Linda is the owner of a small e-commerce platform. Despite 2 years in the business, the scales never tipped low enough in her favor, constantly hovering just above breakeven.
It wasn’t until she enlisted the help of a professional business advisory that it was revealed - her delivery processes were 38% slower compared to her competitors. The culprit? Poor inventory management.
Linda and her small team were never aware of this, because none of them came from a relevant background. They were knee-deep in the same processes everyday, never realizing it was the process itself that was inadequate.
Linda’s case might just be an example to help you illustrate the importance of seeking external help, but it certainly proves that inability to pinpoint the right roots to the problem can become a catalyst for wasted funds, manpower and time.
But even so, nagging telltale signs your company needs help such as the four below will all get the same message across - a professional third party might just be what you need to turn things around.
1. You’re looking to enter foreign territory
In most cases, business owners seek out advisories when looking to break into foreign ground. “Foreign ground” could entail foreign market entry, acquiring a new line of business, or excitingly - an initial public offering.
These all stem from the same roots - that advice from an external source who’s walked the same path before and is more experienced in that particular area will provide valuable guidance for the problem at hand.
And that’s completely true. Venturing outside the comfort zone marks a new milestone for companies. It’s a period full of excitement and the promise of better returns.
But it’s this exact promise which teases companies into overlooking their actual capability, resulting in an underqualified team leading a venture they’re not equipped for. It’s also 23% of the reason why small businesses fail within 5 years.
Inexperience clearly comes with a cost - one which could easily be mitigated with just a few hours of consulting with the right professionals beforehand.
2. There seems to be no end to the financial hole your company is digging
When spread thin, business owners will do anything to save whatever is left of the company, whether that may mean downsizing on manpower or selling off certain assets. And though debt is a language most companies are familiar with, but to what extent?
Watch out for these symptoms of unhealthy cash flow:
● Outstanding invoices piling up
● Excessive reliance on external financing
● Dwindling profits
Recognizing when it’s time to stop throwing money at your business in an attempt to save it is a famously difficult feat. Often perseverance crosses boundaries to become borderline dangerous, and in trying, the company only digs deeper and deeper into its pool of non-existent funds.
Despite this, there’s no need to throw in the towel. There’s always Plan B - engage a business advisor who will not only diagnose the root cause for you, but guide you in implementing it as well!
3. Your business is stuck in a stagnating rut
The business lifecycle is a funny thing. You expect (wish) for it to be smooth and linear. But rather, it resembles a rippling tide. At certain points, it may even flatline. But what if it flatlines for too long? Where’s the momentum gone?
Declining sales year-on-year are an outright shout for business advisory intervention. Perhaps a not so obvious sign your company needs help would be stagnating sales. When you find your sales in a slump, it can be difficult to understand why.
Maybe that new marketing strategy you implemented wasn’t really what your customers asked for, perhaps it boils down to your outdated business plan, perhaps it’s the market itself which has stagnated. The fact is, identifying the exact reasons why your business is stagnant is no easy feat.
But don’t make the same mistake as most do - spending months upon months mulling, analyzing, and then mulling again. Business advisors are adept at helping you overcome hurdles in whatever form they may come in to get your business moving again.
4. Employee morale plummets and turnover skyrockets
How satisfied are you with your team? What would you like to change?
The answer might come easily to you. But what if that question was turned around: “How satisfied is your team with you?”
Content, motivated employees are directly correlated with your business’s overall performance. Highly engaged employees result in 21% more profitability for the business. So if you or your HR is sensing an underlying disconnect within the team, it’s not just a HR matter, but also a sign the business may need help. This is where you may want to seek the counsel of a trusted business advisor before the effects prove disastrous.
But not all business advisors are the same!
Business advisors aren’t difficult to come across these days, what’s difficult is finding the right one. Though far and few, the most committed advisors will go above and beyond just telling you what you need to know.
Harvard Business Review spectacularly categorizes business advisory purposes into a hierarchy, as seen below.
Get in touch!
We at Mahzan Sulaiman work as if your business is our own. By providing end-to-end guidance at every level, we can help you craft out a better path to business improvement.
But first, tell us about what drawbacks your business is facing through this questionnaire here!