At some point, every business owner will find herself in a troubling situation. Revenue is down. New clients are scarce. Profits are falling. Just one peek at the financials is enough to bring on a full-fledged anxiety attack.
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, chances are you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of a business that’s trending downward. How you handle it can mean the difference between continued success and business-killing burnout.
Here’s where a lot of entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start to worry about money, and that worry leads to poor decisions that ultimately have a negative impact not just on finances, but—maybe more importantly—on their own morale, too. I’ve been there many times!
In my experience fear shuts my brain down and keeps me from being productive in ANY area of my life. Here are a few of the fear-based decisions you might find yourself making:
You Take On The Wrong Client
When business is down, it can be tough to keep your ideal client avatar in mind. Instead, you jump at the chance to work with anyone who comes along with a wallet. The trouble with this scenario is you can find yourself with a roster full of clients who:
- Aren’t willing or able to do the work required
- Spend all their time telling you why your ideas and advice won’t work
- Make life miserable for you, as they are not a good fit
- Drain your energy and make you dread work each day
You stop going to networking events, stop connecting with your network, stop socializing with your Biz Besties. This is exactly the opposite of what will help you turn your fear into a more positive direction. Getting outside of your own head is the best thing you can do at this point.
You Stop Creating
And who can blame you? With profits down, you have to pull back. You can’t afford to spend time and money creating new programs, or new blog posts, or webinars, so you recycle the ones you’ve already produced – and these may be a bit tired.
Now, this would be ideal if you were repurposing with a positive intent. Turning your eBook into a group-coaching course? Perfect! But that’s not what your fearful brain is telling you.
Your fearful self is saying, “Just re-release this same product again, so I don’t have to have new sales copy written or record new videos.” And, while this might help bring in a bit of cash short-term, it won’t do anything for your reputation or your self-esteem.
Ditch the Fear Mindset
Fear can be a healthy motivator, but it is a terrible mindset for sound decision making in business. Acts of desperation, withdrawal or avoidance can turn a minor dip into a major disaster.
Instead, bring your focus to the opportunity right in front of you: Have a little more time on your hands? Great! What can you do with it? Sales lower than expected? Okay…What can you learn about your customers?
If running a business was just like getting on an escalator, nothing but up from here, then everyone would do it. The fact is that the downturns are a part of learning about your customers, streamlining your processes, and honing in on your ideal client and the services you are really passionate about providing.
If you are letting fear run your show, you are missing the opportunity to refine, and ultimately grow your biz.
Here is what it looks like in practice…
One of my clients is a real estate agent who is in a bit of a lull and starting to exhibit signs of panic. Instead, we are working with the concept of farming. She is planting seeds for harvest later on.
In our coaching sessions, we have mapped out a plan for the best way to productively and strategically use this time to her best advantage. AND (more mindset work here) she’s realized she is lucky to have this time to focus on her business, instead of being caught up in it.
Coming from fear is no way to operate a business, but that’s just what a fear-based mindset can do to you. Better (much better) to hold out for that perfect client, dig into your supportive relationships, and take what you’ve learned from your drop in sales to create that killer program your audience is clamoring for!