Strategies for Business Slumps
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.