Should you set up a website or not? Marketing professor Giglierano says there's no point in waffling anymore: You must have a presence on the web.
For consumer-oriented firms, it may not yet be an urgent situation, he says, "but for business-to-business operations, it's almost mandatory." So many potential clients are using the World Wide Web to search for vendors now that not having a site of your own is akin to opening a restaurant and not putting a sign out front. "It's the way people do business now," Giglierano says. "If you want to do business, you have to be there."
5. Give It Up
At the end of 1977, Jazzercise's Missett was stuck in the same spot countless entrepreneurs wind up in: By doing it all herself, she was doing herself in. In her case, the physical toll was obvious. She was teaching 25 fitness classes each week (and driving 1,000 miles a week to their various locations), and, as she says, "My body was wasting away from working out that much."
Resolving not to carry the whole load herself, Missett shifted her focus to training fellow dancers to teach Jazzercise classes, effectively launching the franchise program that now numbers nearly 5,000 units.
Although your business may not be sucking the life out of you physically, if you continue to be a control freak as your business grows, you'll probably lose the mental sharpness and energy needed to keep your company successful. If your business is growing, don't be a martyr: Delegate.
6. Know What You Do
Burgerville USA's decline stemmed in large part from trying to run along behind McDonald's and the other big chains and do what they did on a smaller scale. Some aggressive soul-searching at the headquarters in Vancouver, Washington, made Mears realize that the company "couldn't compete directly with those kinds of players and last much longer," he says.
The solution: Do something else. While he didn't jettison the holy hamburger, Mears de-emphasized it somewhat, offering turkey burgers, fish and chips, sliced turkey sandwiches and other items, as well as adding character to the restaurants. They're now dressed in a distinctly '50s look, with black-and-white tile and big dollops of red and chrome in the décor. In keeping with the retro feel, burgers are cooked to order and served hot off the grill instead of from warming racks.
The changes pointed the company forward by looking backward at the things that made the family's first restaurant a local landmark. Dick Barnett, a Beaverton, Oregon, management consultant and author of Reignite Your Business! (Confident Leader Press), worked with Holland Inc. on hatching a strategy to reverse its slump. "What they've done is look at why their doors are open," he says. "Do they want to make a lot of money? Cook a lot of burgers? Sell health food? Or do they really enjoy making food that people like to eat?"