At some point during the life of a small business, owners realize that customers aren't flowing in. This could be because of several reasons, but regardless, the financial plan is struggling and profits are on the way down.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to stop this from continuing. However, the first problem some managers encounter is figuring out if there is even something wrong in the first place. In order to do that, small business owners should keep an eye out for a few key warning signs, and heed some financial tips to turn the company around.

How to tell there's a problem
The first sign that the direction of the business isn't on track is a lack of customers, according to CNN Money. Not only that, but the few that are around aren't wholly devoted to the product, spreading superlatives whenever possible. 

Another negative sign is poor gross margins, the news source noted. Customers have to be committed enough to purchase the product at its listed price. If they're not, that means the company hasn't done enough to stand out from the crowd. To fix this, the small business has to find a way to convince buyers that there is something special about the product. That way, they'll be motivated to shop there, instead of at the nearest competitor. 

In addition, an analysis of the crucial elements of marketing can shed some light on a business, CNN Money explained. These include price, product, place and promotion. If a change in one area causes friction, it may facilitate a response in another aspect. For example, a price hike could require a new promotion to keep people interested.

Build a better strategy
For a small business to succeed, the owner has to make good decisions, according to Forbes. This can be done in several ways, none of which require a major financial or time investment. 

For starters, a firm has to experiment with its assumptions in the real world. This is extremely important when it comes to money. Models and predictions are fantastic, but a guess here or there can lead to a future mistake. Instead, everything should be tested to see how it reacts under stress. What's more, small business owners have to be honest with themselves. That new competitor may not be intimidating now, but its strategy and product could be down the road. Assuming that a firm will always have a hold on the market could be dangerous.