If a business you own fails to produce the profits you desire (or any profit at all), you may have an unprofitable business model. Long-term sustainable success for any business requires that it operate a profitable business model, so it’s important to identify the issues in your business, understand them, and implement change. We discuss some potential culprits in this article. But first, a backstory about why this matters…
How Profitable Is Your Business Model? A Case StudyWhen we start looking at their data, we find many of our clients are undercharging. We work with them to understand the actual cost of the product or service they offer and adjust their pricing so they make a profit. We may also identify ways they can produce more easily, inexpensively, or quickly to improve their profit margin without raising their prices. One client I worked with was successful and had grown quickly, yet they were not making money. We looked at her offerings and determined that she had no way to evaluate the cost of delivering her product. This meant she lacked a formula to add margin to her pricing. During the years we worked together, she doubled her sales and most importantly, improved her profitability!
“I had been undercharging, and Lorne worked with me to figure out pricing. He created a model for what I should charge, which I still use today. He paid attention to my margins and ensured that my company was always making money.” —Owner, Software Company
Don’t Make These Mistakes!
Top mistakes that could be hurting your business’ profitability:
✖️ Faulty Pricing Strategy
Many businesses make the mistake of charging too little for their products or services, leaving them with a minimal profit margin. Analyze your costs of production and current market trends, and price your offerings at a level where you can generate enough revenue to cover your expenses and see a decent return on investment.
✖️ Underinvestment in Resources
Inadequate systems, processes, and technology can seriously impact profitability. If you lack these or have outdated and inefficient systems, it increases the time needed to design, produce, market, deliver, and more. This in turn increases labor and/or materials expenses.
While it costs money, investing in necessary tools and personnel upfront helps optimize operations, reduce expenses, and maximize profits over time. We often assist our clients with financing these investments when cash flow is a problem.
✖️ Lack of Innovation
Markets are constantly changing, so staying up-to-date with industry trends is essential for remaining competitive. Creating value for customers sets you apart from competitors. If you aren’t willing to innovate or adapt your products or services to meet customer demands, you won’t be able to compete effectively. This will eventually lead to declining profits.
✖️ Overhead Costs
High overhead costs such as rent/mortgage payments, utilities bills, employee salaries, etc., can all eat away at your bottom line if not managed properly. Track these expenses carefully so they don’t become unmanageable debt. This includes negotiating better terms with suppliers if possible. You may be able to salvage an unprofitable business model by taking steps like these. Failing to recognize the situation or take corrective action could lead you to insolvency, or worse, bankruptcy.
How to Fix an Unprofitable Business Model (and Grow Your Wealth)
We’ve identified some key issues, so what’s next? How do you fix these problems, especially when they’re systemic in nature?
Review each of these considerations when working to turn your unprofitable business model around.
✅ Analyze the Problem
- Start by conducting a thorough analysis of your business’s financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
- Identify the specific areas where you are incurring losses or have low profit margins. Is it due to a pricing issue, high operational costs, lack of sales, or a combination of these factors?
✅ Reevaluate Pricing Strategies
- Carefully review your pricing strategy. Ensure that you’re charging an amount that not only covers your costs but also allows for a reasonable profit margin.
- Consider implementing dynamic pricing, bundling, or tiered pricing strategies to maximize revenue while providing value to your customers.
✅ Cut Unnecessary Costs
- Analyze your operational costs and identify areas where you can reduce expenses without compromising quality or customer satisfaction.
- Look for ways to streamline your supply chain, optimize inventory management, and renegotiate contracts with suppliers.
✅ Improve Operational Efficiency
- Evaluate your business processes and identify inefficiencies. Streamlining operations can reduce labor costs and increase productivity.
- Invest in technology and automation to reduce human error, save time, and cut costs.
✅ Diversify Your Revenue Streams
- Consider expanding your product or service offerings to cater to a broader audience or entering new markets.
- Explore partnerships, collaborations, or acquisitions that can complement your existing business and generate additional revenue.
✅ Focus on Marketing and Sales
- Reevaluate your marketing and sales strategies. Are you effectively reaching your target audience?
- Invest in marketing efforts that generate a positive return on investment (ROI) and align your sales team’s efforts with your business goals.
✅ Enhance Customer Experience
- Improving customer satisfaction can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
- Listen to customer feedback, address their concerns, and strive to exceed their expectations.
✅ Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Identify and monitor key performance indicators specific to your industry and business. Regularly track and analyze these metrics to measure your progress.
✅ Seek Professional Advice
- Consult with financial advisors, business consultants, or industry experts who can provide insights and recommendations tailored to your specific situation.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Sometimes, an external perspective can identify solutions that you might have overlooked. We offer complimentary consultations so you can more readily see whether we’re a good fit for you. Sign up here!
✅ Revisit Your Business Plan
- Your initial business plan may no longer align with your current challenges and opportunities. Update your business plan to reflect your new strategy for achieving profitability.
✅ Strengthen Your Financial Management
- Maintain strict financial discipline. Keep a close eye on cash flow and manage your working capital effectively to meet your obligations. Hire someone to do this if it isn’t something you have time or inclination to do yourself.
- Consider obtaining additional funding if necessary, such as loans, equity investment, or grants.
✅ Stay Committed and Patient
- Turning an unprofitable business around is a process that takes time. Be patient and stay committed to implementing the changes necessary for success.
✅ Monitor Progress and Adapt
- Continuously evaluate the impact of your changes and adjust your strategies as needed. Flexibility is crucial in a dynamic business environment.
✅ Consider the Exit Strategy
- If, despite all efforts, you cannot make the business profitable, it may be time to consider an exit strategy, such as selling the business or winding it down to minimize losses.
Remember that the path to profitability may require you to make tough decisions and overcome challenges. It’s crucial to stay focused on your goals, continuously adapt, and seek professional advice when necessary. With determination and a well-thought-out strategy, you can turn your unprofitable business model into a thriving, financially sustainable enterprise.
Would you like help with this?
Let’s chat. A quick call will enable us to get to know each other and see if we’re a good fit to build your business. Use this link to schedule a free 15-minute call with our founder, Lorne Greenfield.
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