Declining advertising sales have been a big issue but my sales have dropped as well and that should not be happening.
Half the people on Clarity, including myself, can do that.
The real question is: who understands your business and your marketplace?
What level are you at? How many employees do you have, what gross revenue target do you have, is your marketplace expanding or contracting?
The usual thing, though, is lack of focus on revenue-generating activities. I'll give you that one as professional courtesy.
People do everything they can to appear "busy" in order to avoid selling.
Are you and your people focused on getting and closing orders? I'll bet if I surveyed what they're doing, a lot of their time is eaten up with grunt work that makes them look busy but doesn't lead to sales and money in the door.
After that, I'd look into positioning.
Do you have an idea where's the problem?
- are your offerings outdated / outpriced / inferior / replaced by something else?
- is the market saturated?
- have your company lost the focus and drive?
- did something happen to your service level?
- or is it the personnel or sales?
Usually talking with your existing and lost customers is a good starting point. They should give you some pointers.
If you don't have any valid hypothesis of the cause I would start from there: find someone who's good at asking the right questions.
If you have a special problem area then someone who has been through the same or has extensive experience of the field may be able to help you.
Besides consultants, you could try to find a peer in the same field, recently retired executive etc. Often, it's easier for an outsider to ask the right questions and see the obvious that has been in the plain sight all the time but difficult to see while in the middle of all the action.
The secret is to understand why this is happening. The key to find this out is being open to what your analysis is telling you. Too many small business owners fail to acknowledge the "what's wrong?" Beak down the drivers into two categories: industry/macro economic factors and your business services/processes. I will be glad to have a call with you to come up with a reasonable approach.
This requires an in-depth analysis of your business, products, competitors, target market, revenue model, expenses/costs, sales model etc.
You can get general advice from anyone, but better advice from someone who is an expert (more specifically) in the product or services you provide.
Talk to an industry insider, to understand what's wrong in your company, and what needs to be improved, and whether it can be improved or not.
Do you have an idea of the cause of the decline?
It is important to isolate the problem first. Why is your business declining after many years of success? Is it a competitive threat? Is it a tired business model or stale value proposition? Have you been eclipsed by better options?
Once you figure out the "why" behind the decline, you can move towards developing a solution to correct course.
What is your business and what industry are you in?
Your situation is one that many businesses face. Stalled growth or down revenue is usually just the symptom. Could be any of a number of things, but usually is founded trying to use yesterday's solutions to address today's problems. Company's get fat, dumb and happy, just like people. In order to grow, you need to change. Here is a link to a blog post that should give you some insights and maybe set off a couple of light bulbs - http://bit.ly/1tvMFh9. Invariably, you need objective, outside advice to help really assess the situation. Happy to start a dialogue, if that makes sense.
All the best,
Am sure you would got the answer by now, with these responses. I would only ask you to do one thing. Take a candid interview of some of your old clients and ex-employees. You would know the real answers to the challenges you are facing. They know what exactly is going wrong.