If you are an entrepreneur or business owner and you are seeing this post, I want you to read it and let me know your opinion. Pre-pandemic or post, before digitization or now, there has always been unaddressed issues that you as an entrepreneur face.
One of the biggest issues with SMEs I am seeing these days is they don't seek help when the time is right. Every business goes through troubles and challenges. The first step to solve that issue is to accept there is a problem and the rest would follow.
You would have seen 1000s of #LinkedIn posts about someone losing jobs and asking for help to get another. But have you seen an entrepreneur saying I lost 5 contracts because of COVID, would highly appreciate your support to connect me with XYZ industries? I bet you would have seen any.
The problem is not only with the entrepreneurs, it is with the way people have been treating two different segments. A person losing a job is fine, but an entrepreneur losing a business is a crime. People would not open up or share their challenges, they would not seek help when the time is right and everything goes for a toss.
They are afraid as their employees would lose faith, they are afraid as their investors would raise more concerns, they are afraid their existing clients may get scared.
Would you as a businessman seek help when the time is right or would you let it pass and let your ship sink? I would prefer to be the former one.
The bigger problem lies within the ecosystem, we don't support businesses that are dying, investors don't put money in the sinking ships, and clients don't trust suppliers with bad cashflow problems.
It becomes a chicken and egg situation and everything starts to fall apart. So what should we do? What could be a solution?
- Accept and acknowledge there is a problem! - Seek help with the existing shareholders (don't go out in the first step if you can get things right with your existing partners & clients) - Don't get emotional with anything, calculate profits & losses & say no to bad clients, bad employees, bad products, bad ideas & everything that has an effect on your overall performance. - Don't try to be a master of everything, we can't be, seek help from consultants, re-structure everything. - You can't afford to stop selling in any situation, you need to strengthen your marketing & sales processes, optimize things with digital tools and channels. - Digitization is the key, spend money on tools that can enhance the productivity of your existing resources & get more done with less. - Hire a consultant for any specific areas of business.
After working in marketing & technology services for a period of 13 years, I have come across 100s if not thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners who are struggling to grow their sales. One of the common mistakes that I see them making is not being ready to take the pain of investment to drive their expected numbers.
They have a huge burn rate with their operations, a huge cost with their existing service team but they are not ready to make any investment in marketing that would actually help them drive leads and sales.
The reason for quoting this example is not to ask you to come and start advertising, but to be fair to yourself, ask the right questions and make the right decisions that can help you drive your business better.
Every problem has a solution, and every problem is an opportunity to optimize things for a better future.