There comes a heart-breaking moment in many an entrepreneur’s life when the new business they’ve put everything into starts sailing into closure territory. It happens to around 60 per cent of small business owners, who end up closing their doors within the first three years of opening, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. So how can you downsize and swerve off course so that your business sees another day?
Get rid of your shopfront or office
One of the top reasons businesses fail in the first three years is because of “high cash use”, according to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission report.
What are you spending money on that you don’t need? Do you really need an office or shop front? Could you work from home or in a shared office space? Could you run your business solely through an online store?
These are questions Total Success Summit speaker Jodie Curran recommends considering. Jodie’s a real estate industry renegade who built her leading agency from her garage – without the usual frills her industry is known for.
“Consider the processes you repeat and content you deliver every day or week in your business. Many can be automated with clever use of technology.”
You know who else started a business in a garage? Steve Jobs – and we all know how well that story turned out. Lorna Jane began her business from her kitchen. Her business is now worth an estimated $200 million.
“There’s no need to spend money on an office, fit-out and all those things. You just need to dominate your personal brand and go from there,” Jodie says.
Cut out all tasks that don’t make any money
“If you’re having to adjust and reduce costs, and thinking of getting out of your business, you need a personal assistant,” Jodie says. “In order to get to the next level, you need to hustle and get [new business]. You need to delegate all the other tasks that aren’t dollar productive.”
Free up your time to work on building your business by outsourcing things like scheduling your social media (#sorrynotsorry), research, and any administrative tasks. You might spend more time initially briefing a personal assistant, but cutting the time you spend on these kinds of tasks will benefit your business in the long run. Try a part-time virtual assistant for a cost-effective option.
Systemise repetitive tasks
If you’re stuck in a cycle of doing the same things over and over, it might be worth taking the time out to create new business systems.
That’s what Sharon Swift, founder of online relocation assistant Settleto, did. Her business originally took the form of a face-to-face concierge service. “It was a hand-to-mouth existence where every action was very reactive. Exchanging my time for money was like having a job without any of the security,” she admits.
“While my team followed a standard process when enquiries came through, the tasks were repetitive and the questions from clients were exactly the same. I needed a more efficient way to work and I realised that technology could replace a lot of the monotony.”
So, two years ago, she decided to brief a digital agency to transform her business into a virtual relocation concierge, so that she could downsize. Now, instead of selling individual consulting packages and “being caught in the minutiae of each job”, she sells a subscription to Settleto and spends her time connecting with clients and prospective customers.
Sharon’s advice for other entrepreneurs who need to downsize to save their business: “Consider the processes you repeat and content you deliver every day or week in your business. Many can be wrapped up into a series of templates or documents. Even better, they can be automated with clever use of technology.”