If for some reason things just aren't working out the way you want them to in your business, it can be really hard to clearly figure out what the issue is. And when I say, "things aren't working out" I really mean you simply aren't selling as much as you want to or perhaps need to.
When I've been working with a client who has this issue, I have a simple checklist of potential issues and we work our way through them. Generally it doesn't take too long to work out what the problem is, and of course once identified, it seems ridiculously obvious.
I have five key areas that we dissect, based on my belief that if you aren't selling enough, it could be your product, your pricing, your people, your place or your pitch, or a combination of all five. To explain a little more:
1. Product - is what you are selling still in demand? Has your market moved on whilst you play catch up? Have you got a product or a service that nobody wants, even though you are convinced that everyone wants it? Or do you simply need to repackage or re-purpose your product or service to make it more appealing?
2. Price - is your pricing wrong? Has something changed in your market that has had an impact on what people will pay? Is there are new cheaper competitor in town? Is your product or service generally getting cheaper across the board yet your prices are not reflecting this? Are competitors offering a different pricing structure (not necessarily cheaper pricing) that is more appealing to your customers?
3. People - is your market changing? Are you customers evolving due to any number of reasons, yet your offering is not changing? Alternatively, who are the key people in your business? Has something changed that could account for the poor sales? Do you need more people? Is your service being negatively impacted because you are too busy yet you don't want to put on more staff - so your customers are getting frustrated and going elsewhere.
4. Place - has something happened in the area where you operate? This might be the closure of a big business, making people more concerned about spending. Or is this a seasonal downturn that you are yet to see as a regular pattern that you have to allow (think of tourist towns weathering winter). Or is it more localized - to the point where road conditions have changed and now it's much harder for people to access your premises?
5. Pitch - and last but not least, is your sales pitch losing its relevance? Perhaps the key points or competitive advantages that you are promoting is no longer that appealing to your market? Has it become beige whilst other, newer and more exciting businesses have opened, enticing your customers away?
Regardless of whether or not you are addressing an issue in your business, these are five important topics for consideration and discussion on a regular basis. We need to be very open minded, self reflective and aware of what is going on around us to really get the benefit from addressing these big topics.