In for the long haul?

In for the long haul?


In periods where business conditions are strong, where there is great optimism and demand for your goods and services is high, there is usually no doubt that, as business owner, you are in for the long haul.

However, it’s times of uncertainty or weaker revenue that are more challenging and have us questioning our long-term commitment.

Some business owners’ response to uncertainty is that they do not believe they should be thinking about growth, when they’re doing their best just to keep their heads above water.

So, what are the alternatives? Surely, they are twofold only – grow or contract. Staying still is not an option; it’s sink or swim. Actually, that’s a good analogy; when you are in water out of your depth and stop swimming, you sink. Yes, you can tread water, but that is a finite option and literally, does not get you anywhere. Swimming is the only real option.

In these times, a prudent approach can be to take stock and to re-evaluate where the business stands in the current market. Some business owners use that time to look at other appropriate market segments or to become more effective by developing their internal systems and processes so that can deliver an improved service.

This is not standing still. From whatever “downturn” these businesses are experiencing, they come out of it stronger, more resilient and better-placed to take advantage of the upswing, when that eventuates. This is effective business leadership as it should be.

It could be argued that busy market conditions are the very worst times to be considering growth, expansion and internal development. This is when customers are demanding services and demanding them at increasing rates and in shorter time frames. With all this frenetic business activity, how can there be an effective focus on internal growth?

Times of uncertainty and even downturn are, in fact, opportunities and it is the mindset of the business owner – the leader – that will determine how the business comes out at the end. The true leader will look at the opportunities for business development and have a laser-like focus on implementing for the longer-term benefit. This is the difference between seeing the bigger picture and being overwhelmed by today’s apparently negative conditions. It’s a great opportunity to see the business in light of its long-term Vision.

This downturn in activity is the ideal opportunity to review and/ or introduce systems and processes that will make the business stronger. It is also a time to review and strengthen key relationships, so that when buyers can see the light at the end of the tunnel, that light is your business.