If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because your business isn’t making as much money as you want it to, you can’t seem to get it past the start-up phase, or you want to know what kind of roadblocks are ahead before starting a business. Good thing is, there isn’t some conspiracy working against you and there are always things you could be doing or doing better. While there isn’t a magical formula to running a successful business or growing it, there are simple solutions help move it along.


Your business is NOT not doing well.

This can be a no-brainer for some, but you might just be very impatient. Regularly revisiting your business plans to adjust expectations is key to running a successful business, and to do that, your mindset needs to be on board. No matter how much professional advice you had or how much knowledge you have in business, your initial plans and projections are not the Bible that you need to stick by.

It is likely that you came into some issues in the set-up stage, or found out something about your field that you didn’t know before going into business. All these things count, and any setbacks you come across need to be considered in the big picture plan. After all, you couldn’t have known about or planned for the unexpected roadblocks.

It’s like losing weight or getting into shape. If you planned to go on a 10-week diet at the end of which you will have lost 5 kilos, but you sprained your ankle or had a cold and lost a couple of weeks out of the 10 weeks, would you still have the same due date? Most likely, you would change your plans and goals to suit your situation.

Things have to run their course whether they’re your body or business. Just because it’s not going to your initial plan, it doesn’t mean your business is actually not doing well as long as it is going towards the goal(s).


You are not working in it.

You’ve all heard the phrase, “Work ON your business, not IN it.” This is true; You should work on your business by spending time on marketing, networking, internal structure, processes and so on. However, you cannot be hands-off operationally after a certain stage of the business and only focus on working on the business.

For example, say you have a store that your staff run. You still need to be there regularly and provide support and supervision to the people you have entrusted to run your business. When your staff go on break, look after the counter and greet your guests. Clean up the area and adjust the window display.

You have a vision of how you want the business to operate and the feel and image you want it to have. On the other hand, your employees get paid to do the work that you tell them to do, the way you tell them to do it. So, show them how you want things to be done and set a good example of customer support, cleaning standards and visual merchandising.

Plus, working in the business is the best way to find out what things are working and what needs to be improved. Your employees are likely to just deal with a few things that are inconvenient or could easily be automated. By not knowing what needs to be worked on, you miss out on opportunities to improve and can waste time and money.


You’re not treating your staff well.

One of the biggest costs for your business that could be avoided is recruiting. Not only does it cost a lot of money to hire another employee, your business is pretty much on pause during their training and the first few weeks to months of their employment until they start to really own the work.

Why does it cost a lot to recruit? Most of the time, employees are unhappy for a while before they decide to leave, and then there is another few weeks on top of that for the notice period. During this time, especially after resignation, they’re not putting in as much as they would have and they actually don’t really care. Their lost passion and enthusiasm could cost you money as they may not be treating customers well or not be as productive.

Advertising for an employee can also cost you a little, depending on how you go about it. And once you hire someone, either you or another employee will train the new employee, taking time away from the tasks you could be doing. And as mentioned above, you lose another few weeks to months on top of training until the new staff can be left alone to do their work well.

So, avoid this from happening and reduce your staff turnover rate. Frequent recruitment sets your business back and you just can’t go forward. Treat your staff well by paying them well, providing training and encouragement, and show them that you value them and that you are always willing to invest in upskilling them.


You’re not investing in your business the right way.

It’s really simple. Invest your time, energy and money in your business. No matter how many different cost- and time-saving techniques there are, the truth is that the more you put in, the more you get out. Or you know, “you reap what you sow.”

The important part is whether or not you’re investing in the right way. Are you focusing on the right things? Are you spending a lot of money on Facebook advertising with no real results, when really, you should be focusing on growing your LinkedIn following? Are you wasting too much time writing articles on a daily basis with hardly any readers, when people actually come to your website to look at photos? Ant this leads to our next point…


You’re not looking at reports.

Log what you’re doing, review your finances, utilise Google Analytics reports, see who is clicking what on your website, look at your conversion rates… Read the reports!

People’s eyes tend to glaze over when they look at or even think about looking at reports. The numbers, the lines, the charts… While you might hate it, the more you understand and use the information, the more exciting you’ll find it! If spending time to read and understand the reports could help you grow your business, isn’t it a worthwhile exercise?

For those that hate figures, start with the easiest and most important part: What are you spending? Paying your staff, stocking up on necessary items, and advertising are all really important expenses that you can’t cut out or down. But are you spending too much on IT expenses when you’re running a flower shop? By analysing your expenses, you might find that your 6-year-old laptop is costing too much money to fix on a regular basis and maybe it’s time to buy a new laptop.

Once you’ve done this exercise, move onto the next. How effective are your expenses? While advertising is important, if there is little to no return on investment then you might need to rethink your strategies or move to a different advertising platform.


These are just some of the reasons your business isn’t excelling. The most important things when it comes to business are your mindset (expectations), investment (time, energy, money, skills) and the balance between them all. Try changing one thing at a time and make sure to log what you’re changing, when and how. And notice the positive or negative impacts the changes are having on your business. Repeat this exercise until you find the right balance and get to a stage where you’re no longer operating in the fixing mode.