The economy, your industry and your business do not act in a straight line, despite our best efforts to make it that way. We could look at the cycle of business and entrepreneurship in the same way we do with the seasons.
In the winter, resources are scarce. Lenders aren’t too comfortable in lending money and consumers are picky when it comes to their purchasing decisions. Money isn’t as easy to come by which means those without a point of difference product or service, or one that is no longer a viable purchase decision in their marketplace, will freeze to death. A good example of this is a period like the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) just a decade ago. Not everybody froze to death, but a good number certainly did.
In the springtime, new life blooms. For some, the proverbial phoenix will arise from the ashes. Some underdogs might find themselves in the new position of a top dog. The ecosystem resets itself, abundance returns to the marketplace and we soon forget the pains of the winter just past.
In the summer, or the boom time, it seems you can do nothing wrong. Purchasers are walking through your doors without you having to struggle to find them and your product is flying off the shelves. Every Tom, Dick and Harry are entrepreneurs and at least making a healthy living from their endeavours.
As the autumn comes, the dead leaves fall from the trees and the landscape is covered in shades of amber. The flowers that were only blooming for the first time in spring are now wilting away from a lack of sunshine and nutrients. It takes the tough and prepared to weather the coming winter, but if they make it through, they’ll be at the top of their game next summer.
Is your business equipped only for the abundance of summer, or also capable of dealing with the harsh conditions of winter?
This is a vital question to ask yourself if you intend to last more than one cycle.
How do you make consumers feel when using your product?
How much repeat business do you get?
What makes you different to the similar business two blocks down the street?
How comfortable are people with referring business to you?
What are your performance metrics?
How do you deal with setbacks?
How responsive are you to change?
What support do you have around you?