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What to do when a business slowdown strikes

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

Every now and again in business and in life we can have a month or two where things don't go quite as well as planned.


It could be a slow month due to the economy, a good sales month but slow paying clients, unexpected expenses or personal circumstances that cause you to draw out more than you normally would, limiting your growth for the month.


Whatever the reason is, to be in business for the long term we need to find a way to deal with the harder and slower months and come out of them smarter and stronger. So here are five tips to help you when your business doesn't quite go to plan.


1. Learn the lesson


In any time of trial there is always something to learn. It could be that you need better processes, shorter payment terms, greater incentive to pay sooner, better planning, to spend less and save more, or to listen more closely to the market.


Identify which areas you need to grow or improve in and take those lessons and changes into the coming months to prevent being in the same situation.


2. Remember businesses have up and downs


It's quite normal for businesses to for through highs and lows so don't be disheartened. Use it as an opportunity to learn, grow and improve to make both yourself and your business better.


Businesses just like us have good days and bad days, good months and bad months, though by staying focused on your goals and being innovative and persistent you will increase your chances of success.


3. Reinvent your business


Sometimes business can be slow because the needs and wants of your target market have changed. This is why it is important to always listen to your customers’ needs and feedback and the objections of your potential customers.


Not only will this help you to continually improve your current products and services, it will also help you identify opportunities to innovate and develop or source additional products or services to meet your customers changing needs.


This is particularly important if you find you are not getting many repeat customers despite being in an industry where they should be buying from you repeatedly.


4. Get creative to get money in


When you need to get more money in it pays to be a little creative.


If your product and service is normally on the expensive side, consider selling a trial version or something smaller that takes less time and effort on your part but is more affordable to more people.


You could also look at having a sale to move some stock, offering a bonus or discount for paying sooner, leveraging and collaborating with others for joint promotional opportunities, offering an affiliate arrangement or even selling advertising or sponsorship (if applicable) for additional income.


5. Stay focused on the bigger picture


When you are going through tough periods in business it's vital to stay focused on the big picture. This will help you to see past all of your current obstacles and inspire you to keep going.


Business tends to be very cyclic, there will always be slow months, but there will also be profitable months when you continue to listen to the market, innovate where necessary and stay focused on your goals.


How do you do to get through the slower months?