Strategies for Business Slumps

CPC Business Development

By Stephanie Clark.

It happens to the best and most successful, and it seems that nothing can adequately prepare us for it. All of a sudden the phone ceases to ring, emails dwindle, income plunges and we are left wondering what the heck happened!?

It happened to me last fall.

Some weeks I had but one client, other weeks not one new client and perhaps a letter or two to write for an existing client. I began to scour the want ads for possible part time employment. This scenario tends to repeat itself annually, in the summer or fall. And each time, I lose confidence and fear that I am no good, that I’ll never succeed as an entrepreneur. (I think that like artists, entrepreneurs may also be prone to some “angst”!)

Nonsense! Business is now booming and since that time I have actually referred a few possible clients to colleagues. But I knew that I better learn a few coping mechanisms so that next time I handle it better. Here’s what I learned:

  1.  Don’t panic. This emotion paralyzes your creativity, energy and resilience. Relax, and repeat a mantra, for example: This too shall pass. Don’t worry; be happy. Into every life a little rain must fall, but the sun is never far behind. Positive self-talk is essential; find a phrase that works for you.
  2. Change your mindset with visualization, a proven technique used by Olympic-level athletes. In this case it benefits you to visualize yourself as happy at the end of the slump. Feel the feeling rather than see the work.
  3. Land a quick win. Check recent emails to re-contact a previous inquiry, offer additional services to recent clients (a deal on two cover letters perhaps?). Create a special offer, for example, a five-page job search report, a career management white page, or ten sample cover letters to each past client who refers one person to your services.
  4. Post an ad in your local Craigslist, pin your business cards on your local grocer’s bulletin board, offer to speak at a group meeting, call valued colleagues to ask if they have subcontracting opportunities or advice to share … go grass-roots (i.e. no-cost!) with your advertising or work-generating methods.
  5. Make a list of actions that you must complete each day. One phone call, five emails, one outside visit, compiling lists, writing handouts

To this list, I suggest that you add a vital step to take when you are not in a slump: jot down those great ideas we all come up with, you know, those “I have to do that sometime” flashes of brilliance. Purchase an inexpensive notebook or set up a special little binder for these brilliant ideas that, if not committed to paper, vanish from our brains never to be thought of again.

Gotta run! It’s busy.


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