Every business experiences tough times, even a successful business. That’s why it’s important to have a business turnaround strategy to implement in times of need.

These past two years (2020 and 2021) have been tumultuous and challenging due to the COVID-19 crisis. Because of this global pandemic, so much has changed in regards to businesses and the customer shopping experience.

And yet, during this time, there have been fresh business startups and newly minted business owners from people who had nowhere else to turn to but a business idea. And before they knew it, they were business owners. This is mainly because all businesses need some type of online presence since most of how people connected during this COVID-19 crisis has been mainly through technology and online.

Just because you had an online business idea that has done a decent job, as an active business owner, you have to have a plan when you need to rebuild your failing business. How to save a failing business online involves a turnaround plan that you can fall back on.

Essentially, how to prevent a business failure is all about failure factors. Dan Sheldon states in the abstract to his article, “Recognizing failure factors helps small-business turnarounds,” that:

“The chances for a failing small business to survive and prosper are improved when owners and managers follow general turnaround management guidelines and recognize the factors that most contribute to creating their economic crisis. By examining those factors from four perspectives—based on whether they originate inside or outside of the firm and whether the type of required corrective response is predominantly administrative or strategic—small business leaders can collect the information they need to get their firm back on track.”

So, how do you save a struggling small business, especially an online one, from failure factors?

With business turnaround strategy steps.

Other than stabilizing your cash flow as soon as possible, you may have to redo a lot of what you have put time and effort in.

Reviving a failed business is not easy. Yes, you had a great idea to begin with when you started your business; and after establishing your customer base and experience, you may have built something amazing for yourself.

However, know in the long term that all you’ve built hasn’t been lost if you are willing to take the steps necessary to implement solutions to small business failure, should it be happening to you.

How to Turnaround a Failing Small Online Business

Rewrite Business Plans

Even an excellent business plan needs to be reassessed once in a while, especially if a business’s chance of success has been fading each and every quarter. Instead of blaming the markets or the current environment, it’s pertinent to take a step back and reconfigure what is necessary to keep your business afloat and prospering.

One of the most common mistakes that you can do as a small online business is to neglect rewriting business plans because it’s too tedious or you just don’t want to.

Pivoting in business happens all the time, so it’s not unusual to completely change what your business plans are. Especially when it comes to operation plans that may be halted due to cash flow issues from diminishing cash reserves, be aware of what needs to be rewritten to match what will save your business from shutting down completely.

The world can change at any point, so it’s important to adapt with it if you are to be in competition to keep current customers as well as gain potential customers. Make sure to look at your SWOT plan (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and restructure what makes sense to your business.

By revising your plans, you have taken the necessary precautions to turnaround a failing business. Because if things aren’t working, it doesn’t mean you give up. It means you try something different with your business goals.

Rethink Marketing Strategy

When it comes to turning a failing business around, especially a small business online, it’s more than just cutting costs and blaming external factors. A business failure can happen to anyone. When running a business, you have to think about the long run, especially during tough times.

And this long run focus has to involve marketing strategies that need to be updated, discarded, or maybe revisited. Ensure that you and/or your marketing team is pinpointing the target customer and not “everyone.” The chances of success for online advertising to hit as many audiences as possible will not be the answer to turnaround a failing small online business.

The customer experience that you can tap into is with any type of digital marketing, such as: email marketing, social media marketing, social networking, content marketing, and even a new advertising campaign. Make sure to track and measure your businesses marketing efforts

The key is to focus on that target customer and adapt and grow when the market changes. Make sure one of your marketing tactics involves effective competitive analysis as well. This may mean rethinking a marketing strategy that circulates around new trends that may not have existed when your small online business first launched.

SWOT Analysis for Business Strategy Plan Business strategy graphs and SWOT analysis

Rebrand Product Packaging, Design, and Website

Business branding makes a huge difference when it comes to selling your products and/or service. Any business expert will tell you that the aesthetics of your particular brand from the website look to the packaging is what makes your brand and business recognizable to new and returning audiences.

However, this may be the crux of what is killing your small online business. Sometimes, a rebranding is in order to re-establish your business and cement yourself within your market niche.

A rebranding does not necessarily mean that the original branding was a terrible venture. Rather, what worked a year ago with the branding, may not work now.

By changing things up a bit, you are looking at ways to keep your customers and clients happy. Plus it shows that your business is kept up to date to what is trending and what people are looking for in their lives.

Of course, make sure your online presence is visible and are all in sync with each other when it comes to branding. And if you rebrand, make sure to keep it seamless and consistent. This can also help with the marketing as you “re-launch” a new branding. You can even involve your customers by having them review possible rebranding ideas.

Rebranding also involves the catchphrase and complete overhaul of what your “About” and “Mission Statement” is. And that’s ok.

By keeping it fresh, consistent, and exciting, it shows that your small online business is not afraid to reinvent itself when things change globally in the world.

Review Customer Feedback (and Listen!)

Another mistake that failing businesses encounter is not listening to customer feedback. While extreme positive and negative comments can be ignored, it’s important to review the customer feedback that is repetitive.

When you collect this data on customer reviews, highlight issues that can be addressed right away. If shipping is an issue for a majority of your customers, ignoring that fixable factor can break your business. However, by addressing this issue, it shows that you are caring about the customer service needs of your business for complete customer satisfaction.

Now that more shopping is online, potential customers usually rely on customer reviews to determine whether your product or service is worth their purchase or not. According to Inc.com, 78% of consumers will listen to the input of other consumers online more than any other source. 

While many reviews you can ignore, there are also many reviews that would be detrimental if ignored. Word-of-mouth marketing is still alive and well, even in this digital age. If people aren’t talking about your business, make sure to revisit your business’s marketing strategy and give people a reason to talk about your business.

Rethink Marketing Strategy

Run a Time-Sensitive Sale

If things are not selling well in your online business, another business revival strategy is running time-sensitive sales. This can be effective, especially if you need to get rid of inventory that has been stocked for quite some time and needs to be off the shelf.

Aim for limited discounted pricing and FOMO tactics (fear of missing out). Plus, you can really increase the marketing with a blow out sale (holidays or otherwise) that can get rid of extra inventory and start fresh with new branding (see above) with new product ideas based on a restructured business and marketing plan (also above).

Many times, people want what they can’t have, or worse, fear that they will miss out on something that they should have purchased long before. To up the ante, you can even have a countdown clock with time passing until everything is all gone, which can increase your chances of selling more.

Rebound with an Online Business Course

According to Forbes.com, ask yourself these questions if your business is hitting the rocks:

  • Why isn’t your business making money?
  • Are prices set too high? Too low?
  • Are you targeting the wrong customers?

Sometimes, it may be hard to see the answers right in front of you.

This is where a business course can come in and help.

Whether you have owned your business for quite awhile, or are just starting, it is always a good thing to keep learning and growing, especially with unforeseeable changes that could happen in the future.

Enrolling in a business course that gives you the tools with “how to turn around a failing business” tips can help restart your business with actionable plans to tread onward.

You don’t even need to leave your house. Many courses are offered online and have online social media groups to keep you motivated.

If you are in the beauty brand business niche or are wanting to launch a beauty line, check out our online course! StartBeauty has everything you need to get your beauty business back on track or get started on the right path to financial success.

Take an online business course

Rekindle Creativity and Take Risks

External factors that can decimate businesses cannot be predicted or controlled. In times like these, as small business owners, it’s important to get creative and take risks if you truly are passionate about what you are offering in your small online business.

But first, acknowledge if things are failing. Even though you may be cutting costs in some areas, remember that when saving money to keep your business afloat, sometimes you have to look fear in the face and say, “I’m going to fight back.”

If you are determined about keeping alive what you created to begin with, setbacks are just part of the experience.

Plus, what’s life without taking a little risk? The best small business turnaround stories involve business owners getting creative and taking the risks that may have scared them but did it anyway to fix a failing business.

More often than not, that discomfort you may feel in the beginning of this turnaround may be the gateway in breaking through.

And remember, you only fail if you don’t learn. As with life, you constantly have to rebuild and rekindle what is most important to you.

If your small online business is what’s important to you, know that in 2021, you too can flourish and prosper again, no matter what the world throws at you.

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