Small Business Owner Problem: Knowing When to Switch Tactics

When something isn’t working we often have a propensity to keep trying even though we realize we should switch tactics. How long it takes you to finally relent and try something fresh depends on how stubborn you are – and if you’re like most business owners, you’re pretty stubborn! It’s how you got to where you are in the first place!

This can be made worse if you do get a small taste of success. You’re much less likely to switch tactics if it works for a few weeks or months or so then stops. You keep thinking things will change and it’ll go back to the way it was, if only you hold on for just one more day/week/year/decade.

But this kind of thinking can be dangerous and lead to big problems for your company. Knowing when it’s time to switch your approach can save you from a fate worse than foreclosure.

Keeping the Pulse

It’s an old point, but it’s one of the most important you can learn: if you know your business, and how it’s REALLY doing, then you’ll have a better handle on what actions to take in all situations. If the reverse is true and you have false impressions of your company’s health, you run into problems.

For example, let’s say your initial customer reach tactic was to focus on online advertising. It worked for a few months; enough that you felt like your company was growing. Eventually this growth begins to dwindle and your company starts to stagnate.

If you’ve been keeping up with exactly how well you’re doing, you’re more likely to notice the decline and handle it. You could see the gradual diminishing returns over the months and realize something needs to be done.

However, if it all takes you by surprise and one day you find yourself in the hole seemingly out of the blue, you’re more likely to make bad decisions. You may just end up beating a dead horse by upping your online advertising instead of realizing your customers would respond better to a local outdoor PR promotion.

Timing Things Correctly

This isn’t to say that you should immediately hit the “panic” button once something goes wrong. Sales will have natural dips, curves, twists and gaps and all sorts of interesting things that cause your stomach to jump and flutter.

So a lot of tactics decision comes with experience – for instance, a newbie might have a migraine during the summer when sales drop, but an experienced seller knows the big sales are coming in the fall and winter. The newbie might panic and try a drastic advertising campaign when they should have been planning for the huge holiday season.

Before you make any big decisions, weigh the options before you. Do you have a solid plan in hand or just rough ideas? Do you think your customers would flock to your new campaign or do you KNOW it? There’s a huge difference and it’s best to test the waters a bit before you jump in headfirst.