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Photo Credit: Sherif Hussein

How to Restart a Business [ANSWERS]

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Sometimes a business owner finds their venture needs a little boost. It could be because the business has slowed to a crawl or they want to turn their business in a new direction. One of the ways to do so is to restart your business. Restarting a business can be nearly as consuming as beginning one. Knowing the steps it takes to get your business restarted can be a challenge to pin down for even the steadiest of entrepreneurs.

Rescue a CEO and CEO Blog Nation asked entrepreneurs for their tips and advice on how to restart a business.

 

Grab a white board and scribble

1. Why does this business exist? Another way of answering this is, how can this venture make a difference for me, my customers, the world! This is your business purpose. 2. Where do I need to lead this business? This isn’t a question of geography. Rather you’re articulating your vision for the future. 3. How will we get there? Here’s where you clarify your mission(s) and offerings. 4. What’s important to the way we do business? Your responses articulate your values. Now that you have you your purpose, vision, missions, and values on the white board, step back and big picture check. Is what you’ve written authentic to your being? Is there a solid market where you can make money? Can these strategic guidelines capture your attention so you don’t get distracted down the road? It is easy to get lost in the details of planning the restart. Slowing down to invest time upfront on these core strategic matters will speed your planning plus they’ll accelerate your business growth after the restart!

Thanks to Kevin W. McCarthy

 

Do a brand makeover

Do a total and complete brand makeover, change your business name, logo/identity, website/domain, and then start all over with new and relevant keywords, build your content, and new website. Now pay very close attention to what you did wrong the first time around and don’t make the same mistake again that led you through this ordeal.

Thanks to Sherif Hussein, Jinni Communications

 

Appreciate your loyal customers

When restarting business, you have to go back to your most loyal customers. As a 31-year communications industry veteran, the biggest mistake I see businesses make is not appreciating the loyal supporters of their brand. Business owners have a tendency to look at new prospects as the most important priority; however, the reality is your loyal clients are your biggest brand ambassadors. Take the time to continually cultivate the relationship and communicate with them. Don’t just assume they know you appreciate them. Consistently tell them they are a priority, they have the best deals and ultimately, ensure they are satisfied from your brand or service. Those are the clients or customers that will bring new prospects, and help you get back up on your feet faster and more profitable than ever before.

Thanks to Bruce Kupper, Black Twig Communications

 

Apply your business idea differently

A good way to restart a business is to take your original business idea which for whatever reason may not have worked out as well as you would have liked and apply it differently to the market so that you don’t have to completely recreate it. For example, if your original business revenue model involved selling subscription-based services, in your revived business you can consider giving out these subscriptions for free, while generating revenue from advertisements, behavioral retargeting, premium subscriptions, or a whole bunch of other means. And if your business involved selling a whole bunch of products on which you could not compete on price, you may consider narrowing your focus and selling a subset of products on which you can compete.

Thanks to Michael Pesochinsky, GovernmentBargains

 

Launch with a true mission

When the magazine I worked for folded in June 2009, overnight I became an accidental entrepreneur. I’d always wanted to be a consultant. So, upon thinking about the varied and expansive marketing experience I’d acquired over a 14-year period, in September 2009, I launched a consultancy called Omerge Alliances, with a simple DIY website, fancy logo, business cards and registered name with New York State as an LLC. So, although doing well, because I had not created the foundation for a scalable business and was unclear about my future, I accepted an executive position at a beauty company as a CMO in March 2011. The experience was great. However, deep down inside I knew that I was a consultant at my core. So, in November 2012, after a brief hiatus post-resignation from my exec post, I relaunched my firm. Same name (Omerge Alliances), but this time, we had a real mission, with a business plan, core competencies, staffing plans, clients, press release syndicated on the PR Newswire, interviews with a handful of media outlets and press coverage by Advertising Age, New York Times, Madame Noire, HelloBeautiful.com (among others), a professional website and even a commercial! This time out has been much sweeter because I can see the growth potential of my organization, and know now that my company’s growth is not solely dependent on what I can individually offer.

Thanks to Olivia Scott-Perkins, Omerge Alliances

 

Do a lot of research

I have owned Double Clickers.com for over 10 years and it just sat there gathering dust until now. I spent 9 months researching the extent to which mom bloggers and other women’s websites operating by moms for mom reaches tens of millions of moms on a recurring basis. And also during that time compiled huge lists of them. I also scoured the internet for hidden nuggets, i.e., merchants with products to die for…with very little traffic to show for their outrageously wonderful products. We just launched Double Clickers Affiliate Network using that recreated website to bring these thousands of merchants to tens of thousands of moms.

Thanks to Double Clickers

 

Get together with original founders and employees

In order to restart a business, it’s highly recommended that you get together with as many of the original founding team (or initial employees) as possible because it would take substantially less time and effort to get everyone on the same page and the business back on track. If you were indeed able to get everyone (or most everyone) on board, there would be no need to invest in training new folks and bringing new workers up to speed. Moreover, if you were to work with the same people as when you first started the business, these folks would also most likely retain connections to many previous clients, suppliers, service providers and investors which will come in handy, if not essential. And of course, with a familiar crew, in addition to the familiarity with each other, you probably all share the same startup attitude and hustle required to get the business going again (even if in a slightly different direction).

Thanks to Ian Aronovich, GovernmentAuctions

 

Recognize whether you can salvage or not

Restarting a failed business is no easy task but it can be done if you are vigilant about these three points. The first one is to recognize whether you can salvage the business with your current strategy and to be clear and honest with yourself if it is beyond that point. Most entrepreneurs are so in love with their own ideas – guilty as charged myself – that we forget to see the reality of one idea sinking while others could be saved so know the difference between a business that may be past saving versus a dream that cannot be given up. If it’s the latter, then the second point is figuring out exactly what went wrong so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes again. Was it the product or the service? Was it the marketing or sales? What went wrong that led you astray so you take a better approach. And the last point about restarting a failed business is to give yourself a time-frame, say 12-24 months, to see a tangible turnaround progress and to hold yourself accountable to that deadline. This emphasizes your motive as well as makes sure you are moving in the right direction to turn that ship around.

Thanks to Farnoosh Brock, Prolific Living

 

Be sure to make it a positive experience

How you go about restarting your business depends a lot on why you’re restarting in the first place. If you simply wanted to take the business in a new or different direction, restarting is like an easier version of your first startup – you’ll need to retrace some of your steps, change your website, etc., but you’ll already have many of the building blocks in place. If, on the other hand, if you’re restarting your business because it didn’t succeed, whether because the products and services were faulty, or through poor marketing, a restart will be a little tougher. In this situation you have to make sure to distance yourself from whatever the problem was, while at the same time making it clear that this time around, that problem is no longer an issue. A good example of exactly this is Kim Dotcom and his recently launched file storage and sharing site “Mega.” About a year ago, Dotcom’s previous site “Megaupload,” which accounted for nearly 4 percent of the internet’s overall traffic while it was active, was shut down for copyright infringement, as well as a host of other related illegal activities. Prior and during the launch of his new site, Dotcom made sure to blog about all the changes made to the new site compared to the last one, distancing himself from his copyright problems. He also made sure there would be incentives for users of the old site to return, such as offering 50 gigs of free storage, whereas competing sites generally offer between two and five, and increased security. These incentives, combined with positive reinforcement of the new site and reinforcement of how it’s different from the one that was taken down, earned Dotcom a staggering one million site views in the first 14 hours after launch alone, more than half of which allegedly signed up for the service. No matter what, it’s important to make your new launch a positive experience for both returning customers and people who might be noticing your business for the first time.

Thanks to Kimberly Judd-Pennie, Cybermark International

 

Have a clear planned outcome

You’re humming along in your business, things are going great and life is good when all of a sudden BOOM!! You get sent A) “Life curveball” such as illness, financial challenge, tragedy or B) Visit from the “stalk” taking time out to concentrate on themselves and their families. Business never really leaves your veins though does it? It just sits there dormant waiting for the day to reactivate itself to pick up again from where you left off or begin another adventure, something different. Either way, whatever the situation it brings with it opportunities or restarts. So now you’ve dealt with the adjustment and your looking to get back into the saddle again or (as they say in a game of tug o war) “take up the line”. Here are the “imperatives” you need when re starting your business.

1) Do your research – the only one constant thread throughout the universe is “change”. Things change and in business what you did 12 months ago may be long forgotten. If you’ve been out of the game for a while it makes sense to what I call “ get engaged”. Whatever your industry, look at the trends, what consumers are looking for, what’s changed. Do the due diligence and find out whether your skill set needs a tune up ask the questions. What technology do you need to adapt to, what financial backing am I going to need and so on. Couple your research with “customer research”. They’re telling you what their needs and wants are. You just need to listen carefully and adapt your business!

2) Have a clear Planned Outcome – So now you’re ready to go, the research looks good and now what? It never seizes to amaze me how many business owners don’t have an engagement plan. They try to fumble their way through it. Imagine this: you board a flight heading for your favorite destination and the captain announces “Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking, thank you for boarding flight QF 123 heading for…ahhh I ‘m not sure where we’re going but don’t worry we’ll figure it out when we get in the air”. I know exactly what I’m doing and that’s opening those emergency shoots and getting the hell out of there. Business is exactly the same you can’t wing it(sorry about the punt). Clear planned outcome is the “key” to re starting the business. That way you know what actions you can take and obstacles you can maneuver around.

3) Jump in with two feet – The famous Jedi Knight “Yoda” from star wars says it best “Either DO or you DO NOT there is no TRY”. One of the biggest challenges I see as a Holistic Business Coach is that business is about longevity, perseverance and a massive amount of energy. So re starting your business is about “energy management”. Making sure in the re engagement phase you divert your efforts or what I call “turbo rockets” at full thrust to get that momentum you need to get into the game. So if you’re ahh-ming and arr- ing should I , I might just try it, I don’t know if it’s me etc then DON’T do it. However if you’re passionate, focused ready to pound the pavement and help your self and others in the process CONGRATULATIONS!! We all need YOU.

Thanks to Nick Psaila, Nick Psila International

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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