Your Business, For Better or Worse

Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, gives tips for making the most of each stage of the sales cycle in your business.

 

Are you married to your small business?

Most of us are, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. After all, if you want to make your business work, you have to be 1) In love with your business idea,  2) passionate about your business mission and 3) willing to take your business in good times and bad.

When sales dip and surge, then surge and dip, you might be tempted to flee. But riding the rollercoaster of business sales doesn’t have to make you sick--you just have to learn how to roll with the sales cycles.

In good times:

  • Hire temporary employees for the times you know you’re going to be busy. If your busy seasons coincide with school holidays, you could give some college students important experience. You could also go through an employment service. Don’t rule our retirees—they bring a lifetime of work experience you can benefit from.
  • A short-term small business loan to buy more products and hire more employees can get you through the increase in business. You don’t want to be caught short-handed without enough product to sell or people to sell it.  
  • Throw more ideas on the table and see who bites. While you’ve got your customers’ attention, make sure they know what services and products you have planned for the future. That way you’re planting the seeds for future sales.
  • Sleep later. Yes, you’re exhausted but you can rest when business slows.

In slow times:

  • Train someone on staff to do some of what you do, so when the business does get busy again, you’re not trying to wear too many hats.
  • Get organized! Knock some stuff off your to-do list, like looking for better business insurance, setting up a recycling program in your office or upgrading your software.
  • Get out and talk to people at networking events and industry seminars. Use the time to make your presence known in the community and you’ll build up more business, too.
  • Volunteer your time and your employees’ time to charity. Maybe during your busy season, you couldn’t fathom giving your precious time to a cause. When times are slow, that’s a great time to show your community you run a socially responsible business.

For more ideas on how to plan, adjust for and ride out sales cycles, make an appointment to meet with a SCORE mentor one-on-one for a personalized plan.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports