Unless you lead a very charmed business life (and you know who you are) there is a good likelihood that your business will hit a rough patch here or there. For me it’s the summer when my clientele leave and my business drops by half. No matter how diligently I plan for it it’s always a tough go. So what do I do to get through? I’ve learned a few things that help during these times and more importantly help you keep your head in the right place.
Talk about it: While everyone has advice for you and most of it is not valuable there is are benefits to talking about issues in your business; talking about your problems to your friends can often alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with these issues. A sympathetic ear can make the problems seem less dire and just by expressing them allow you put a proper perspective on them, thus making you feel better (hopefully). In addition there is always that chance that by talking to someone they might offer you up some great insight or a solution that you didn’t see. Hey, it could happen.
Be Honest: This could also come under the heading of good communication goes a long way. Being upfront with vendors or contractors can make a huge difference. If the check is Not in the mail don’t tell them it is, it only makes things worse. Discuss your situation and more often than not something will be worked out. They are just as concerned with your success as you are so if they can help most of the time they will. On another side not, tough times also let you see who you allies are which leads to number 3…
Take Stock Not necessarily literally. Sometimes it’s important to look at not only how you do business but who you do business with. A rough patch is a good time to see who your “friends” are and a good time to weed out those that you find aren’t being supportive of you. It doesn’t have to be a purge, it’s just a good time to see who you really need and who you can live without. Relationships work both ways and you should strive for the best relationships on both the client side and the vendor side. If that means cutting someone out it will only strengthen you in the long run, which of course a small business is, a long (long) run.
Remember to Breathe I’ve spent the last year in a very difficult transition and there have been times when it has been very bleak. I am constantly reminding myself to project forward and foresee outcomes. I use all the tools I just mentioned to get over rough patches and they actually help. While it is never easy to be in a tough spot in your business it is important to remember that many problems can get solved, many issues resolve and business goes on. That’s why it’s important to remember to breathe, you don’t want to turn blue, you just want to have more green.