Streetwise Advice: Saving a Troubled Business

Turning around a business will typically, at first and perhaps for quite a while longer, seem like an insurmountable challenge. Virtually all small businesses experience some really, really awful times and brutal challenges. They just don’t tend to talk about them very often.

I’ve known lots of really successful businesspeople and I can tell you that behind most of these highly successful people there have been some tough times—and not just times when these people where confidently strategizing and planning their way through difficult times. I’m talking about times when these people were scared out of their minds that their business, that their livelihood, was headed south, and that they were going to lose everything.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am urging you to fight back against panicking and feeling terrible when you run into huge business problems. If you think, as entrepreneurs tend to do, that if the business is failing, then you are failing, it is going to be a lot harder to think positively, to think creatively, and to find great alternatives to turn around your struggling business!

Just because your business is collapsing doesn’t mean you are a bad entrepreneur; it doesn’t mean you are stupid. It simply means you ARE an entrepreneur! Think of it as a rite of passage. I don’t think you’ve been a full-blooded entrepreneur until you’ve been bloodied by some really hard business times.

One of the reasons you need to think positively about yourself is because turning around a business takes one heck of a lot of your time and energy! You will have to put in lots of hours, because turning around a business is like having a whole second job in addition to running a business. But you need to do it! The more time and energy you can put into turning around your business as early as possible after seeing you are running into trouble, the easier it will be turn it around.

Can I guarantee that you can turn around your business? No!

But I can guarantee you that if you start by not blaming the business problems on your own ability, if you focus on fixing it as opposed to thinking of how you got into the situation in the first place, if you really think through and write up an aggressive and creative business plan, then your chances of successfully turning around your situation will be immeasurably better than if you just continue to plod along from one day to the next.

When the chips are down, don’t fret! Instead, view it as “just time to pull out my entrepreneur turnaround playbook and go into action!”

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.