Handling Seasons of Extremes
In our lives the changing of the seasons are periods we expect and learn to react to in order to maintain a sense of balance. We replenish the sunscreen supplies, purchase electric fans, and conversely prepare our vehicles with winter tires to do battle in the cold.
But how do you prepare your business for the changing seasons?
Some businesses are experiencing a dry spell, and find themselves settling lethargically into those “lazy, hazy…days of summer”. Other businesses are experiencing a torrential downpour of new responsibilities. As you might expect, neither scenario is overly desirable.
Extremes are hard on businesses; their owners, their staff and customer loyalty. During a slowdown, pending layoffs may ensue, and this is a difficult reality to intertwine with your efforts to build teamwork and instill commitment. It may seem logical to embrace the slow down and relax, but settling in can cause greater problems in the long run: loss of momentum, loss of cash flow, employee frustration, and more. On the other side, busy periods can seem chaotic and draining on your team. This stress can become visible to clients, leaving them questioning capabilities.
To these two dilemmas, I say this:
Don’t be a spectator during the changing seasons of your business. You can influence your business’ success during seasonal fluxes more than your think!
Your past does not dictate your future; it does however provide a springboard to launch from!
Just because you have experienced summer to be slow in the past doesn’t mean it has to be slow in the future. Alternatively, if you are experiencing an avalanche of business, how are you handling the pressures of this sudden shift? And how can you capture that business and turn it into long-term relationships?
For me this summer has been much busier than usual. On top of ongoing projects, I have a book in the process of being edited, a child moving to Japan by the end of the month, and a steadily growing commitment calendar. I was, simply put, overwhelmed. And then, I remembered to allow myself to breathe. When we juggle so many things in life, it often becomes easy to focus too hard on not dropping the balls. Drop a ball and you fail your client; fail your client and your business loses value. Obviously that’s not a position you want to be in, and so while I was dealing with my own sense of chaos, I found myself following these 5 steps to keep my balls up in the air (and my sanity in check!):
- Get out of your head. It is too easy to waste time in a state of ineffective fretfulness. Take an inventory and evaluate each of your commitments
- Connect with others who can mentor you or provide assistance in a project or problem area that you are struggling with. Get the help you need so that you don’t waste valuable time spinning your wheels.
- Minimize the extremes by planning in advance. Expect the hectic times but support your team with the resources needed to get the job done to your highest standards. If this means creating temporary jobs then go for it!
- If you want to minimize a slow down, stay in front of your clients and identify ways to meet their needs by diversifying your services. Talk to different business sectors and tell them what you do.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. You need to oversee that the projects get completed- but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. Sharing the workload has many more benefits than simply meeting a deadline- although that is an extremely important one. By sharing your vision with others they get to experience a sense of accomplishment, talents can be better allocated and skills can be enhanced that build confidence.
Extremes are a necessary experience in order to know what your business can handle, but they should never be experienced with the intent to accept them as the way the business must be run. Don’t let extremes run your business. Manage the extremes, and watch your business flourish!
Until next week!