4 Tips For Managing Panic When Business Is Slow
Updated: Apr 26
Up and down, down and up, describes the roller coaster cycles of business. If you’re a long-time entrepreneur, you know and accept this, learning to gird yourself for the slow times, prepared with financial reserves to see you through. However, if you’re a new entrepreneur, slow or no business can send you into a self-critical tailspin that some never rise above. So, here are four tips on what to do when business slows down. The good news is that a slowdown can be temporary if you know how to resist the temptation to panic.
1) Manage your emotions.
Before I became practiced at pivoting my emotions, I would plunge into a panic when business slowed down. But after learning how to manage my focus, I am happy to say that I now think of my emotions as “informants.” Difficult feelings when business slows down are signals that something is, indeed, happening. The good news is that you can choose how to react to those emotions; YOU can choose your next steps. Fear, worry, or panic are natural, spontaneous reactions to what is happening, but they need not be dictates that drain your optimism.
2) Envision what you DO want.
Where you put your mental effort when business slows down is critical to generating the business you want (see Tip #1). It is tempting to go down the rabbit hole of “how am I paying my bills, what did I do wrong, who is going to want my services” and on and on. Unfortunately, this mental loop does nothing to elevate your mindset to a place where you can build strategies to attract the business you need. Instead, use your emotional management skills to pivot away from doom and gloom so that you focus your creativity on gaining new customers. Visualize new business coming in, imagine happy new clients as you deliver what they desire.
3) Purge and Plan
In every entrepreneur’s life, it can feel that there are hundreds of tasks that you can’t get done. Recognize slow periods as opportunities to dig in and systematically check “to-do’s” off your seemingly endless list. You will not only gain mental space, but you will restore a sense of control. Ridding yourself of tasks that have haunted you for months and planning for a brighter future instills a sense of direction. I have spent time seeking out new team members, organizing my folders and preparing to be extremely busy when I have downtime. Inevitably, by creating a physical and mental space that accommodates increased business, those new clients arrive.
Whether you are a solopreneur or an entrepreneur with a team, it is easy to isolate yourself when times are slow, as you may not be communicating with other people as often. Now, more than ever is the time to connect. Brainstorm with business associates or your team on how to improve processes or appeal to new audiences. Reach out to past clients to see how they are faring and remind them of your new products and services that can support them. Finally, get out and socialize to keep your energy high, ideas flowing and your name top-of-mind with potential clients. If you thought you were too busy for any of these activities before, use this downtime to connect and shift your mindset.
Overall, slow periods test an entrepreneur’s commitment and resiliency. Getting through those times can bolster your confidence and jettison you towards success in ways that you don’t have time to consider when business is spinning non-stop.