Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How to Revive your Business

I've seen it over and over again. The family business is passed down from one generation to the next. It happened in my family.

My grandparents started several businesses including a coffee distribution company, a bakery, and a restaurant back in the 1940's. One of those businesses is still around.

My Dad's oldest brother took over the restaurant and then it went to my cousin. 3 generations of Howard's running Howard's Restaurant in Colebrook, New Hampshire.

Each generation learned from their father and each son made changes to the business. There is a danger in a business that has been around for awhile. It can get stale, boring, out of touch. Sales can remain steady, which is the first step to decline. Anything besides growth is a problem. So how do you revive your business?

Start by looking at the way things are done now. Write down as many details in the form of a list. Get input from all your key employees, and from the non-key employees. Then ask the question, "What if...?" and purpose an alternative to any and everything that is on your first list.

Do not make any judgments yet. You want to stimulate the idea process, not stifle it. Then put the lists away for a few days.

A week later or so, take out the two lists again and start brainstorming. You are looking to eliminate non-productive tasks, routines and procedures and discover a better way to run your business.

Perhaps you are have been doing the same thing, the same way as you did when you started your business and haven't taken advantage of new technology.

Perhaps you switched to a new technology and in the process lost some of the relationship building opportunities with your customers.

You will probably discover ideas that could not just revive your business, but transform and revolutionize your business. You'll never know until you start with the question, "What if...?"

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