We all remember a few brands back in the days that were very successful and popular like Mr. Biggs and UAC Foods. These were massive fast-food chains in Nigeria that had branches in almost every state in the country. One can only wonder what happened to such successful brands.
Fast track to today, these brands are simply struggling to stay relevant in the quick service restaurant sub-sector. With the inflow of various fast food chains and hospitality businesses in the country, competition has crowded out older brands. Therefore, it is obvious that to stay successful in any business venture, the entrepreneur has to be innovative, constantly reinventing products and services, and improving marketing strategies.
In every entrepreneurial journey, every business idea or venture will suffer stagnancy and even death, if not revamped or refocused to stay competitive in the current and future business environment. How does a failed business venture get restored to vibrancy?
- Embrace Change
The first place to start from is to adopt a mindset that acknowledges that there is a challenge with the current business idea. Any business leader in denial will lose sight of marketplace trends and new realities. This position is often difficult after months of planning, working and trying to grow the enterprise. More often, business analysts attribute failure to other challenges such as economic downturn, increasing overhead costs, shortage in raw materials and so on. However, failing to recognize and accept that the core business idea may be faulty is a recipe for a failed venture. A forward-thinking entrepreneur must be willing to tweak the business idea to fit the current business environment.
- Study the Customer
Accepting this new reality also means making painstaking attempts to study customer trends and consciously obtain customers feedback and apply them. Customer trends however, may be distorted but a quick scan at cultural influences, social behavior and how these change over a period of time will give a lot of insight. The business owner must also be willing to try various strategies and be open to learning. There are no set strategies for businesses to implement in this constantly evolving world, hence, entrepreneurs must be willing to revaluate their products or services to meet the demand of their target market.
It is often said that an entrepreneur’s journey is a lonely one. Well taken, but the business growth should not be lonely too. Benchmarking refers to a practice of comparison of the business performance and processes of one organisation with another reputed to be an industry leader. By all means, benchmark your organisation’s growth with another in the same industry and also note the factors that are common in both organizations to avoid unnecessary challenges. For example, a startup should not focus on benchmarking against a more established organization, but rather can aspire and work towards benchmarking in the long term. It can be tricky to conduct benchmark studies when organizations are not properly aligned and this may set entrepreneurs off on the wrong path.
- People Dynamics
No business can significantly improve without human capital. When reviving a failed business, people are paramount. The emotional distress of failing cannot be overemphasized, especially at the management level and most times, new energies, expertise and style may just be what the organization needs to bounce back. Doing things the same way whilst expecting new results is like running on the spot. In the same vein, any business that seeks to bounce back from a failed path must pay attention to the workforce behind it at all levels.
A business cannot be revived without a thorough re-evaluation. Re-evaluating the entire business begins with the corporate strategy – vision, mission, products, services, value chain, new opportunities, emerging markets and so on. It is also important to seek a professional and unbiased opinion outside your team, to review changes before implementing.
- Sell, Sell and Sell
Increasing the marketing budget may be a good decision to ensure that all customers and prospects are aware of the new direction of the business. Some entrepreneurs conduct major rebranding exercises whilst others launch marketing campaigns to communicate the new look and feel of the brand, product and service offering. It is important to sell the new brand and ensure that customers know that the business is a new and improved version of itself.