⏱ 5 min reading
The majority of business owners will likely at one point have thought: how can I go further? Particularly if you own a seasonal business, you will know about the struggles of the quieter months. But this is not only the case if you have a seasonal business. At any given point in time, you may have a couple of weeks or even months in which it’s not business as usual. Naturally, you don’t immediately want to tap into your emergency fund since that is for extreme situations only (hence the term emergency fund).
But how can you make sure those worries can subside and you can sleep a little better a night? There are a couple things you can always do which will hopefully earn you a little bit more money which you can save for a rainy day, but that needn’t be as extreme to go into your emergency fund. Consider it a ‘no-panic-we-just-need-a-little-extra-right-now’ fund. And if you do want to add the extra earnings into your emergency fund, that’s fine as well (because these can also be ways to bulk up your emergency fund).
1. Determining your priorities
Really try to determine what you find important in your business. Although it may sometimes seem like it, not everything is about how much you’re getting paid. We’d argue that it’s more important to determine your priorities in regard to a project or your products. For a project, this means that you determine what the value of the project is and subsequently what the profitability of it is. When speaking of value, think in Marie Kondo’s terms if you like, but ask yourself the simple question: does this spark joy? Some people are more inclined to like a lot of different things and therefore you might also want to do a project that maybe doesn’t earn as much but which just resonates with you as a person. If you’re passionate about something, people will also much easier believe you to be authentic and true, and following that they may recommend you more easily to others. Secondly, it’s important to look at profitability. Because maybe even if you like the project so much, it’s not profitable. But here’s the chance to get creative as well. A project may also be less profitable depending on the person you assign to it. Some people are more specialized in a certain area or just have a better skill set that matches a particular project. Before saying no to a project you think might not be profitable at first glance, look at which resources you can give to the project.
2. Get creative in your messaging
If you’re going through a slump you might think it’s a good idea to offer some big sale or lower all of your prices. But before you do that, it’s much better to think of creative ways to just keep selling your products at the same price rates. When you find yourself in a time where things are a little down from how they used to be, ask yourself the question of what’s causing it. If the answer is that a particular group of customers is not buying anymore frequently then maybe the reason why lies with them and not so much with your company. You can therefore with messaging try to also reach out to a different group of people. Not necessarily a different target group as a whole, but try to think outside of the box instead of just focusing on your regular customers. Maybe by adjusting your messaging, you’re suddenly opening up new doors for a group of people who previously didn’t think to go to you.
3. Do a little market research
Sometimes it might be good to refresh your outlook again. When you are in a certain business and have been for some time, it’s easy to get a tunnel vision especially if you’re maybe not as up to date with all the latest innovations and trends. A little market research goes a long way here. This could potentially open up your eyes again to whole new areas you never thought of before. More importantly: you’ll get a better understanding of your customers. If you can interview clients you definitely should because ultimately they’re the ones who can tell you the most about what they like, want and need. When you have this new information, you might start taking on a couple of side projects that are easy to do next to your current work but which also satisfy the needs of your clients and the market. And if a side project doesn’t do the trick, try looking at a side hustle. You may think this is weird or not really up your alley, but as long as your why for doing something stays the same you can really go very far with side hustles as well. Consider the famous Apple example: they started out as a computer company, but because they believed in something bigger than just selling computers, they have been very successful in far more industries than just computers.
4. Value your network
Having a good network can also help tremendously when you find yourself in some rougher waters. While it may be time-consuming to sign new projects with completely new customers with whom you need to earn trust first, it’s relatively easy to reach out to people in your network and ask them if they have some more work for you or know someone else who could help you out. Having a good network never hurt anyone. Moreover, maybe during your top months, you had some requests for people in your network in your inbox which you were then too busy to look into. Now might be an excellent time therefore to first look into your network and see if they can help you.