While many start-ups do face challenges it can be a real nightmare to try and recover a failing business. Where once you got it all right, now it all seems to be going wrong. What can start as a little slide (in profits or number of customers) can become a frightening day-to-day reality of failure. An inspiring story from our side of the water can provide inspiration.
Rachel’s experience identifies key failings that can happen to any business. In this case an over dependency upon one key customer, and a dependency on external influences to generate current revenues – If you can’t control it you probably can’t fix it! But Rachel turned it around and so can other businesses by taking those early start-up lessons and applying them again to your business. Address those basic questions, such as, Is your business model right, have you got control of your profits/margins and cost base. It might seem over simple but it’s human nature to carry on doing the same comfortable things and expect different results. What Rachel did was face the reality, not despair, and then work out how to fix the problems or move away from them. One way to get some fresh insight into solving your own unique problems is to take a look at how other businesses are shaping and adjusting to their markets. While Rachel’s solution will be unique to her, the way she did it (diversification, new products, new brand) has lessons that can be used in any industry.
It’s not just small business that needs to learn these lessons, big business has to re-invent itself too to stay competitive. Look at Nokia. Once an absolute market leader that lost its way and got eaten up by Apple and Samsung, that has now re-focused, gone through really hard times and is now recovering fast. Look at Blackberry, again market leaders who plummeted and have now re-entered the market with new products more relevant to what the market demands today. It remains to be seen how they do. Look at Boeing’s problems with their 787 Dreamliner. Unexpected, sudden calamities can hit your business. So prepare for them by running an astute business and if they go wrong, do what Rachel did, fix them or move on.