Getting Through Slow Times

Handling the inevitable business slowdown

Entrepreneurs, new business owners and even bloggers often pop up on the scene with vigour and motivation. Driven by determination to see our projects succeed we invest time, money and effort in the project or business. We strive to ensure that it has the best chance of success. This may include working extra hours or sacrificing other things to tend to our new endeavour. While this may be necessary, how we handle the inevitable slowdown may decide how successful we really are.

The High – Visions of success

Vision

It is easy to be motivated at the start of a project. We are not yet confronted by the realities of all the challenges that we are destined to face. The invisible and abstract problems that will come seem like simple hurdles that perseverance and determination will overcome. This positive attitude motivates us. It can even help us overcome initial hurdles which boosts our confidence.

At this point our long-term goals and short-term objectives are fresh in our minds. We have just made our investments. The anticipation of future rewards drives us. Hence, our energy levels are high and the excitement of the new endeavour surrounds us. All these are great for productivity but too often we do not adequately prepare for the lows which will come.

The Low – The consistency challenge

Consistency

Making something successful or profitable takes time. The lack of progress, or progress at a slower rate than expected, can be discouraging. First are the anticipated problems. Next comes the brand new problems which we did not expect. Suddenly the plan has to change. These changes may affect the resources we have available to accomplish our goals and may cause delays.

In this time the consistency challenge creeps in. Can our business turn all the interest about our new establishment into sales? How can we turn our new customers into repeat customers and continue to attract more customers? Can we blog as many articles as when we first started? Often times there is a slow period after an enthusiastic start. If this slow period is regarded as a failure the venture may be abandoned or a team of hard workers may become discouraged. Therefore, it becomes vital to have an action plan to get over this slump of despair.

The Future – Rising against the odds

Profit

Knowing that slow periods will come and will affect both successful and failing businesses can help us put things in perspective. It is not a signal of failure. Rather, it is a large challenge to overcome before achieving success. It is inevitable that a slow period will come and the more we prepare for it the less drastic the measures necessary to get out of it will become.

While environmental factors may cause the slowdown, so too may internal decisions. Not responding quickly enough to changes in the market or the appearance of a new powerful competitor can all affect success. Burn out, health issues and family issues can also affect our ability to be consistent and focus on our project or business. Likewise, bloggers may find it more difficult to get motivated. We may feel like we have exhausted our list of available topics to discuss. In these times there are a few strategies that we can use to rejuvenate our passion.

1. Remember our goals and vision – modify if necessary

As prominent as our goals and vision may be at the start of an endeavour it is easy to lose track of them and become distracted by other things. This is where a vision statement and list of goals become essential in helping us to regain focus. So if our goals have proven to be unrealistic or major changes have taken place it may be time to revise our goals or redefine our vision. Consequently, we can start by changing the little things within our control.

2. Seek inspiration

There are many reasons why inspiration matters. Hard times can cause discouragement and that negatively affects motivation. Left unchecked this can lead to a dangerous downward spiral. There is no shame in looking externally for inspiration to get out of a slump. A successful person in a similar industry or field can be used as an example to motivate us in our job. Other wise people outside our field of expertise may also offer some useful advice for dealing with such situations.

3. Look at problems from a different angle

Sometimes the reason we are experiencing a slowdown is because we are addressing a problem from the wrong perspective. Therefore, we may need to dig deeper to find the root cause of the problem. Then we can try to solve it in a different way. This is in line with the concept of thinking outside of the box and applying innovation to problem solving.

These strategies help us identify the cause of a slowdown and help us to get back on track to achieving our goals. Being overambitious or underestimating the amount of work required to achieve our objectives are common causes for an eventual slowdown. Other forces we have little control over, such as a recession, are also common causes of a slow down. Identifying these problems early and taking corrective action greatly increases our chances of overcoming them and being successful.

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