There are some things you can do and plenty of questions you can ask if your business idea isn’t working as expected.

Your business is likely to be made up of many considerations, including your products or the services you offer, marketing and promotion, as well as other operational costs, and competition.

If you find your business idea isn’t working, it could be because one or more of these areas needs some attention or revision.

Here are some things to consider.

Did you test your idea?

If you're already out in the market, but things haven’t taken off as you planned, think back to how much you tested your idea before you began.

Testing can take several forms, including talking to people, checking out your competition, trialling your idea with a small number of people or in a testing environment.

This can help you to save time and money to see how it might succeed, or what changes your potential customers suggest.

It’s never too late to readjust your thinking. Ways to test your idea include:

  • Seeing if there are similar products on the market
  • Seeking feedback from current or potential customers
  • Building a prototype to try out an early version

Your business processes are important too. See how long it takes to produce or supply what you want to sell or provide. Take into consideration your suppliers and your methods of getting what you are selling to your customers.

Think about your product, pricing and marketing strategies, as well as how you are going to keep control of costs and how you will run the business.

Get product feedback

Ask your customers for feedback about your product. Use email or in-store surveys, feedback forms, or face-to-face conversations to ask people what they like or what they would prefer.

Understand that what you had in mind might've sounded incredible, but could need some finessing in practice to make it profitable.

How does your pricing compare?

Make sure your product is priced competitively to make you money while making sales.

Quality product and service both before and after a sale can be critical if you are hoping that customers will return and recommend your business to others.  

Test your marketing

How do customers find you? Take a look at your marketing methods to make sure your business message is reaching potential customers.

Think about where you promote your business and how it looks and what image you're presenting.

If you’re focusing your efforts in an area that’s bringing little return, there could be an opportunity to redirect your efforts – your time and money – to achieve better results and efficiency.

Consider your competition

If you have more established competitors, there’s an opportunity to gain insight from them.

Find out what they offer and investigate prices, service, after-service and how they market themselves.

Check their social media pages and how they promote themselves online.

See if they use customer reviews to find out customer pain points and decide if your product and how you provide it could do anything differently or better.

This might help you to understand if you need additional features, services or products, or if you just need to communicate it better.

Ask for help

Starting and running a business can be very hard work and many operators know the benefits of learning from experience.

Get business support when you need it from a mentor or someone in your network who has relevant expertise.

They may have advice that makes all the difference to whether you decide to continue with your idea or try something else.

Next up: Stopping your business from impacting your personal finance

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. You should consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decision based on this information.