Yes, businesses lose consciousness. Operations fall into a lifeless routine, marketing becomes ineffective, customers trickle away and revenue dries up. It’s the beginning of the end, a prelude to the death of the business. And now that the recession is battering the Nigerian economy, businesses are slipping into a coma every day. Is yours still awake? If it doesn’t look alive, these steps will help you shake things up and give it a new lease on life.
- 1. Refresh your brand.
Staleness is unattractive. Think about it, when have you ever had an appetite for a week-old loaf of bread? Never. In the same way, a brand that has been in the public eye for a while can lose its initial appeal and fade into the background. It’s a noisy world where customers often have multiple options. Make your brand stand out again by presenting it to the public in a new light. Revisit your unique selling proposition. Is it still unique? Do you still have an advantage over your competitors? Take a closer look at your marketing channels. Does your website need a redesign? Are there channels you have not explored? This could be the time to launch a marketing campaign and retake your spot in the limelight.
- Re-energise your staff.
Just like brands, your staff can become stale. It’s natural: doing the same thing in the same way over and over again tends to be mind-numbing. If you can afford it, invest in staff training and development. Beyond giving raises and bonuses, you should help your employees learn new skills to do better at their jobs. Find out what tools they need to improve performance and invest in those as well. You should also consider holding Q&A sessions with staff to help them find their best fit in your business. You might find that some of them will excel in a role other than the one they are currently in.
- Hire the right people.
Certain employees are catalysts, they bring an infectious energy that motivates everyone else and moves your business forward. Find these people, maybe even just one person, and add them to your team. In particular (depending on the nature of your business), look out for the right operations manager and an ideal business development manager. Don’t be afraid to commit money to these kind of hires, they usually pay off in the long run.
- Cut out slack.
Routines can breed inefficiency and you could be too stuck in the motions to notice that your business has lost its edge. Review your business processes, looking out for points where things are unnecessarily slow and resources wasted. While you’re at it, review your business model as well. Can you do anything faster? Can you improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue by moving some things around or trying out new tools? Use free or affordable aids such as apps to increase your operational efficiency. Also, speak to your customers to learn how effectively your business is dealing with their pain points.
- Reconnect with old contacts and make new ones.
Networking and collaboration. These two things bring new customers and help strengthen your business. They both require action; could be making phone calls, sending emails or attending events. Go through your phone. Is there anyone on your list of contacts you can sell to? Ask your staff for a list of your customers. Who has moved on? Reach out to them and re-market your business with the intention of winning them back. Ask your friends and family for referrals. Someone always knows someone who needs your product or service. Fetch your stack of business cards and see who can add value to your business through a collaboration. Attend business events or send your most trusted staff on your behalf. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations. People don’t bite people, generally, and there’s always an opportunity you can take advantage of.
- Learn new skills.
Listen, your personal development is just as important as staff development. Schedule time to read more business books, take online courses (several are free, just run a search) to help you become a better manager, attend relevant conferences, learn how your industry operates and research your competitors. The more you learn, the more efficient you will be at leading your business in the right direction.
Local insights, practical advice and resources to help Nigerian entrepreneurs build and maintain profitable businesses.