small business

Going out of business

July 9th 2015
Author -

We started Waterfall Way Designs in April 2009, over 6 years ago. In that time we have worked with many types of businesses. We currently have over 230 clients on our books. We have seen some businesses grow and prosper, we have seen others have to close their doors. The vast majority are just surviving.

We have had a few clients sell their businesses for barely the value of the stock on the shelves. No good will, no payback for the years of building the business. All that time, money and stress for no return. They would have been better off in a normal job.

It is a highly emotional thing to go through. After losing your business there are periods of denial, you try to find people to blame:

  • “It's the economy, people are just not spending...”
  • “It's the council, roadwork reduced our walk by traffic...”
  • “It's the government...”
  • “Our advertising cost a lot and didn’t give us a return...”

Each day you make decisions that shape and direct your business. Big decisions like buying equipment or hiring staff. Little decisions like how you speak to a customer or selecting new product lines. Each of these add up and determine the future success of your business.

Customers nowadays do not tolerate much, they don't cut you a lot of slack, because they have options. You have to run a good organisation with great products and responsive service. You have to have a good story that differentiates yourself from your many competitors. There is still lots of money out there, but the customers with it are discerning, it needs to be a transparent win-win relationship. Word of mouth and loyalty are still possible and these are the drivers of our successful clients.

Don't write off warnings like this. You might have excuses already in your head:

  • “My business relies on locals who have been coming to me for years
  • “I do not sell online and neither do my competitors”
  • “What happened to the business next door won't happen to me”
  • “It will pick up again, people will start spending”

If this continues you may soon have to start making excuses for why you had to shut the doors. These excuses may sound justifiable to you and your family, but you will have failed at business and missed an opportunity.

Get used to change, reshape your business for where the demand is. Constantly strive to exceed your customers expectations. Talk to colleagues, get professional help before it is too late. We recently benefitted from a restructure based on advice from a corporate consultant. We can highly recommend her.