Posted in Management, Retail Operations

10 signs that your business is failing

I see a lot of business pain. And what pains me is that so many of these things are avoidable.

It is always risky to diagnose.

Truly understanding the difference between ‘symptom’ and the ‘problem’ is obstacle number one, and the second is the diagnostician’s perspective. (If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.)

Whether any of the things on this list actually causes the failure or is symptomatic of other underlying issues (such as poor skills or bad attitudes) can’t be ascertained without looking deeply into the specific situation.

In the interest of helping you think about your business, consider this an exercise in self-diagnosis. (Requires honesty of course…)


  1. Under-stocked  or over-stocked (unbalanced allocations)
  2. Cannot produce a current set of financial statements
  3. Does not know KPIs (know sales figures, but nothing much else)
  4. POS system out of date (stock figures not current)
  5. Poor relationship with centre manager
  6. Sees staff as a cost to the business
  7. Inappropriate marketing (e.g. sponsoring the local bowlo, but selling high end fashion) OR no specific plan to market the business. (A 4-part series on advanced marketing starts here.)
  8. Complains about the competition (and blames them for doing well at their expense) or other external factors.
  9. Dated fitout/poor layout and sub-optimal configuration (in all but one case in the last 4 years). A series of 12 posts on this topic starts here.
  10. Wrong person in the wrong business (mentally retired or sold the business and is there in body only)



  • If you don’t want to invest in training/consulting, you can get some assistance here
  • A 2-part series on 60 ways to increase efficiencies start here

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