Your Business For Better or Worse

Jan 29, 2013

Are you married to your small business? Most of us are, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. After all, if you want to make your business work, you have to be (1) in love with your business idea, (2) passionate about your business mission, and (3) willing to take your business in good times and bad.

When sales dip and surge, then surge and dip, you might be tempted to flee. But riding the roller coaster of business sales doesn’t have to make you sick—you just have to learn how to roll with the sales cycles.

In good times:

  • Hire temporary employees when you know you are going to be busy. If your busy seasons coincide with school holidays, you could give college students important experience. You could also go through an employment service. Don’t rule out retirees—they bring a lifetime of work experience you can benefit from.
  • A short-term small business loan to buy more products and hire more employees can get you through increases in business. You don’t want to be caught short-handed without enough products to sell or people to sell them.  
  • Throw more ideas on the table and see who bites. While you’ve got your customers’ attention, make sure they know what services and products you have planned for the future. That way you’re planting the seeds for future sales.
  • Sleep later. Yes you’re exhausted, but you can rest when business slows. 

In slow times:

  • Train someone on staff to do some of what you do, so when business does get busy again, you’re not trying to wear too many hats.
  • Get organized! Knock off some stuff on your to-do list, such as looking for better business insurance, setting up a recycling program in your office, or upgrading your software.
  • Get out and talk to people at networking events and industry seminars. Use the time to make your presence known in the community, and you’ll build up more business too.
  • Volunteer your time and your employees’ time to charity. Maybe during your busy seasons you couldn’t fathom giving your precious time to a cause. When times are slow, that’s a great time to show your community you run a socially responsible business.

For more ideas on how to plan, adjust for, and ride out sales cycles, make an appointment to meet with a SCORE mentor one-on-one for a personalized plan.

This article appears courtesy of SCORE (www.score.org), Mentors to America’s Small Business. © Rieva Lesonsky

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