Business comes in cycles, so you need to make sure you're prepared for the slow times
Few small-business owners enjoy the comforts of total consistency. Usually, business comes in cycles. You’ll have periods where you’re extremely busy and it’s a strain just to keep up with your workload. Then, you’ll have seasons where business tapers off a bit — in some cases, more than you’re comfortable with.
It may seem as though things are never “just right.” With that said, there are some things you can do to maneuver through these ups and downs, and to make the most of things no matter what part of the cycle you’re in.
Here are a few suggestions:
Keep the big picture in mind
You may have a season of plenty or a season of want, but it’s important to not allow these cycles to take your eye off the prize. It’s always important to have a long-term plan with specific objectives and milestones along the way. This plan can be a sort of road map through business cycles, and it can keep you on track even during seasons of extremity.
Don’t just react
The problem many business owners have with the natural ebb and flow is that they take a reactive approach to it rather than a proactive one. Often, there are warning signs that change is coming — tapering demand for your service or fluctuating interest that is subject to the seasons. When you start to see warning signs, that’s when it’s good to take decisive action.
And what does that look like? For one thing, search for new ways to grow your business. Before a point of crisis comes, explore ways to get new clients in the pipeline. Also, dedicate some time to following up with previous customers to try to get some repeat business. Steady business development activity can help defray the effect of those highs and lows.
Be active in your field
Along the same lines, make sure you maintain connections within your industry or niche. Go to networking events. Reach out to other professionals in your field. Make yourself a visible part of that industry. In doing so, you’ll have more opportunities to lean on the guidance of peers once those fallow seasons come — or to enlist help if you have a particularly busy season.
Be mindful of cash flow
One more thing: During busy seasons, you’ll hopefully have some good money rolling in. The temptation will be to use that money to grow the business, and to an extent, that may be a good idea. Just make sure you don’t overextend yourself. Remember that slow seasons will likely come, and when they do, you’ll need to maintain some liquid cash.
Watch for changing sales cycles
Not many businesses escape the cyclical nature of things, so the question is: "How will you handle it when the cycle changes?" With these strategies, you should be prepared to weather all manner of highs and lows in the life of your business.
About the author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California, and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic Inc. in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.