change-exit-signEvery business has slow times, they are times that you wonder how long they will last and how damaging will they be.  In times when business is slow and your not making the revenue you normally are.  Times like these are scary and your stress level goes up.  Laying off employees, the company culture becomes fear stricken, and the owner is left to figure out how to not get behind in bills.

Most small business owners have times where they wonder what is happening and the fear of loosing everything is a common feeling during these times.  Most people won’t tell anyone they are struggling or that business is slow but everyone has the slow times.  Here are a few tips I’ve learned every November as my business slows down.

  1. All businesses have ups and downs, when you are down you are not alone.
  2. Your number one job is to maintain the morale of the employees, and get revenue jump started again.
  3. It helps if you are aware of your slow times so that you can save up reserves to weather the storm.  The reserves will pay the overhead bills that still come each and every month.
  4. Lay your employees off that aren’t working.  Your employees need to be coached of when your slow season is and how they can prepare for themselves and their family.
  5. Remove dead weight, the employee’s that are performing up to your expectations, now is the time to fire them and use this time to start looking for their replacements.
  6. Have a company meeting on the current status, tell them the truth, and get them to focus on the big picture as you are making the changes you are.
  7. Change happens and unfortunately it takes a scary slow time for us to start.  Cut costs, cut your overhead, think of things you don’t need and get slim.  In good times we increase our costs so there is always multiple items that can be cut down or totally removed.
  8. Focus on the big picture, make sure that fear and living in the moment is replaced with this is temporary, and this is where we are headed.
  9. Inventory everything that is not needed, take a photo and see it on Craigs List, we create a lot of cash selling stuff we don’t need.  I don’t like paying to heat a building and paying for space we don’t need.  If you don’t need it then sell it for cash.
  10. Don’t spend, if you are real low on cash then let all your vendors that you owe money to that you will be paying your bills slower at this time.  This will allow you to be upfront with them and to prioritize who needs paid first.  The other struggling business owner may need your money when you get it, so a partial payment might help.
  11. Set roles and responsibilities with your management.  They need to step up, perform, and understand the emotional aspect of what they and the others in the company are going to go through.
  12. Focus on generating sales.  This is the answer to debt, increase sales and every dollar helps.
  13. If you are properly prepared, have employees take time off, collect unemployment, enjoy the time versus being broke and not working.  I’m actually thinking next November to just take it all off.
  14. Get ideas from your employees, then they will feel heard.
  15. Collect your account receivables.  Try to get everyone that owes you money to pay you as quick as possible, the faster they pay the better it helps you.
  16. Focus on your spiritual, physical, and mental condition.  This will help you through this battle.  This is tough, it’s not easy.  Bad times you will want to quit, go away and ignore everything happening to you like it’s a bad dream.  Working out to exert the stress out of your body, listening to books on tape and reading of motivating speakers like Zig Ziglar, and quiet time to meditate, pray and read the bible helps your spiritual condition.

I can come up with more but we do want to keep it simple.  Bad times are tough, you need to be tough.  Focus on the big picture, motivate your employees, and keep your company afloat.  This is when other quit when you don’t that makes the difference.

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