How to Make the Most of Your Dying Business without Closing It

Dying businessYou thought about your business days and night, 24/7. It’s good when your business prosper – It’s hell if your business is ailing.

You did whatever you can as an owner to save your business: You did a huge marketing campaign to push your business up, you downsized some of your worst performing employees. You worked hard to reduce overheads. You tried to find other income venues – to keep your business’ ends meet.

But still, your business were dying – sales declined, profit dropped, customer just didn’t want to come.

Worse, your local area development committee decided to make the two-way road in front of your business location into one-way road only. Bad, bad for your business.

Even more worse, this year recession hits all aspect of human life – that’s including a business.

Eventually, you have to face it – your business fails. Or, to make you feel worse, you fail as an owner.

No, no – don’t tie a big rock on neck and throw it down the river – running away from failures are so not entrepreneur :) And not a gentleman or a lady is suppose to act.

Come on, now. Get your head straight up and cool down – there are ways to make the most of your dying business without closing it.

Sell it with dignity

Don’t close your business down – that’s not good for you, your ego, and the community where your business resides. Selling it is a better idea. Chances are, your business will prosper under a new management team and owner.

This doesn’t mean you are a bad, bad owner.

Businesses are complex – they can run well under a certain management style, and a failure under other management style. And to complicate things, businesses in a similar niche with the same performance can perform differently when managed under a certain type of owner.

Run your business like usual, full force. Find potential buyers and state your problems wisely, as well as the opportunity your business still have.

If you decided to use a business brokerage service, I have one word of advice – Don’t rely too much to a business broker, because no one knows your business better than you.

Relocate it

Relocation is expensive, but sometimes a good solution.

The problem with this relocation thing is, that when your business dying, you – the owner – is usually experience a financial strain. Unless you borrow from relatives or financial institutions, often you can’t afford the relocation.

Moreover, no one can guarantee that by relocating to other location, you are guaranteed a success.

Although I seem against the idea of relocation, it has certain perks – relocation tells your customers that you are having other options to serve them better. And, your business name is well preserved :)

Break your business into pieces, and spread the pieces around on better location

I view this as a better solution than a conventional relocation I mentioned before.

Your business is usually run two or more type of products or services. Businesses that adopt multi-product approach usually have one problems – you are so diverse, that visitors think your business is a general store. And being general, today, is not good.

For example, you own an ailing business service center offering internet access, printing, package delivery, stationeries and other business supports. You can salvage the most of it by doing this – open an internet cafe in one location and open an office supply store in other location.

Even if you are only selling one product, you are actually have more than one type of business.

For example, you sell donuts. Business is not good, so you decide to break your business in two parts and two different locations – a donut sales and production part, and a marketing part (free donuts, flyers, business cards, and so on).

Doing this, your business can be saved and even prosper better.

Close your on site operation, and outsource all activities to others

I never done this, but it seems a sound idea :)

For example, you have a printing company. If your business has problems, it’s usually because your overhead is killing you, while your revenue is on downward trend.

The solution I propose: Reduce your business’ overweight and cumbersome loads (too many departments, too many inter-personal problems, etc.) and outsource your printing order to other.

While this will result in a much smaller profit margin, but your overhead is significantly lower. And, while doing so, your business still have its name on the local community. Wonderful, isn’t it?

The downside, is that your business loss most of its tangible asset. But the trade off is, you get more intangible asset – which, to me, is much, much better than the tangible ones.

How to know what is the best solution for your business

Your best bet is to ask someone that has been in your shoes before – and succeed.

One, final, advice – Don’t ask someone that experienced business failure before but never recovered from it. He/she usually has a negative attitude about entrepreneurship and will talk you out to close your business and get a job. And, believe me, you’ll end up being one of the bitter people club. Seriously, you don’t want that to happen in your life!

Ivan Widjaya
Recession survivor