Ffrom time to time, my business hits a rough patch. This can be the result of anything from technology not properly working to a dip in sales. I've been in business for twelve years, so these circumstances don't phase me much anymore.
Because many of you are new in business, or haven't figured out how to best handle your business rough patches, I thought I'd share some of the things I do to get through rough patches in my business. I hope it helps you some.
1. Review past good times
The first thing I do to avoid panic depressed feelings is to look back over times when I faced the same or a similar challenge, and everything turned out OK. When I feel myself starting to stress out over a rough patch, I remember last time it happened, and how I either worried about nothing or took action to fix the problem. Either way, the rough patch passed and I was all the better for it.
2. Strengthen a weak area
Tougher rough patches are the ones you don't see coming. These are few and far between for me now, thankfully, but they do happen. When they occur, I try to find a weak spot in my business (or my life) that allowed the rough patch to flourish in the first place. When I look hard, and am honest with myself, I almost always find the weak spot. Once I recognize the weakness, I set about immediately to correct it. This is hard work, but it is one of the most empowering things you can do as an entrepreneur. Train yourself to recognize your weak spots. That's where the rough patches usually start. The more you shore up the weaknesses, the fewer rough patches you will encounter.
3. Eliminate fat
Sometimes, rough spots arise because you are trying to do too much, or what you are doing is disjointed and unorganized. This usually means it's time to eliminate the products or services that are giving you or your customers grief. Look objectively (with your business coach if you have one) at your business to seek out areas where you can trim back on things that cause grief with little personal satisfaction or financial return. Even a little cutting back can make a big difference.
4. Give yourself a break
Last, but not least, just get away from it all. Take an unplanned afternoon or day off. Distance yourself from the rough patch so you can see it for what it is — a speed bump placed in your way to teach you something and make you stronger. A hike in the woods, a run at the beach, a full body massage, some down time with your grand children — you choose. Just put yourself in a place where there is no room for the problem. After your break, revisit the situation — starting with number 1 above — and I always come out stronger on the other side of it.
After you've been in business as long as I have, rough patches are variations on the same themes, over and over again. They either pass on their one or I do something to make them pass. In all cases, it starts with moving through these steps.
What do you think? Are you going through a rough patch? How are you handling it? I'd love to hear your tips in the comments below.
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