New Year's Resolutions: Recovering From a Challenging Year

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When the New Year rolls around, business owners across the world embrace the opportunity to turn a corner and adapt their strategies for the better. After a tough trading period, many people are preparing to start a new chapter come January. We’ve collected some of the best advice out there on how to recover from a challenging year.

Facing obstacles as an entrepreneur can be devastating; no one tells you how to manage your business’s ups and downs, and the fear of failure can further exacerbate the situation. But there are ways to get your business back on track. And while things may not improve immediately, staying focussed on the light at the end of the tunnel is key to long-term success when running your own business. 

How to give your business a reset after a bad year

Consider implementing these New Year’s resolutions for businesses: 

1. Acknowledge the failures

As painful as it might be to admit you may have made mistakes, denial won’t get you anywhere. It takes strength to recognise the challenges of the past year, and rather than blame yourself - or worse, your employees - aim to move forward. While you could wallow in disappointment, it’s much more productive to create an action plan for the months ahead. 

2. Focus on your finances

If you’re running out of money, you need to find a way to stabilise your cash flow - and fast. Think about how you could minimise your outgoings and introduce new or temporary income streams to generate capital quickly. Consider the products and services your customers most value at the moment and how you can deliver them for a low cost. 

Do whatever you can to stop further damage from occurring. If there are financial issues involved, try to recover as much as you can. If there is collateral damage to relationships, apologise quickly and try to restore trust. - Ron Edmondson, pastor and Mustard Seed Ministry founder

3. Find the faults

If you’re going to improve your business’s performance in the months to come, you must be able to identify the factors that negatively impacted your work in the past year. 

Certain issues, such as dwindling customer numbers or a product recall, for example, may be obvious at a surface level. But what caused them in the first place? Try to get to the root of the problem; then, you’ll be able to take steps to avoid them in the future. 

For an extra perspective, you could ask employees for their thoughts on your business and why it’s experiencing challenges. They may have a fresh take on the situation, which can be incredibly valuable. 

When you fail, ask yourself what the three biggest lessons you learned were and what you can put in place to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's also important to consider the warning signs you might not have listened to fast enough.
— John Assaraf, author and NeuroGym CEO

4. Change your mindset

Real change happens when you alter your mindset, and there’s power in positivity. You might have the best plan in the world but if you’re still emotionally bogged down in past failures, you’re never going to have the motivation to achieve your goals. 

Be confident, and if you don’t feel optimistic just yet, ‘fake it till you make it’! Putting on a brave face will help restore not only your own faith in the business, but that of your employees too. 

If you’re struggling to find the energy, try not to view your efforts as an attempt to recover and get back to square one. Instead, think of your actions as a way of growing your business as part of an ongoing development scheme. 

5. Network and research the industry

If the challenges you’ve faced are affecting the wider industry as opposed to your business alone, consider finding out how others are coping with the same problems. Knowing how your peers have overcome obstacles will give you extra insight when it comes to putting your own plans into action. 

Reach out to experts in your niche, go to conferences, hire a coach not only for business but also for your personal side, read books surrounding your business to give you different perspectives, and lastly ask questions and listen to your customers to see their pains, complaints, and successes.
— Jacob Nawrocki, motivational speaker 

6. Reinforce relationships 

Even if you feel you’re alone in business, you have a network of contacts, and you can use them to help build your business back up. Rather than shying away from interacting with those around you, reach out to customers, suppliers and partners. They may be able to reinforce your credibility by offering positive testimonials. 

Once you’ve collected your material, you could publish recommendations and reviews on your website and social media channels, or even create a press release. Taking this step should help remind you of everything you’ve accomplished and help you find fresh energy and motivation. 

7. Don’t overlook your mental health 

Entrepreneurs invest more than their money when they set up a business, so it’s perfectly normal to suffer emotionally when you hit a rough patch. Remember to focus on your mental health and well as the health of your business in the New Year. 

Take the time to visit friends and family or even discuss your feelings in a local support group. You’ll almost certainly find people who feel the same way as you. 

8. Invest in new talent 

Making the decision not to hire extra staff can be a false economy. You’re likely to be able to generate more value from a productive employee in a considered role than you’ll lose through their salary. Review your operations and find areas where efficiency is lacking. Are there any tasks you defer or dread that could be completed quickly by a new staff member? 

If you are good at speaking, then speak. If you are good with the customers, then be on the floor. Know your strengths… Hire someone who is really good at what you’re really bad at.
— Jacob Nawrocki, motivational speaker

How to manage your business's ups and downs

If you need more advice or guidance on how to recover from a challenging year, you can find a wide range of resources here at Point Franchise. Take a look at our business guides to see recent articles or use the search box to find answers to a specific query.

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