Every business reaches a point where they struggle with an issue that could spell disaster if not treated properly. Each of the items on this list are sure signs that there is an underlying problem with your business. Identifying each of these could mean the difference between success and failure for your business, so keep a vigilant eye to ensure none of them significantly impact your company.
1) High customer churn rate
Customer churn is the rate at which customers are abandoning your business. If your customers aren’t sticking around, then there is a definite sign that you are not providing them with a positive experience. People will generally stay with a company they purchased from in the past, unless they are given a reason to switch. If they decide not to repeat their purchase, then that is a failure of the company to meet customer expectations.
2) Declining sales
Clearly if your business is losing sales, then there is a weak value proposition being offered to customers. Is the product no longer competitive in the market? Have you priced your service out of the market? There are a multitude of reasons that could cause this decline, but it is a sure sign your business is struggling to maintain market share.
3) Marketing campaigns are not generating sales
Marketing is an art as much as it is a science, and can significantly contribute to your company’s bottom line. It is imperative that the messaging and branding is relatable to the customer segment and conveys a clear message. If you provide a clear value proposition that eases the pain points of the customers then you will drive purchases of your products or services.
4) Stagnant social media engagement
Think about your brand interactions on social media… The companies you’ve followed/liked/retweeted are all companies in which you had a strong belief. This is no different than how customers perceive your own business. If you are not generating customer engagement on social media, then you are not relating to them in a meaningful way.
5) Your payables are increasing
If a company is struggling to maintain their bills then there are a multitude of reasons that this could be happening. It could be that the cost of goods has risen, or that the pricing has not been continually adjusted to reflect rising operational costs, etc. Without remaining vigilant of how money is being utilized within a company then it is easy to have creeping costs that eat into your margin.
6) Employees aren’t sticking around
An employee has a vested interest in staying gainfully employed since it guarantees a reliable source of income. No one wants to lose their financial stability unless they can no longer cope with a toxic work environment or are no longer feeling appreciated. A company that is struggling to keep employees clearly has some internal issue that need resolved.
7) Physical location in disarray
A company’s physical location has a huge impact on brand perception. It is an indication of their attention to detail, their branding, and financial health. If there are holes in the walls, signage in disrepair, product strewn all over the ground, then it sends a message to your customers that you don’t care or don’t have the financial means to care. You want customers to feel like your business is an efficient and well-oiled machine.
8) Difficulty securing financing
Banks are generally open to providing financing for companies that are in operation with existing sales. If your company is struggling to find financing from banks then clearly they do not believe that there is a high likelihood of your business being able to repay the loan. If a bank identifies you as insolvent, there is a strong indication that you will soon be declaring bankruptcy unless drastic actions are taken to correct the issues causing your financial problems.
9) Increasing costs
A business must maintain costs to ensure that they are receiving the best margin possible to manufacture their products. Although 5-10% may sound insignificant to most, this kind of cost savings can drastically improve a business’ performance in the long run. That money could be reinvested into production, inventory, upgrading equipment, hiring new employees, etc. Operational waste can slowly deteriorate a company if it is not kept in check.
10) Ineffective leadership
Last but definitely not least, a company is only as effective as its leadership. Company culture, brand strategy, future product development are all decisions made by a company’s leadership. If there is no clear vision from the top, then employees cannot be nearly as effective as leadership with a clear vision. The first step is to identify the lapses in quality leadership, and then decide how to best fix the identified problems.