. You might avoid the sales at your favorite clothing store. Moreover, you might even choose a cheaper salon for your hair. Picking own-brand instead of big-brand can also save you a lot of money.
Frugality can be very hard at first, but if you can save many cash right now, it will help you out until the business improves. Look at all your subscriptions. TV services, gyms, magazines, and phone can all be cut back to basic packages. You might be able to switch suppliers for some of these things and all your energy bills too. This can reduce your outgoings substantially.
Have you looked at all your credit, loans and debts? If these outstanding amounts are taking their toll, do not ignore them. You might have a car loan, credit cards, store cards, and personal loans from the bank. Maybe there is an overdraft or two there as well? If you cannot realistically cover this and all your other outgoings, you must contact each of the companies. You need to make arrangements to manage the problem.
You might consider a consolidation loan to cover the debts. This might reduce your monthly payment. It might also provide you with a lower interest rate than some of your store or credit cards. You might contact debtconsolidationloans.com to find out more about this type of loan. You need to determine if the total amount repayable is less than what you might end up owing if you do nothing. Debts and debt collectors add to your stress. That’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to turn around your business.
Are We Nearly There Yet?
By now, you should have a much lower budget than you’ve been spending. This is your target, and it should be achievable, even if it is a challenge. Now compare this budget figure to your actual income. Can you cover it with what the business is bringing in? If you can’t, it’s time to figure out how to bring more money in each month. You have a number of options. It’s up to you if you want to try any of them out. You might have preferences for one idea over another, depending on your current situation.
Bringing In the Money
The most obvious way to get money is to earn it. You might take on some freelance work or paid employment. A temping recruitment agency is often the best and fastest way to get paid work fast. You need an up to date resume that sells your skills quite broadly. You might not be in a position to be fussy about the type of work you get. Choose the agency that has a specialization in the area you think you might be most likely to find work.
Some of the most in-demand roles include customer services, reception or administration duties, retail, and caring. If you have experience or qualifications in any of these areas, you might choose to pursue these posts. They might not be what you want to do all day every day forever. However, they can bring in enough cash to cover what you owe and help you get back on your feet.
Now you’ve propped up your finances for a while, it’s time to figure out what to do about your business:
Fixing Your Business
There are lots of reasons why a startup might not be doing as well as you forecast. It’s important to check there is a demand for the products or services you sell before you start. Sure, it’s competitive out there, but if you want a chance to run your own business, you need to determine your idea is viable before you start. Can you clearly define your mission statement, your customer persona, and your unique selling point? Sometimes we get so engrossed in what we’re doing that we miss these key requirements.
Marketing your startup is essential. Can you detail how customers find your business? Can you clarify why they need the service or product you provide? Moreover, do you have a solid sales funnel marketing plan to help leads convert to customers? You must have a marketing strategy in place as well as a full marketing plan and campaign schedule. This will help you stay focused and continue the never-ending task of making your brand known.
With your marketing plan in places, you might have aligned your product or service proposition a little better to it. Focusing on your strengths and the customer’s needs can help you refine your offering. Highlight your most attractive qualities that are better than the competition. You need to give plenty of reasons why your customers should choose you rather than another brand.
Confidence to Continue
Now you’ve been able to tweak your offering and your reach, you need to give your confidence a boost to continue the business. Consider investing in your education and training. Developing new skills that can help you achieve more in the business world is a good way to increase your confidence. The more qualifications you hold, the more customers will have trust in your abilities to deliver.
Sometimes all it takes is that one lucky break to get that first big customer. However, you can’t afford to sit around and wait for it to happen to you. Be proactive. Get up and get out there. Write letters and emails to all the people you want to be your client. If you need customers, then start with the people in your neighborhood. Find them, talk to them, and offer your services. It might be a numbers game. If you’re generating leads from 1% of your contacts, then you need to contact 100 people just to get one. So start writing. Aim to reach out to ten people every day. Within two weeks, you should have a lead. Want more? Write more and write more often! Good luck.