By Rhonda Campbell
Cycles are a part of life. Nature illustrates the ebb and flow of cycles in grand style, especially for those living in parts of the world where gaps between weather changes are extreme (i.e. hot, humid summers, freezing cold winters). Even in areas where weather is mostly mild, cycles are evident, revealing themselves in hurricane threats, lengthy rainy seasons and soaring temperatures.
Slow Business Cycles are Common
The business world also experiences cycles. If you’ve been working as a self-employed worker or small business owner for three years or longer, you’re probably familiar with the ebb and flow of the business world. During busy cycles you feel as if there isn’t enough time in the day to get half the work on your plate done. You can almost feel yourself screaming for relief, a let up in the work.
And then that let up comes, and the hair rises on the nape of your neck, along your forearms. You start to worry that the slow cycle will never pick up, that you’ll run out of money, that you picked the wrong business. Hang on.
Sometimes slow business cycles only last a few days; other times the cycles last weeks. Whether slow business cycles are caused due to internal (i.e. poor business decisions) or external (i.e. industry-wide shifts) conditions, you can find ways to make the most of a slow business cycle.
What You Do During Slow Business Cycles Matters A Lot
In fact, what you do during slow business cycles will impact how your company performs after business picks up. If you don’t understand this and decide to bemoan the state of your business, refusing to take another step until sales start picking up, you might wake up and discover your former customers have moved on and are now supporting another business.
Making the most of a slow business cycle is similar to a talented and committed athlete putting in an extra workout while her competitors are sleeping in bed or akin to the student who reads educational books during the summer while everyone else is out playing.
In both examples, the athlete and student who keep going while others are chilling will likely be top performers after a period of two or more years, some right away. It’s a reason champions get moving, even during so-called slow cycles.
How You Can Get the Most Out of Slow Business Cycles
Following are a few ways you can get moving and make the most of slow business cycles:
- Write new articles for your blog (personal and/or business)
- Market more consistently at social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, Posterous, Digg)
- Attend community events, distributing flyers, brochures, etc. that have your business name, contact information and URL printed on them
- Step up your efforts to land new clients
- Attend more networking events in-person
- Review the organizational structure at your company, making changes as needed
- Connect more deeply with existing business partners and clients
- Reach out to existing customers, sending them thank you emails and letters
- Start or enhance your business newsletter
- Conduct a thorough cleaning of your brick and mortar business (it might do wonders for sales)
- Review your finances, cutting away expenses as needed
Those are just a few ways you can make the most of a slow business cycle. It doesn’t take long to recognize that life changes. It’s full of cycles. Even in your relationships and physical appearance you’ll see changes. Celebrate those changes! They’re a sign of life. You’re still in the game, so get moving, even during slow business cycles.
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