The only thing we can be sure of in life and business is change.
It’s unavoidable, and it’s what so many of us fear, because of its uncertainty and unpredictability.
Preparing for this as business owners are our job because if we don’t remain fluid in ourselves and our path forward, we risk running ourselves into the ground by being out of touch with consumers and their needs.
There are many things that drive small businesses towards reinvention. These can range from personal desires to accommodate a shift in your personal life and spend more time with your family, to the market shifting, your customer base changing, or even you feeling stagnant with where your business is today.
Sometimes, you don’t particularly want to reinvent your business, but you know that you must in order to survive.
So, how can you tell it’s time to switch things up?
Here are 6 signs your business is in need of reinventing.
Your income is slowing down
Have you noticed sales and your income declining steadily, or even rapidly over the past few months or years?
Is this decline out of line with your competitor’s sales, and the market?
If the fall has only occurred over the past few months, it could simply be a blip or be linked to a recent event or shift in the economy. However, if you’ve witnessed this fall over the past few years, then this is a strong sign that something in your business isn’t working.
Perhaps your product is missing the mark, you’re aiming it at the wrong customers, or your price points are off. Take some time to sit down with your team and find the root of the problem.
Competitors are edging ahead of you
If you’re noticing your competitors slowly but surely edge ahead of you, and take business from you, it’s because they’re offering something to their customers that you’re not. This could be related to your product, but it could also be a number of other things.
For example, how on point is your customer service? How smooth is your shopping experience? Are you offering your customers high quality and good value for their money? Are your marketing campaigns on point, and are you being creative with your social media accounts?
If you used to be a leader in your market, and you’ve had the rug pulled out beneath your feet, these are questions you need to be asking yourself and reinventing your business operations accordingly.
You keep making excuses for why you’re not changing
You know how it’s never the right time to have a baby? Well, business works exactly the same way. There’s never a right time to start a business, and there’s also never a right time to reinvent yourself and head in a new direction.
If you’ve found yourself looking back in hindsight and regretting not taking risks and embracing technology when other businesses have; while making excuses for doing so and convincing yourself why you did the right thing, that’s a sign you’re in denial.
If you’re looking for reasons why something’s a bad idea, you’ll always find them. But the same goes for when you’re looking for reasons why it’s a great idea. So how about you start looking for those instead?
What used to work for you is now failing
Maybe the adverts you used to run in newspapers and magazines have stopped working for you. Maybe the offerings you have are being outshone by your competitor’s ones. Maybe the sales conversion you used to get through organic posts on social media has declined dramatically over the past year.
Whatever the case may be, the reality is what used to work for you in business no longer is, and that’s a solid sign that you need to do something different in order to get things back on track.
It’s okay to face up to the fact that something’s disconnected, and needs re-aligning. When you sign up to running your own business, you sign up to failing over and over again; throwing pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks, even though most of it won’t. But always remember, this doesn’t make you a failure.
Staff members are not growing, and have become stagnant
When you look around at your team and start to see them lose interest or become stagnant, it’s because something has veered off course in your business between the time they joined you and now.
Think back to how things were when they first joined you. What was different between then and now?
If you’re struggling to put your finger on it, having an honest conversation with your staff members is a great way to go. Check in with them and get their thoughts on what’s going on, and why they feel like they’re no longer growing in the business.
All signs are telling you to change
In just 30 years, we’ve become entirely connected as a world, seen computers and smartphones become necessities in our everyday lives, and many business giants close their doors because they’ve failed to evolve with these shifts and listen to what their customers want.
The rate at which technology is advancing is only speeding up, and AI is set to become a key part of how businesses manage in the near future.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you will have been witness to these shifts in the way we live, consume, and do business. If the signs are telling you to change, it’s time to stop ignoring them and burying your head in the sand.
Always listen to your gut instincts — in life and in business — because they’ll never steer you wrong.
These are all solid signs to switch directions and reinvent your business, but it’s important to be practical too. With a change, comes risk. So you must ask yourself, how much of a risk are you currently able and willing to take in your business?