It takes great courage to acknowledge failure.
But when your business strategy isn't working, crossing your fingers and hoping for a turnaround won't improve the situation. Sometimes the best strategy is to stop and take a fresh look at a new approach.
Even the most well-crafted business strategy can't guarantee success in the marketplace. But unfortunately, when a strategy fails to achieve its stated goals some business owners resist making adjustments until it's too late. In an ever-changing business environment, you can't afford to set anything in stone – including your business strategy. If your business strategy is failing to deliver the goods, here are some common-sense tips to help you get back on track.
Schedule Regular Evaluations
If your strategy is flawed, you need to know about it as soon as possible. But that's not going to happen unless you schedule evaluations at regular intervals. Each evaluation should be based on quantitative benchmarks and should include multiple perspectives from within the business.
When it comes to business strategies, the line between optimism and fantasy is easily blurred. At times, the temptation to make decisions based on a best-case scenario can be overwhelming. But since you can't afford to wear rose-colored lenses when your strategy isn't working, you need to intentionally inject a strong dose of realism into your assessment.
Many business owners develop a strong attachment to their business strategy. After all, the reason they adopted in the first place was because they thought it offered their best chance for growth and profitability. But the bottom line doesn't lie, so when your strategy fails to produce the results you had hoped it would achieve, it's time to cut the cord, accept your losses, and move on to a more effective strategy – even if that means setting aside a strategy that appeals to you personally.
Stay Tuned to the Marketplace
Businesses don't exist in a vacuum. Sometimes business strategies fail simply because the marketplace itself has changed. If you lock yourself in a room and attempt to adjust your strategy without taking into account conditions in the marketplace, your new strategy will be doomed from the start. Instead, begin the process by gathering data about the marketplace (including the current competitive environment) and create your new strategy accordingly.
If you find yourself faced with the prospect of creating an entirely new business strategy, don't be afraid to get creative. A strategy that is restricted to the confines of past strategies will be limited in its ability to achieve new results. The sky's the limit, so gather a team, put on your thinking caps, and start thinking outside the box.
Seek Outside Perspectives
Lastly, it's important to solicit outside perspectives in assessing the effectiveness of your current business strategy and devising a new strategy to meet the current demands of the marketplace. Since business owners are often too close to the situation to see the big picture, the more perspectives you can garner the better.