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38 Measures To Turn Business Setbacks Into Comebacks
8 min read

38 Measures To Turn Business Setbacks Into Comebacks

Experiencing setbacks is a natural part of running a business, but it’s important to know how to bounce back from them. Here are some steps you can take to turn a frustrating setback into a confident comeback.

A dip in sales

Most businesses will experience a dip in sales at some point. Sometime this will be down to external factors outside your control such as the cost of living crisis. But the cause might be closer to home – perhaps your products/services are no longer catering to current demands or your marketing and sales efforts aren’t as effective as previously? Either way, there are proactive measures you can take. 

1. Review and analyse your sales data

Take a close look at your sales data to identify any patterns or trends that may have contributed to the dip in sales. Look for factors such as changes in customer behaviour, market conditions, or competitive landscape that may have impacted your sales. Analyse your sales channels, customer segments, and product performance to gain insights into areas that may need improvement.

2. Refine your sales strategies

Based on your sales data analysis, refine your sales strategies to address the issues that may have contributed to the dip in sales. This may involve reevaluating your pricing strategy, sales promotions, marketing campaigns, or customer targeting. Consider exploring new sales channels, expanding your customer base, or diversifying your product offerings to stimulate sales.

3. Strengthen customer relationships

Your existing customers are a valuable asset for your business, and nurturing strong relationships with them can help boost sales. Focus on providing excellent customer service, personalised experiences, and building loyalty. Engage with your customers through regular communication, gather feedback, and address any concerns or issues promptly. Offer incentives or promotions to encourage repeat purchases and referrals. Retaining existing customers is crucial for long-term business success.

4. Enhance your marketing efforts

A dip in sales may indicate that your marketing strategies need a refresh. Review your marketing campaigns and messaging to ensure they align with your target audience and market trends. Consider investing in digital marketing channels such as social media, email marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) to expand your reach and generate more leads. Collaborate with influencers or other businesses to amplify your marketing efforts.

5. Innovate and differentiate

Look for ways to innovate and differentiate your products or services to stand out in the market. Consider adding new features, improving product quality, or exploring new markets or customer segments. Stay up-to-date with industry trends and consumer preferences to identify opportunities for innovation. Differentiate your brand through unique value propositions, exceptional customer service, or sustainability initiatives to attract customers and gain a competitive edge.

6. Optimise operational efficiency

Evaluate your business operations to identify areas where you can optimise efficiency and reduce costs. Streamline your supply chain (read more on finding suppliers), improve inventory management, or renegotiate contracts with suppliers to minimise expenses. Automate repetitive tasks, implement cost-effective technologies, or improve your production processes to increase productivity and reduce overheads. Efficient operations can help you improve your margins and profitability, even during a sales downturn.

7. Seek feedback and learn from it

Listen to your customers, employees, and other stakeholders to gather feedback on your products, services, and overall business performance. Be open to constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity to improve. Adjust your business strategies based on the feedback received and continuously iterate and refine your approach. Learning from feedback can help you make informed decisions and avoid repeating mistakes.

A failed product launch

Launching new products and services is one way to grow revenue. It can also present risks as there’s no guarantee of success. Whether you’re looking to ditch a failed product or reposition it, there’s plenty of lessons you can take if things haven’t gone to plan. 

8. Identify the reasons for the product failure

Take a critical look at the reasons why the product launch failed. Was it due to inadequate market research, product design flaws, ineffective marketing, or poor timing? Understanding the root causes of the failure will help you address the issues and make necessary improvements for future product launches.

9. Analyse customer feedback

Gather feedback from customers who purchased or used the failed product. Analyse their feedback to identify areas that need improvement or any unmet needs that were not addressed by the product. Use this feedback to make adjustments and enhancements to the product or its marketing strategy.

10. Reframe your marketing strategy

A failed product launch may indicate that your marketing strategy needs a refresh. Reassess your target market, messaging, channels, and promotional tactics. Consider repositioning the product, refining your marketing campaigns, or exploring new marketing channels to generate more interest and demand.

11. Innovate and iterate

Failure presents an opportunity for learning and improvement. Innovate and iterate based on the feedback received and lessons learned from the failed product launch. Refine the product design, features, pricing, or packaging to better align with customer needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and try new approaches.

12. Communicate transparently

Be transparent with your customers, stakeholders, and team members about the failure of the product launch. Acknowledge the shortcomings, take responsibility, and share your plans for moving forward. This transparency can help you rebuild trust and credibility with your audience and demonstrate your commitment to improvement.

13. Leverage existing resources

Utilise your existing resources, such as your customer base, brand reputation, and distribution channels, to bounce back from a failed product launch. Leverage your relationships with customers, partners, and influencers to generate positive word-of-mouth, endorsements, or partnerships. Highlight your company’s strengths and capabilities to instil confidence in your ability to bounce back.

14. Conduct market research

Conduct thorough market research to identify new opportunities or gaps in the market that your failed product launch may have overlooked. Understand your target market’s needs, preferences, and pain points, and develop products or solutions that address them. Market research can help you align your future product development and marketing strategies with the demands of the market.

15. Engage with your customers

Engage with your customers through various channels such as surveys, focus groups, or social media to gather insights and feedback. Ask them about their expectations, preferences, and feedback on your failed product launch. Use this information to tailor your future product offerings and marketing strategies to better meet their needs.

20. Invest in product quality and customer support

Product quality and excellent customer support are critical to winning back customers’ trust after a failed product launch. Ensure that your future products meet high-quality standards and offer reliable performance. Invest in robust customer support systems, including responsive customer service, prompt issue resolution, and efficient returns and exchanges processes.

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

Henry Ford

The loss of a key client

Losing a key client can be a significant setback for any business. It may impact revenue, reputation, and even the morale of your team. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world and there are steps you can take to bounce back.

21. Assess the situation

Take a thorough look at the reasons why you lost the key client. Was it due to dissatisfaction with your product or service, changes in their business needs, or factors outside of your control? Understanding the reasons for the loss will help you identify areas for improvement and develop a plan to address them.

22. Retain existing clients

Losing a key client may make your remaining clients anxious about the stability of your business. Take proactive steps to reassure and retain your existing clients. Strengthen your relationships with them, provide exceptional service, and go above and beyond to meet their needs. Happy and loyal clients can become your advocates and may refer new business your way. 

23. Diversify your client base

Relying heavily on one key client is risky, as the loss of that client can have a significant impact on your business. Take this opportunity to diversify your client base and reduce dependency on any single client. Identify new target markets, explore different industries, and expand your reach to attract a wider range of clients.

24. Strengthen relationships with other clients

Engage with them more frequently, understand their needs, and offer solutions to their challenges. Strengthening relationships with your existing clients can lead to increased loyalty, repeat business, and referrals.

25. Enhance your value proposition

Review and enhance your value proposition to make it more compelling and relevant to your target market. Identify the unique value that your product or service offers, and communicate it clearly to potential clients. Highlight your strengths, expertise, and track record of success to differentiate yourself from competitors.

26. Expand your marketing efforts

Losing a key client may require you to increase your marketing efforts to attract new business. Invest in targeted marketing campaigns, leverage social media, optimise your website for search engines, and explore new marketing channels. Be proactive in promoting your business and showcasing your capabilities to potential clients.

27. Seek feedback and learn from it

Again, this setback provides a valuable learning experience. Seek feedback from the lost client, as well as from other clients and prospects, to understand any areas for improvement. Use this feedback to refine your products, services, or processes, and make necessary adjustments to avoid similar issues in the future.

28. Innovate and diversify your offerings

Consider diversifying your product or service offerings to meet changing market demands. Explore new niches, expand into complementary markets, or develop new features or variations of your products or services. Innovating and diversifying your offerings can open up new revenue streams and attract a broader client base.

A global economic crisis

A global economic crisis can be particularly challenging for businesses, as it can impact various aspects such as consumer spending, market volatility, and supply chain disruptions. However, with careful planning and strategic execution, it is possible for businesses to make a comeback even during times of economic uncertainty.

29. Assess the impact

Understand the specific implications of the economic crisis on your business. Assess how it has affected your sales, cash flow, supply chain, and overall operations. Identify the key areas that have been impacted the most and prioritise them for action.

30. Revisit your business plan

Review and revise your business plan in light of the changing economic conditions. Set realistic goals, reassess your financial projections, and identify new opportunities or areas of potential growth. Be prepared to pivot your business strategy based on the evolving market dynamics.

31. Optimise your cash flow

Cash flow is crucial during an economic crisis. Review your expenses, identify areas where you can reduce costs, and optimise your cash flow management. Discuss financing options with your accountant to ensure you have enough working capital to weather the crisis.

32. Retain and engage customers

Offer exceptional customer service, communicate regularly with your customers, and provide value-added offerings that meet their changing needs. Foster strong relationships and customer loyalty, as they can be your key advocates during challenging times.

33. Pivot your offerings

Evaluate your products or services in light of the changing market dynamics. Identify new opportunities or areas where you can adapt or pivot your offerings to meet the current needs of your customers. This could involve exploring new markets, diversifying your product or service offerings, or innovating to meet emerging demands.

34. Embrace digital transformation

Accelerate your digital transformation efforts to adapt to the changing business landscape. Explore online sales channels, optimise your website and social media presence, and leverage technology to streamline your operations and enhance customer experiences. Digital transformation can help you reach new customers and improve your operational efficiency.

35. Strengthen your partnerships

Collaborate with partners, suppliers, and stakeholders to navigate the economic crisis. Build strong relationships, seek mutual support, and explore opportunities for joint initiatives. Strategic partnerships can help you access new markets, share resources, and mitigate risks.

36. Focus on employee wellbeing

Your employees are your most valuable assets. During an economic crisis, it’s important to prioritise their wellbeing. Communicate openly, provide them with the necessary support and resources, and maintain their engagement and motivation. Consider implementing flexible work arrangements, training and development programs, and other initiatives to retain and motivate your team.

37. Seek government support

During an economic crisis, governments often introduce stimulus packages or support programmes to assist businesses. Stay updated with the latest government initiatives and take advantage of any financial or regulatory support that may be available to your business. This could include tax breaks, grants, loans, or other forms of assistance.

38. Stay agile and adaptable

Economic crises are characterised by uncertainty and rapid changes. It’s important to stay agile and adaptable as you navigate through the crisis. Be prepared to adjust your business strategies, make tough decisions, and pivot your operations based on the changing market conditions. Stay proactive, monitor the market closely, and be prepared to take swift action.



As you can see, there are a number of ways you can proactively respond to business setbacks and curve balls. While certain challenges can feel unavoidable, what you can control is your response to them. The key is to remain proactive, positive and resilient. Focus on the opportunities, while staying committed to your long-term business goals. Gain insights, learn from them, adapt and innovate. Surround yourself with a supportive team and seek advice from mentors and peers who have experienced similar challenges.

By providing strong leadership, establishing robust systems and processes and diversifying your revenue streams, you’re creating a resilient business that has the capacity to withstand shocks, recover quickly and continue operating during difficult times.

View setbacks as stepping stones to success rather than barriers to progress. This makes them seem a lot less intimidating, right? Some might even argue, they’re an opportunity to better refine your business offering. As Henry Ford once said, ‘Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.’

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Jenny Lambert

Jenny Lambert is a freelance writer, interiors blogger and Etsy shop owner with extensive experience working in marketing, digital and publishing roles.

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