When running a small business, you face many challenges. One of them is managing the lack of “success”; that feeling you get when you lose a client, you don’t get paid for your hard work or your competition is taking your market share. We have all been there! How we “handle” the outcome of any hardship is essential to build the stamina required to run a business long term.
I run a small creative services company with my husband for the better part of 30 years. We experienced our peaks, valleys and everything between. When success knocks on our door, we have “too much work” or “not enough time”. During down periods, we have to save money and focus on moving forward to keep the business in gear.
It’s a must to keep positive during the downturn. That way you are able to focus on building rather than thrashing. I will share with you some of the tactics we employed to keep us moving forward when things take a downturn.
Stamina building suggestions to keep your business moving forward:
- The money talks cliché: When we discuss anything relating to a small business, money is the first thing that comes up. There is never enough of it. But, if you think of it objectively, you get what you need. When we started our company, we agreed from the get go, to never spend the whole payment once it came in! We adopted a policy of halving any money that we earned and saved it for a rainy day. This how we were able modestly fill the coffers as we went through our ups and downs.
- We lost our best customer: Attrition happens, there will be a new client around the corner. Although it’s hard to conceive and accept, time will heal the loss and reward you with a new project. The best way to handle this is to go out and get new business. Network with online connections, or go to events where there may be possibilities for your company. Keep looking for new ways to build your business, move forward and do not dwell on the losses.
- We are not getting paid for our hard work: This could make or break a small business. That’s why you adopt a saving policy to survive dry times like these. Since it’s been very hard to always have enough money in the bank to keep your business going, it’s best to consider a few cuts or taking a bank loan.
- My competitors have the market share! Watch what they are doing. Fortunately, in the online space it is very easy to keep tabs on your competitors. Learn from them! Perhaps they are employing new techniques that can also work for your business. Don’t let their deep pockets stop you from creating your own simplified version of a marketing plan. This might be what your company needs to recharge its batteries. Enhance your own business. Perhaps hiring a PR firm to build up your reputation might be a thought.
The whole secret to staying in business is to have stamina. It’s about surviving the ebb and the flow. All business large or small are in the same position. All you have to do is keep calm and focus. They say in French “Après la pluie, le bon temps”. Once the storm is over, the sun will come out. The same applies to your business.