This is a rhetorical question! The answer is usually NO! Many small businesses operate year-in-year-out under the same management principle: “.. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” The one that I have heard a lot is: “… we’ve been in business for years and years so we must be doing something right.” The unfortunate truth is that the acid test of any business model is when the business get’s into trouble, does the business survive? In many cases it doesn’t.

There are many reasons for the demise of a long standing business:

  1. Management thinks that the situation is temporary and the customers will return – in droves.
  2. In a family business, the second generation learned all of their management skills from the first generation and what worked before, doesn’t appear to be working now.
  3. Management is spending funds on advertising and promotion but overlooking the tech savvy online customer.
  4. The feeling that cutting costs will trim down the business and make it slimmer, leaner and more attuned to the new market paradigm.

Here are a few of my own observations from my 30 year business experience:

  • A business can never grow by cutting itself to prosperity. I know this statement is an oxymoron but it is a fact.
  • Likewise, raising prices doesn’t insure a return to prosperity. Want proof? Any government that raises taxes doesn’t see long term improvement in its finances.
  • Advertising is NOT marketing. A business can double its advertising budget but, if it has no idea who their client is well, it is a waste of money.
  • “Waiting for a return to prosperity” can be a recipe for disaster. Why have clients not shopped at your store, or used your services?
  • Training at all levels, particularly management training is an investment not a cost. What worked for your dad won’t work for you if you are in a family owned business.

I guess the major premise of this post is that all businesses need a road map. I call it a Google Map. Too few businesses see the benefit of the exercise. The resulting casualties are predictable with this kind of thinking.

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