Any business will have it’s periods of ups and downs. If you’re in a “down'“ period, the number one thing to remember is to look for opportunities to grow and develop.
While it’s important to look at what’s slowing your business down, know that the answer won’t be found in constantly lamenting what’s wrong. On the other hand, it can be a challenge to put your focus on a solution. Here are 3 ways to maintain a positive attitude and focus:
Meet with your mentor
Mentoring is invaluable to small business owners. A survey conducted by UPS says that the success rate of businesses with a mentor after five years is double that of those without a mentor. According to the national nonprofit SCORE, small business owners who receive 3+ hours of mentoring report both higher revenues and increased growth.
A mentor may help you find a solution to your challenge and/or connect you with someone who can. Most importantly, they’ll be a sounding board and provide accountability in a way that non-business owners simply can’t.
Shift your focus to where you can grow
When business is slow, look for the silver lining: Now you have time to work on the projects you typically don’t have time for. Whether it’s consolidating workflows, writing blog posts, networking, or any other tasks you let fall by the wayside, you can now direct your efforts towards addressing them.
When business picks up, you’ll be glad you had time to perform tasks that otherwise would not have gotten done.
Take time to recoup and refresh
One of the most common pitfalls for small business owners is failing to give themselves an adequate work-life balance. It only becomes more difficult to maintain that balance when business is slow. Some people think that the answer to flagging sales is to redouble their efforts in an attempt to right the ship.
If things were going well before the downturn, your issue isn’t one of effort. Working twice as many hours won’t suddenly produce twice the profits.
For example, not getting enough sleep (4-6 hours a night, as opposed to the recommended 7-9 per night) produces cognitive performance deficits, meaning you’re more likely to make mistakes while you work. On the other hand, research shows that people who are “more engaged in creative activity often scored 15 to 30 percent higher on performance rankings than those who were less engaged.”
The takeaway: Having hobbies and getting sleep—rather than burning the candle on both ends—makes you better at your job. Keep in mind that entrepreneurs are generally more prone than employees to feeling stressed, worried and depressed, and are more likely to experience addiction and mental health disorders. Take care of yourself, or no one will be able to take care of your business.