Business Operations

The Feast/Famine Cycle

I first experienced this when I was in my early 20’s. The small architecture company I worked for (8 people) had a huge project that would keep us all busy for the next year. About half-way through, I asked my boss what was next. He didn’t know… there was no effort to get something else.

Six months after that, 3 people got laid off because there was no work. It probably would have been 4, but I was lucky. I got recruited away by another company a month earlier.

Many small businesses get so focused on getting their current orders finished that they forget they need to pay the bills next month too. It’s easy to do when you’re buried in orders, but when those orders are finished you want to have others waiting behind them.

Of course, then when you run out of work you start marketing and advertising like crazy because you have no orders so there’s nothing else to do. Then there’s a HUGE rush of sales from the new campaigns, you get super busy, and you stop marketing again. Repeat as needed (and drive yourself crazy doing it).

I’ve been guilty of it too (just this month actually). We had a huge order come in and I turned off our advertising until we got it mostly done. Big mistake. A big of our revenue comes from advertisements, so we missed a lot of possible sales. Now I’m playing catch-up.

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say “work on your business, not in it.” Every single week should have time set aside for the important aspects of keeping your business running. Marketing your business to keep new prospects coming in is one of them.

Never, ever, let your marketing efforts get pushed aside. Going back to my farmer analogy, it’s like not planting seeds and then wondering why there are no crops growing.

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