Opening the doors to your business can be one of the most exciting days of your life. But, no one ever plans to go out of business when everything is so new and full of promise. However, there are some sure signs that’s where you’re headed, and you need to keep an eye out for them. So, what are the signs your business isn’t working? And, how can you get back on track?

6 Signs your business isn’t working

There are six sure-fire signs that your business is not working the way you’d planned when you started. Take a look to see if you’re ticking any of the boxes. And, learn how to fix them before it’s too late.

1. Your funds are low (or getting low)

The most obvious and alarming way to know your business is failing is when your funds start to dwindle. Without funds, your business cannot grow. And if you can’t grow, you risk losing employees, further development of your products or services, and more.

If you’re not growing the funds in your accounts but you aren’t losing money either, that’s still a problem. Bringing in just enough money to keep your business afloat can cause you to stay stuck. And when you’re stuck, you may see your funds start to drop even more.

How to fix the problem

How do you fix low funds? Make sure you are tracking every penny. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Use accounting software, and get professional help from an accountant. And, do a thorough audit to see where you can cut costs or any unnecessary expenses. With that audit, check out your prices. Are they too high or too low? Can you afford to take a hit by lowering high costs? Or, should you increase your prices?

Take a look at your marketing strategies, too. Do you have a good product but haven’t spent any time advertising? Are a lot of your customers word of mouth? Find ways to get your business out there, including social media (it’s free!). Use the available analytics tools to gauge your preferred audience and target your marketing to them.

2. Employees are jumping ship

There are a number of reasons employees may be leaving your company (e.g., toxicity in the workplace). But, poor employee retention is an indicator that your business could be failing. It’s true that employee turnover is a part of business. However, a high turnover rate could spell trouble for your company.

In the current job market, you can expect turnover to happen more frequently than in years past. As a matter of fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that turnover reached an all-time high in 2020. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be keeping an eye on your business’s turnover rate.

How to fix the problem

So, how do you keep the employees you hire? If you notice higher turnover than usual (even in light of the pandemic), consider:

  • Offering competitive benefits and pay
  • Giving employees a clear career path with your business
  • Hosting small business team-building activities
  • Giving praise, recognition, and encouragement
  • Providing a welcoming environment

Get in front of the problem before it grows. Speak with leadership within your company to create a clear plan for keeping employees.

3. You’re not talking to customers—and you’re losing sales

Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without customers, you can’t earn a profit. And if you’re not talking to customers, your business might be heading down the wrong road.

When you don’t talk to your customers, you might see that sales are slipping. A “slow season” is pretty common. But a slow year? Much less common. No business owner wants to see their slow season become shuttered doors.

How to fix the problem

Fixing dwindling sales can mean having to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Again, consult your budget and see if you have some wiggle room to do things like:

  • Increase your advertising spend
  • Host promotions (e.g., buy-one-get-one deals)
  • Offer coupons
  • Have special sales (e.g., percentage off select items)
  • Organize giveaways

Don’t have room in your budget? You have other options, too. Consider doing the following:

  • Asking customers to provide feedback
  • Volunteering in your community as a business
  • Posting more frequently on social media (and responding to customers!)

Becoming a presence in your community can lead to you being a well-known fixture. And thus, help your business grow and stay on track.

4. You’re making the same mistakes

Business ownership isn’t perfect, and neither are business owners. Everyone makes mistakes. So, it’s important to learn from the mistakes you are making.

If you make the same mistakes over and over again, it becomes the way of doing things. Don’t get careless in the way you run your business. How do you know if you’re making the same mistake? One sign of repetitive mistakes is seeing feedback from customers that all address the same problem. Another sign is that all of your outcomes look the same when you look through your analytics.

How to fix the problem

Be aware of the mistakes and own up to them. Don’t get hung up on the mistakes or beat yourself up. Again, everyone makes mistakes.

Create a game plan to address and fix the problems so you can move forward. Not quite sure where the problems start? Follow the problem all the way back to the beginning and make changes that improve the rest of your business operations.

5. You’re ignoring problems, and they’re just getting bigger

Problems and small fires come with the territory of being a business owner, especially in the beginning. And sometimes, those problems are completely out of your control, like an employee who drops and breaks a company laptop.

Rushing around to fix the problems and put out the fires is not a problem in and of itself. But what about seeing the problems and ignoring them? Well, that is a problem.

How to fix the problem

Pay careful attention to the problems that arise to find the root of all of the problems and nip it in the bud. You might have to do some digging to weed out the real issue. Because chances are, your small issues are causing the bigger problems. By getting to the root, you can potentially extinguish and avoid the problem later down the line.

List out all of the issues you see as they pop up. Determine ways to address and resolve them head-on. Then, plan how to avoid the issues in the future. Eventually, you’ll notice that the problems are less frequent and easily manageable. And when they’re not easily manageable, you have a plan for how to tackle them.

6. You’ve lost your passion

Remember the day you opened your business and felt so excited about starting? Do those seem like the good old days to you now? If so, you might have lost your passion. Long days (and longer nights) can be expected as a business owner. But if you’re spread thin, your health is suffering, or you’re just plain overworked, it’s easy to lose your passion. And when you lose your passion, your business suffers the consequences.

How to fix the problem

Before you can fix this particular problem, ask yourself, Do I want to fix the problem? If the answer is No, it might be time to consider making a change (e.g., stepping down or selling your business).

But if the answer is a resounding YES, take a step back. Think back to the days when you were so excited to start your business. And then, consider ways you might find your passion again. The answer might be taking a small vacation to refuel or divvying up some work to other employees. It might even be as simple as a daily reminder of why you’re in business.

Before you resign yourself to closing up shop, look for ways to reignite your business’s fire. You worked hard to own your own business, so watch out for the signs that your hard work might need redirected.