No matter how much thought, research and energy you put into your business, sometimes the stars don’t seem to align and things just don’t work out the way you imagined. Especially in those first couple of months!
I remember my first online business. What a train wreck. It took me nearly 9 months just to get it together enough to get my website up. It was all a massive learning curve and when I did finally get the website running I got discouraged when the sales didn’t come flooding in.
What! Starting a business is hard work and takes time?
Apparently! And how lucky for us there are all sorts of problems that can give your confidence a big ol’ kick in the ass.
To me, 4 of the biggest issues new busines face are;
- low sales or NO sales
- low profit margin
- you have no time for anything but the business
- you’re feeling like a big failure
First thing to remember. It really is PERFECTLY NORMAL to have one or more (or all) of these problems at some point in your business, especially when your just starting out.
But the key is to take action and not dwell on what is going wrong. What can you do to bring things back happy?
PROBLEM – No Time?
A business that takes up all of your time is not going to be fun for anybody (see “You’re Not Happy” below).
Do you have a plan to manage your time every single day? Do you actually stick to it?
1. Take it back to basics
2. Keep track of what your spending your time on
3. Pay particular attention to how long each task takes
4. Start scheduling your days the night before
5. Stick to your schedule 80-90% of the time
TRY THIS – for two weeks minimum and you should start to feel like you are in control of the clock and not the other way around.
PROBLEM – Low or No Sales
Ugh, I hate low sales. Nothing can bring you crashing down from your high “I just worked my butt off, my business is now up and running, woohoo!” And then no one buys your stuff. Or just your mom does…
Take an objective look at everything you are doing to attract and convert your customers.
- Have you optimised your selling platform? If you have an Etsy store, take a look at it from a customer perspective and tell me – would YOU buy anything from your store???
- Are your prices competitive?
- Are your postage costs competitive?
- Are you getting your products in front of enough people?
- Are you working consistently to grow your business and not just spending an hour on it, here and there or when you get a chance?
TRY THIS – Most of all, patience is the key here. Keep making tweaks and improvements to your processes. And don’t give up!
PROBLEM – Low Profits
First of all, do you know what your figures are? Are you keeping track of your numbers? Do you know your expenses, income, profit etc? If not, you need to be tracking that, asap.
If you are tracking your numbers and have noticed that your profit is low it could mean a few things
1. your margins aren’t high enough
2. your item is too expensive to make; or
3. the market doesn’t want to pay what the item is really worth
Number 3 can be brutal but it’s important to be honest with yourself. Perhaps you need to alter your product or change it altogether?
TRY THIS – Look at your expenses and see where you might be able to cut back to make your product cheaper to create.
BIG PROBLEM – You’re Feeling Like A Failure
Do you have this niggling thought that this business was meant to be the ultimate key to your happiness and you’re not feeling successful or happy with it at all?
It’s something that we ALL struggle with, no matter how far along the journey we are!
First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s really tough when you do all the right things, set goals and work really hard to get stuff done and then the return isn’t what you thought it would be. I get it, but it’s time to stop that kind of thinking. It really doesn’t help.
Stop seeing every obstacle as a total failure. They are just roadblocks that we need to find a way around, that’s all.
“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast”
Alfred A. Montapert
ANSWER – Pivot?
Do you need to pivot? Do you need to Change something?
Perhaps? But what?
Why not try something different! Start small;
- Implement some time managing strategies into your day
- Take some steps to boost your sales
- Increase your margins
- Decrease your costs
- Get some help!
If you have put a concentrated effort into managing all of the above for at least a month and there is no sign of improvement it’s possible that you need to pivot again. It happens.
Most of all keep taking action! Persistence does pay off whether it be now or in a months time – who knows! Just keep it together and keep moving forward.
Are any of these things frustrating you right now? Tell me about it below?