Liquidate assets are two words that no small business owner wants to hear. Maybe because it conjures images of defeat. We were supposed to be so successful and now here we are, trying to figure out how to keep our company alive.
Take heed though, considering this step doesn’t mean it’s the end for your company. The very fact that you are willing to consider this is a great sign. It means you are objective.
Being objective is crucial and examining your business for weak spots could be just what you need to turn your company from ordinary to extraordinary.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” — Henry Ford.
1. Take Stock
As a small business owner, I know that it’s easy to get busy. When the business was humming along, there wasn’t always time to analyze your costs. It’s not that you didn’t see the value in it, but you had customers to take care of first. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Don’t get down though.
There is a silver lining to that dark cloud, and it’s called expense analysis.
Hooray! What fun!
Okay, I know it sounds boring, but what seemed like a waste of time before may be what saves your business. You need to start by making a list of all your assets and resources. That includes equipment, subscriptions, services, and anything else owned or used by the business for its operation.
2. Liquidate Assets!
Look at your list and cross out all the resources essential to continued operation. Circle all of those resources that are outdated or rarely utilized. Order these from easiest-to-sell to hardest-to-sell.
Selling the easiest stuff first will give you some momentum.
Sites like eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace are great places to sell things. Of course, while we are all maintaining social distance, you will want to hold off on meeting anyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make preparations to sell these items online or in-person at a later time.
Don’t do this in panic mode, either. The purpose isn’t to sell everything and cannibalize the business as you scream, “my business is failing” out your window. It’s to get rid of your business’s dead weight and counter your profit loss. No one wants to liquidate a company, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end.
Another thing to ask, is can we cut any subscriptions or services, or is there a better provider out there? This also takes careful consideration, and it might surprise you to find subscriptions you have forgotten about.
3. Let’s Get Efficient
Some small businesses may only need to liquidate assets, but we need to think in terms of time too.
With everything seemingly falling apart, efficiency might be the last thing on your mind, but you need to remember that time is money. We have too much time now, but soon we won’t have enough as we play catch up the rest of the year, so this step is crucial.
This also can’t be done in panic mode. You need to be thinking of your business’s overall health. If this is done well, you will serve your customers better because you will be focusing more attention on your important tasks and less on the inefficient processes/systems you might have developed over the years.
There are many simple things you can do to increase efficiency, like reorganizing your office, giving away / getting rid of stuff, reorganizing your computer files (so you can find stuff), cutting unnecessary tasks from workflows, setting up auto-responders.
These might seem like small things, but they add up, and if maintained, they can help you save a good chunk of time. If you want to go even further, check out Getting Things Done, by David Allen.
One last thing you can also do is to go through your website, content, auto-responders, and social media profiles to make sure your company’s values are clearly and accurately represented across your brand. People enjoy clear and concise language, and this will also save you time with customer service/correspondence later.
4. Embrace Change
Whatever you do, just don’t give up! I can’t say for sure that optimizing your business will be what gets you through this crisis. One thing is guaranteed, though, by following these steps, your company will be in a better position to survive this. At best, it will help get you back on your feet; at worst, it will prepare you to move in a new direction.
My business is failing, but it doesn’t have to be the end
Every generation has its obstacles. Some of us will be more affected than others, but that doesn’t mean the world will end.
We must remember there is opportunity just on the other side of change.
We have to hang in there and look for new ways to serve people. That can be easier said than done. It wasn’t until I was able to move beyond the ‘my business is failing’ mindset, liquidate assets, and simplify my business that everything changed. That was when I was finally able to focus on other people’s problems and pivot my business.
Thanks for reading. In the next few days, I’ll share more tips on how to keep your business operating or position yourself to be ready for a new opportunity.